Article about Hi-Tech Tilt™ in San Antonio Business Journal

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From the June 17, 2005 print edition
Real Estate Roundup

‘High Tech Tilt’ will be part of planned N. Side retail project

Tricia Lynn Silva

A new retail center in the works on the city’s far North Side will be boasting more than retail tenants; it also will showcase a new construction process.

Encino Commons Pavilion will be an 8,400-square-foot retail building; the project is part of a larger, mixed-use development called Encino Commons — which spans 155 acres at U.S. Highway 281 North and Evans Road .

Pavilion marks the second retail building for Encino Commons, says Michael E. Reyna, who is the president of locally based TC Austin Properties , which is developing the community. Last fall, Encino Commons Market brought about 20,000 square feet of retail tenants to the large-scale project.

Pavilion, says Reyna, will allow his firm to get more retail tenants along Highway 281; the building will sit at the southeast corner of Highway 281 and Encino Commons Boulevard , a new thoroughfare that will essentially run down the center of Encino Commons. In addition, Pavilion will enable Reyna to use a new construction process in San Antonio called High Tech Tilt.

Unlike traditional tilt-up walls, which are about six to eight inches thick with concrete, the High Tech Tilt wall consists of a two-inch-thick layer of concrete; the system then integrates interior metal studs, explains Jaime Medina, the managing partner behind local firm Park Avenue Construction Inc. of San Antonio.

The process makes for a lighter wall — eliminating the need for heavy cranes, which in turn results in a 40 percent reduction in the time it takes to erect such a structure. Also unlike traditional tilt-wall methods, in which an interior wall with metal studs is then constructed to accommodate the wiring, plumbing and other building systems, the High Tech Tilt walls already have the metal studs in place. Interior finish out can begin immediately — thus reducing labor costs for the construction process, Medina adds.

The process has become popular in Laredo , which is the headquarters of Park Avenue Construction Inc. — the parent company for Park Avenue of S.A.

“It’s a fantastic new system,” says Reyna, who is a limited partner in Park Avenue of S.A.

“This concept is spreading around town like crazy,” adds Medina , whose firm is finishing up work on The Arbor at Thousand Oaks , a new retail center located off of Thousand Oaks Drive in North Central San Antonio. Park Avenue of S.A. was one of the subcontractors for the center — bringing its High Tech Tilt walls to the project. Medina adds that the parent firm holds a patent for this construction process in Texas and Mexico .

As for the tenants…

Pavilion will consist of some service-oriented tenants, including a vitamin store, nail salon, coffee shop and bakery — venues that will be of great use for the neighborhoods surrounding the project.

The prime retail component of Encino Commons will be a 250,000-square-foot retail center called The Heights at Encino Commons. TC Austin’s Reyna expects that the center will include at least one anchor of 50,000 square feet and several junior anchors that would range in size from 20,000 to 30,000 square feet.

While he declined to divulge specific details, Reyna says that TC Austin is presently in talks with several potential retailers for The Heights. Long-term plans call for creating an upscale, fashion complex that will target the lifestyle of the high-end households that lie in close proximity to The Heights. TC Austin is also pursuing deals with a couple of restaurants that would be new to the market, Reyna adds.

TC Austin is developing Encino Commons in partnership with Laredo-based firm Alfra Development. In addition to the retail components of the project, TC Austin and Alfra also plan to build a townhome community within Encino Commons called The Village, and an office-condominium piece known as The Park.

Adding amenities

Los Angeles-based homebuilder KB Home recently announced that work is under way at three San Antonio communities to add amenity centers to the developments. Each of these centers will include a swimming pool, picnic pavilions, barbecue grills, playscapes and other features to create a place for families to gather with nearby friends and neighbors.

Amenity centers are currently under development in the following KB Home subdivisions: Fox Grove, which is located off Highway 281 and Evans Road in North Central San Antonio; and the Northwest Side communities of Stage Run, located off of Interstate Highway 10 and Boerne Stage Road; and Bridgewood, which is located off of Loop 1604 and Shaenfield Road . They are scheduled for completion in early 2006.