McCombs family buys downtown San Antonio hotel ground lease

Redevelopment potential at former hotel being used as homeless shelter

McCombs Family Buys Downtown San Antonio Hotel Ground Lease
McCombs Enterprises' Joe Shields with 318 West Cesar Chavez Boulevard (McCombs School of Business, Google Maps)

One of San Antonio’s most famous families has expanded its downtown property portfolio. 

The McCombs family bought the ground lease of a former Holiday Inn in downtown, the San Antonio Report reported. The family already owned the 4.5 acres at 318 West Cesar Chavez Boulevard on which the old hotel sits. In buying out the ground lease, the McCombs family now has full control over the property, which the company’s late founder, Red McCombs, helped build in advance of Hemisfair ’68. 

The deal comes after the leaseholder, San Diego-based Pacifica Companies, struck a deal with the city in October to house homeless people in the hotel. 

Those plans for the 313-key hotel drew complaints from a child care facility across the street, and they weren’t especially popular with the McCombses, either. When the outlet asked whether the family minded the deal, McCombs Enterprises executive Joe Shields said “not no, not yes.”

“We wanted to gain control in what happens in the property going forward,” Shields said.

It is unclear what the family will do with the hotel, but its location in the heart of the city near the River Walk suggests it has redevelopment potential. 

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Recently, the McCombs family has upped its investments in downtown properties. It plans to convert the Tower Life Building into residential use, and aims to construct a $295 million, mixed-use project near the San Antonio Museum of Art. 

“I think at some point in time it’s going to make sense for us to do something on this property, but we truly and honestly have zero plans for what that could be in the future,” Shields said of the old hotel. “But we wanted to get control of it while we had the opportunity.”

Deepak Israni, Pacifica’s president and managing partner, didn’t return a request for comment from the outlet. 

Under the terms of the homeless housing lease, the city would have paid almost $9 million to house people there until October 2025. It would have also paid an interfaith group $7 million to operate the shelter. 

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