by BRAD ROLLINS
» Concept plan, version A [pdf]
» Concept plan, version B [pdf]
The San Antonio developer wants to build a five-story Mediterranean-style landmark on Sessom Drive with 16,000 square-feet of ground-floor retail fronted by a sprawling outdoor plaza. On the upper floors, 380 apartment units would have 800 bedrooms between them. Casey has had five houses and their grounds, a total of more than 14 acres, under a purchase contract for more than a year and a half with the intent of buying and developing the properties as soon as entitlements he wants are nailed down.
Last January, the city council rejected a similar, though considerably larger, plan as the one he is trying to sell now. Most of 2012 was whiled away on one false-start after another as Casey and his people searched for an alternative that could both win approval and be worth building.
This time around, Casey has the challenge of city staff’s recommendation against his proposal as well as the ongoing distraction of a planning commissioner-cum-real estate broker who — despite his consistently abiding by state and city ethics requirements that he recuse himself from P&Z deliberations and votes on projects in which he has a financial interest — galvanizes opponents and gives a foothold to distrusting elements of a community quick to see corruption, or its potential, everywhere.
On Tuesday, after 2½ hours of public comments from dozens of supporters and detractors, the commission finally had its first say on Casey’s request to abandon a short segment of Loquat Street and an assortment of alley and street right-of-ways dedicated more than 100 years ago but never developed for public use. Connecting Canyon Road and Sessom Drive, Loquat cuts the 9½-acre building site in half and, unless the city agrees to abandon it, Casey’s project is as good as still-born.
» Read the full story and watch the full video of San Marcos P&Z consideration of Casey’s proposed Sessom Drive development. Join MercuryPro.