Tax Credit Program Highlight: Smith Young Tower

San Antonio, Bexar County

1928

Designation

Individually listed in the National Register

Historic Use

Offices

Current Use

Offices

Total Rehabilitation Cost

$7,348,465

Qualified Rehabilitation Expenses

$7,348,465

Date Certified

August 18, 2016

 

Certified for state credits only.

History

Constructed between 1927 and 1928, the 31-story Smith-Young Tower is “the most widely recognized 20th century skyscraper in South Texas.” Cited as one of the best illustrations of Late Gothic Revival commercial design in the state, the tower was designed by two of the most important architects in Texas, Atlee B. and Robert M. Ayers. The construction of the Smith-Young Tower coincided with San Antonio’s commercial growth in the 1920’s and “marked the transformation of San Antonio into a growing metropolis.” Tower Life Insurance has owned the building since the 1960s and it is commonly referred to as the Tower Life Building.

Rehabilitation Project

Since the building has had one owner for several decades, current projects involve maintenance and upgrades, some of them extensive and costly, undertaken in phases. All windows, which are non-historic, have been resealed from the exterior (requiring extensive scaffolding), the roof and its green Ludowici roof tiles were repaired, the damaged copper cupola was extensively repaired, and the missing flagpole was restored. On the interior, plaster in the ornate first floor lobby was repaired, and restrooms were updated. Individual floors have been refinished for tenant use. Additionally, a new cooling tower platform was built, and boilers were replaced; while not glamorous, these work items are essential for the building’s use and upkeep.

Photo Gallery

Click on any image to view the photo gallery.

  • Repaired cupola and restored flagpole, as seen from the top of the tower on a cloudy day.