Grand Center, an area that has over the years suffered a large percentage of demolition at the same time it has struggled to regenerate life in the district will soon lose another building. 3727 Olive, which lies outside the Midtown Historic District, is one of a handful of building left on this block of Olive between Spring. The building was built in 1916, and housed 30 small walk-up apartment units on floors 2-4 and 2 small retail storefronts flanking the entrance on the first floor (obscured by the plywood fence).
On September 13th, the City issued an emergency demolition order even though the building's condition has not changed much recently. The plywood fence went up a few years ago as the outer withe of masonry began to peel away from the building in a few locations.
The building is devoid of much of the ornamentation typical of apartment buildings from the time period, with its small cornice being the only exception. Instead, the building's simple but attractive symmetrical elevation achieves interest with brick detailing above the openings and below the cornice, and with the cantilevered balconies at each unit.
The economics of rehabilitating this building for apartments or condos would likely be difficult given that it is not in the historic district (making it ineligible for historic tax credits), and is likely not distinguished enough to merit an individual National Register nomination. Additionally, adjacent land would be needed for parking since the building occupies the majority of the lot and it's footprint is not conducive to indoor basement parking. This is unfortunate, since rehabilitation of the building could bring much needed additional residents to the area.
Update: After taking a look at ownership along this stretch of Olive, I noticed that Grand Center, Inc. owns properties to the west, but not right next to the building (which they recently acquired as well). If they were to acquire the property just west of the building from the mortgage company that now owns it, a developer could build a new project containing parking for both the new building and the old apartment building (in a garage at the rear of the property of course). Alternately, the rarely used AT&T lot to the east could be acquired and similarly developed. In the mean time, a little masonry work, and possibly a new roof would stabilize the building until the market for the type of development just described emerges.
Downtown San Antonio, Texas
6 hours ago