Skyline: New Alamo Heights-area office building getting a sleek, glassy look

Casey Development Ltd. is building an office structure at the corner of Sunset Road and Treeline Park.

July 28, 2020


When builder Darren Casey was thinking about how he wanted his firm’s office project north of Alamo Quarry Market to look, he was aiming for timelessness, he said.
The building will be sleek and glassy, with some floor-to-ceiling windows and metal accents. Located at the corner of West Sunset Road and Treeline Park, it will be a Class A office building, a category in short supply in San Antonio. Renderings show a rooftop patio with plants.

“With that highly visible location and everyone coming past going to the airport and downtown, it really deserves something unique,” Casey said. He pointed to another building nearby he considers notable: Casey Development Ltd.’s headquarters at 200 E. Basse Road, the former home of troubled radio giant iHeartMedia.

When the structure was built about two decades ago, it stood out among the mostly drab corporate offices in the area, San Antonio Express-News critic Mike Greenberg wrote in 2000. It looks out over the Quarry Golf Course.

“In bare outline, the plot is familiar, but the telling is crafted with great finesse, care and lyricism,” Greenberg wrote. “The idiom deftly combines the romantic regionalism of Hill Country limestone construction with high modernism, crisply rendered in glass and metal.”

Casey Development acquired the building, designed by local firm Overland Partners, in 2015.

“I think the (Sunset project) will be kind of an iconic building for many years to come, just like the Basse property is,” Casey said.

Since Casey started his company more than 25 years ago, it has built an assortment of multifamily projects, and commercial, industrial and office space in San Antonio and other parts of Texas.

The Sunset building is also an apology for what he dubs his “ugly” shopping center at U.S. 281 and Loop 410. It was his first project.
“I didn’t do so good (there),” he said.

About half of the roughly 65,000-square-foot Sunset building already is leased to medical tenants, and several other leases are pending, Casey said. The project is expected to wrap up this winter.

Doctors’ and dentists’ offices, and other health care services and medical businesses line streets in the area, along with clusters of apartment complexes.
“It’s become a little sub-medical market there,” he said.

There’s been plenty of speculation about how the coronavirus pandemic will affect various sectors in real estate, particularly office space.
Many companies sent workers home in March, and with COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in San Antonio and other cities, some have announced employees won’t be going back until next year.

When they do return, some will find their offices have been reconfigured. “The pandemic may mean the end of the open-floor office,” a May headline in the New York Times stated.

What does that mean for demand for office space in San Antonio?

“I think you’re going to see more rotation or (businesses) using less space,” Casey said. “We’ll see.” His firm is focusing on other fast-growing parts of the city. He has apartment complexes in the works at Interstate 35 and Wurzbach Parkway, and at Potranco Road and Loop 1604. A project with retail and multifamily units is planned at Stone Oak Parkway and U.S. 281.
Casey also is excited about the revitalization of the city’s urban core.

When he started his real estate career in the 1980s, there were incentives to rehabilitate downtown buildings, but people didn’t want to live there, he said in an interview last year. Then developments such as the Pearl started injecting more housing and retail, drawing people back to the area.

“I think downtown is definitely seeing its resurgence,” he said.

So is Casey considering any projects in the downtown area, or waiting to see whether that resurgence will continue?

“No, we’ve got some stuff we’re working on,” he said. “(That’s) all I’m going to say.”