Camp Street Lofts

114 Camp St., San Antonio, TX, 78204
20 units
1900 to 3800 sf.
Originally a 1926 Candy Factory converted to Loft style condos. Upscale loft style living is offered in this 1926 urban building that is located just a mile from Downtown San Antonio.

A San Antonio Landmark
CAMPstreet, with its handsome facade, soaring vertical lines, and rhythmic countenance, originally was built in 1926 as the Duerler Candy Factory. From 1937 to 2000, the building was owned and occupied by Tobin Surveys, Inc., pioneers in the field of aerial map surveys for the oil and gas industry.

In 2001, Linda Pace purchased the building and 1.3 acres at 114 Camp Street for development as CAMPstreet Residences. Pace is founder and trustee of Artpace San Antonio. She is an artist, collector, and philanthropist whose vision for the residential building, rich with art and vitality, will serve as a catalyst for further development of the South Flores Street neighborhood in which it is located.

February 28, 2003
An old factory will turn into near-downtown lofts and galleries, By Elizabeth Allen, Express-News Business Writer

What long has been known as the Tobin Building is being morphed by local arts patron Linda Pace into Campstreet Residences, a customizable condo loft space with gardens, art-oriented community rooms and a new Blanco Cafe on South Flores Street.

The six prominent stories of brick topped with a concrete water tower just south of downtown has been a candy factory and Tobin's mapping company headquarters.

It almost became a telecom hotel, a facility that houses phone carriers' switching equipment and connects them to the major "backbones" that carry phone and Internet traffic, but that bubble burst just in time for Pace to come in with her vision two years ago.

Pace will start construction next month and hopes to have the 20 lofts, from 1,000 to 4,800 square feet each, ready by early next year. The fifth floor will be her residence and the sixth floor will be art galleries.

Between the industrial space and the city skyline to the north is a parking lot that Pace will make a garden called Chrispark in memory of her son, who died in 1997. Artist Teresita Fernandez and landscaper Rosa Finsley will create the space.

The whole project started with the idea of the park about five years ago, she said, but it grew into an idea of urban living.

"We live in these houses and kind of isolate ourselves against each other," said Pace, the founder of Artpace San Antonio.

Her work at the downtown arts organization put her in touch with a vision of San Antonio that was "bigger and richer" than the suburbs she grew up in, and now she wants to live in the middle of that vision.

Pace stood near the water tower on the roof of what will be Campstreet. She looked down on the gravel roof of the adjacent one-story building that will be the next Blanco Cafe.

"One of the things I want to do is commission an artist to do a sand painting on the roof with different-colored gravel," she said.

She will add other playful touches to Campstreet, including hiding tiny red Buddha figurines, one of which she keeps in her office, on each floor of the building.

Campstreet bears some similarity to the King William Lofts on South Alamo in that the developer will provide a shell with ductwork, plumbing and wiring and the buyer will finish out the space. It also has the same architect, Jim Poteet, whom Pace hired as the local representative and eventually put in charge of the project.

King William Lofts developer Steve Yndo met with Pace about his work/live project. He recommended Poteet, whom Pace initially hired to be the local managing architect while bringing in prominent outside professionals for the main design work. The others didn't work out, and Poteet ended up taking over the job.

"He's real good at taking a building and not turning it into a monument to Jim Poteet, architect," Yndo said.

Campstreet is also similar in that despite its bare loft layouts, it won't be cheap.

Yndo originally had envisioned the King William Lofts as accessible to the starving artist crowd, but the costs involved in even preparing the shell meant most buyers need a little more wherewithal to get started. And several have turned their live/work spaces into design showplaces, with curves in their stairways and granite kitchen countertops.

Shells in Campstreet will cost an estimated $95 to $125 per square foot. Their industrial design means concrete floors and ceilings, which will make for quieter neighbors.

But the building designed by Herff & Jones Architects in 1926 also has unusual details, like a stairwell pulled back from exterior windows so as not to break up the facade. Poteet said the stairwell will be lighted with neon so there always will be a vertical column of light shining toward the north.

"It's a beautiful building, and we just want to get out of its way," Poteet said.

While surveys show a demand for downtown and near-downtown living spaces, financing for those spaces has been hard to get. And adaptive reuse projects like Campstreet have been notoriously hard to navigate through city permitting regulations that were designed for more standard fare.

Which is why the developers of such projects must be able to commit substantial resources, but aren't necessarily in it for the money.

"Obviously, she wouldn't enter into a transaction that was not prudent, but it's not going to have the kinds of returns that a normal developer would want," said Rick Moore, general counsel for Campstreet Partners.