9 miles is all that separates the first acquisition of one of San Antonio’s most active developers in downtown San Antonio from his last venture.
But the lapse of time between David Adelman’s acquisition of rental properties at the age of 16 and when he began construction on the historic Creamery mixed-use project in Tobin Hill shows the extent of his passion for both his hometown and development. Today, the impact of a long career as a commercial real estate developer is visible throughout the city center.
Adelman, 52, is the founder and president District Real Estate, the company he founded in 2011. He oversees development and asset management for a portfolio of properties in downtown San Antonio, including residential developments. Maverick, ’68 at Hemisfair, as well as 1221 Broadwayand other mixed, industrial and office properties such as Midtown station…
The developer is currently cooperating with a real estate investment company. Embry convert the former Borden creamery on East Ashby, near the Pearl, into a mixed-use office, retail and residential complex, and recently acquired a 4-acre warehouse property near Lone star district development.
But his first purchase was a house in Pecan Valley, which he bought while at Lee High School. Thanks to his father’s advice and the money he earned from mowing lawns and refereeing football matches, he paid a down payment of $ 6,000, took out a mortgage, and hung a “For Rent” sign in his yard.
“I was a very motivated kid, always trying to make some money and come up with something,” he said.
Later, as an economics student at the University of Texas at Austin, Adelman obtained a real estate license and began selling real estate to investors in California. He also bought outerwear and did the work himself to rent them out at higher market prices. “So I created value,” he said.
According to him, Adelman was so successful in this that he paid for his studies and graduated with a positive state. But the developer and investor prefer to talk about the work, and not about the money that it brings.
“This is not a big motivator for me, and therefore I never had financial goals,” he said. “I just love what I do. My only goal, which I have always pursued, is to go from the desktop to the grave, because I really like what I do and I cannot imagine doing anything else. “
When the San Antonio native was ready to return to his hometown, he began his career at Trinity Asset Management, where he quickly mastered the commercial real estate business, said partner of the firm, real estate broker Ed Cross. In 2011, Adelman spun off, taking with him the real estate development and management business, and Cross created a real estate brokerage company. Cushman & wakefield…
“It was a win-win deal for everyone,” Cross said, adding that what he admires most about Adelman is his patience and his ability to “peel onions”.
“He will really dive into something and really figure it out completely before making a decision,” he said. Then there is his work ethic.
Adelman said he plays a little golf, spends time with his family at the lake house, and his weekends are enjoyable until Sunday afternoon. That’s when he’s almost ready to go back to work.
However, during the work week, he devotes as much time to volunteering as he does in the office. He is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors Centro SA…
“I love seeing things get better, and … until they get paid, they build your relationships and connections, and somewhere along the way, it works on its own,” he said.
Unlike those who believe the pandemic will cause long-term shifts in the way people work, Adelman believes that the outlook for commercial real estate development after the pandemic is good, albeit uncertain. He believes business owners and workers are ready to return to office life.
“I believe that eventually, over time, everyone will return to work as they knew it before,” Adelman said. Why? “I don’t think you will be able to hire talent in the long term. [a remote working] Wednesday. Secondly, I don’t think people are that efficient in their day to day activities. [working from home]… “
A year ago, he wasn’t so sure of himself when he hit the pause button on the Creamery project, which he started in 2019. [was] it’s pretty scary to go into this Wednesday; however, in the past few weeks, the phone has started ringing a little more often, ”Adelman said.
These are now all systems with a completion date set for July 2023. “It’s like the old saying, ‘I am pregnant with this child, we will give birth to her,’” he said.
Located in Tobin Hill, at the bend of US Highway 281 and along the San Antonio River, the Creamery complex is a classic Adelman historic site redesigned for modern use in a popular neighborhood.
Built in 1932 for the mistletoe creamery, then sold Borden dairythe 50,000-square-foot factory, which was later used for climate-controlled warehousing, is being converted into an office space with a restaurant and bar on the main level.
A residential complex with 338 apartments with a garage and a view of the city landscape is being built next to it. The apartment will be named Tin Top after the old milk bottle closures.
The plans show the entire 5-acre lot facing the river, with a footbridge giving access to Brackenridge Park and public paths leading south to Pearl and north to the former “12th hole” of Brackenridge Golf Course, which was construction of highway 281 was cut off.
The Tobin Hill Community Association recently met at Hole 12 to assess residents’ interest in transforming the city’s “land that time has forgotten,” as Adelman calls it, into a public park. “We supported [Creamery] “- said Larkin O’Hearn, president of the board of the association. We are delighted to see the new neighbors and see how the historic Borden has been preserved and revitalized.”
Inside the former dairy, some of the plant’s cooling equipment has been abandoned and will be integrated into the industrial aesthetics of the building. There is also a pillar for one of the four large billboards that once stood in a spot facing the highway. Adelman hopes to install a decommissioned milk tanker or something similar as a sign for the construction.
After Adelman bought the property, he worked to get it listed on the National Register of Historic Places and uses the state’s tax credit program to offset conservation costs. Before that, the building could have been demolished if the City and the surrounding area did not object.
“I would never do that,” he said. “I would say that this is my opportunity to restore Utle B. Ayres. [-designed] construction. ”Architect Ayres designed many early 20th century homes and buildings in San Antonio, including the Tower Life Building.
But not every old building is worth saving, he said. In fact, Adelman and Barclay’s partner Anthony want to demolish their 1923 Rich Book building in the historic Cattleman Square neighborhood and build a 5-story apartment building on the site they’ve owned for seven years. Adelman said he pays $ 500 a week for biological treatment due to the constant crime and homelessness in the area.
According to the 1983 Historic District Report, the first floor of the former clothing store was redesigned, which reduced the integrity of the building’s design and workmanship. “Nothing serious happened there,” Adelman said. “It was not a consistent architecture, it was just a falling, very simple red brick building.”
Adelman advocates preserving and repurposing the buildings that make up the historic fabric of the city, but not every building can be saved, he said: there must be a balance between the needs and concerns of neighbors, the developer and users, and this gives the -and-take serves a purpose.
“If there is no friction, there is no traction. … And I think sometimes the best results are achieved with a little friction, ”he said.
Despite the complexity of working in historic districts with old infrastructure and other development constraints in the city center, Adelman wants to be there.
“Real estate is a capital intensive business … and if you do what I think are really good and reliable projects, capital will be invested and you will make a profit,” he said. “There is an old saying:“ God does not create the earth anymore ”. So if you think about the old principle of supply and demand in economics, when there is a supply constraint, you have the opportunity to set a good price. “
Although the future of office space in any part of the city remains uncertain after the pandemic, people continue to move to San Antonio. So Adelman, who completed 1,221 Broadway condos in the booming Museum Reach of the River Walk in 2010, is now turning his attention to multi-unit housing developments.
But even that is getting more difficult as costs rise and wages stay the same, he said.
“I start doing a little research on the affordable housing market to see if I can get an education,” and go out to the market, he said. This is a void he has hoped to fill, at least in part, since his friend and local leader of affordable housing Dan Markson died in 2019.
“This is not a business that I know a lot about, but it is a business that causes a lot of need and dread. I think this is a good place to try and do something interesting. “
Adelman was founding chairman and continues to be active in the local branch of the Urban Land Institute (ULI) in 2008 and is also a member of the VIA Metropolitan Transit Innovation Services Advisory Group. ULI recently awarded a grant to VIA to explore locations for mobile centers.
Cross said that Adelman is known in the community as someone who gets things done, but for good reason: “You know his heart is in the right place,” Cross said. “He’s one of those rare people that the alternative is the status quo, nothing happens, and you need someone like him who has a vision.”