The PPA Group’s Aviator at Brooks took home the award for Best Multifamily Development Wednesday night at the San Antonio Business Journal’s Best in Commercial Real Estate Awards.
With Aviator, the PPA Group took military barracks slated for demolition and transformed the property into a modern 280-unit class A apartment community with a pool, game room, BBQ/picnic areas, bike racks, a fitness center, bocce ball courts and other amenities. The clubhouse décor pays homage to the property’s aviation history, including archival photos of the old base and a coffee table modeled after an airplane wing.
“Thank you to all those involved with bringing Aviator at Brooks to fruition, and to the Business Journal as well as the City of San Antonio for recognizing what a special community Aviator has become,” said The PPA Group Founder and CEO Monte Lee-Wen. “This was an important project for us and we are thrilled that others are recognizing how unique this apartment community is.”
According to the San Antonio Business Journal, the award show “recognizes those individuals in the commercial real estate industry that take the risk to advance, preserve or positively change our community. The award for Best Multifamily Development is presented each year to the “most impactful multifamily development project, whether new or rehab.” The development team behind Aviator at Brooks includes The PPA Group, 210 Development Group, Catamount Constructors, Mark Odom Studio, Big Red Dog, MP Studio Landscape Architecture, and others.
Under the care of CLEAR Property Management, apartments at Aviator at Brooks became available to lease in June 2016. The Aviator apartment community is rich in history, as it incorporates adaptive re-use of former U.S. Air Force barracks and dining hall with newly developed buildings. Three former barracks were transformed into studio, one, and two-bedroom apartments, each with its own unique historical details. The former dining hall was converted into a spacious clubhouse, while seven additional buildings were built on the property housing one to three bedroom apartments, along with a limited number of townhomes with garages.
“When developing a historic site for commercial use, I believe it is important to preserve and acknowledge its history,” stated Lee-Wen. “In addition to applying that thought process into the adaptive re-use construction of Aviator, we also gave subtle nods to the past, like naming our interior design packages after notable figures ingrained in Brooks’ story and restoring and enlarging old base photos into clubhouse artwork.”
Developed in 1917, Brooks Field (later Brooks Air Force Base and now Brooks) is where aviator pioneers like Charles Lindbergh earned their wings. The breakthroughs that took place at the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine includes the development of high altitude pressure suits for the nation’s space program. Hangar 9 is one of the original hangars built for World War I at Brooks Field and is the last remaining wooden hangar in the U.S. Air Force. Additionally, President John F. Kennedy toured Brooks Air Force Base and gave a historical speech to a crowd of 10,000 people the day before he died.
“Aviator at Brooks is a prime example of how we’re preserving our rich history,” said Leo Gomez, President & CEO of Brooks. “These buildings were slated to be demolished, but we’re glad that our partner, The PPA Group, stepped up and turned these buildings into places where folks can once again live, learn, work and play.”
Aviator at Brooks is located at 8010 Aeromedical Road in south San Antonio. For photos of Aviator, click here.