What is the Office of Historic Preservation?

How the City of San Antonio makes sure we don’t sacrifice the past to make way for the future.


The Tower Life Building

Table of Contents

Over the past year, we’ve gotten to share exciting news about some upcoming developments bringing big changes to San Antonio’s skyline.

From the new Hemisfair hotel to the ninth-tallest tower, there’s no denying that there seems to be a sort of renaissance coming to the 210. However, you may be surprised to know that building in heart of the Alamo City comes with its challenges.

Three centuries of history

304. That’s about how many years have gone by since San Antonio’s founding in 1718. If you think “a lot can happen in one year,” imagine what can transpire over three centuries.

Actually, why not let us just give you an idea? Check it out.

There’s no doubt that the 210’s history is one that holds a lot of cultural significance. In order to persevere its rich past, the City of San Antonio formed an office dedicated to maintaining our city’s uniqueness.

What is the Office of Historic Preservation?

The OHP is dedicated to protecting the historic, cultural, architectural, and archaeological resources that set our city apart from any other. Along with the Historic and Design Review Commission, the OHP oversees a design review process for exterior alterations to historic landmarks and districts. This also encompasses properties spanning the San Antonio River, public properties, and public art.

In short, the OHP is tasked with making sure we as a city don’t sacrifice the past to make way for the future.

What is the Historic and Design Review Commission?

The HDRC reviews applications for the designation of local historic districts and landmarks. Before construction on projects like skyline-altering developments can commence, developers must first seek approval from the commission. In many instances, board members will often discuss a proposal several times — as well as recommend design changes — before a project is approved.

How to get involved

Want to make your voice heard on an item seeking approval? The HDRC meetings occur on the first and third Wednesdays of each month and are open to the public. Those who attend can sign-up to speak in favor of or in opposition to any item for up to two minutes.

Residents can also call in and leave a voicemail that will be played during the hearing by dialing (210) 206-4372. You can view the the hearing schedule at anytime.

Recently, the OHP announced a new public portal that will allow residents to see in real time what has been tentatively scheduled for HDRC review.

Don’t have the time to look through the agenda every other week? No worries. You can always count on us to provide you with all the need-to-know information regarding new developments, right here, in our newsletter at 6 a.m.