GrayStreet Partners acquires nonprofit’s Pearl-area HQ

San Antonio development firm GrayStreet Partners has purchased the Government Hill headquarters of a nonprofit medical equipment supplier, with plans to convert the property into a mixed-use development project.

Project MEND CEO Cathy Valdez said the charity is building a 15,100-square-foot headquarters on the city’s Northwest Side on a 3-acre property donated by GrayStreet.

The developer bought Project MEND’s 0.4-acre plot at 1201 Austin St. for $575,000 in a deal that closed in April 2019. The building is appraised at $669,050, according to Bexar County property records.

“It was great. We got a fair deal,” Valdez said. “We had no idea that we were going to be so fortunate. I think everything just fell into place. GrayStreet needed that space, and we needed the money to build a new facility.”

GrayStreet had acquired the property across the street from Project MEND’s warehouse, adjacent to its headquarters, in 2017. The site used to be San Antonio ISD’s Ben Milam Elementary School.

GrayStreet officials couldn’t be reached for comment Monday.

The nonprofit’s new home, to be located at Harry Wurzbach and Crystal Run, will cost an estimataed $2.6 million, according to state filings, with enough room for both the warehouse and administrative office.

Construction is scheduled to begin in September and expected to be complete by July 2021, Valdez said.

“This put us less than a mile from the (South Texas Medical Center),” she said.

Another perk: a bus stop in front of its headquarters, which she said will be convenient for employees and clients.

Valdez said Project MEND had outgrown the property purchased in 1998, and has been renting additional office space at 5727 Interstate 10 West, owned by Gordon Hartman Enterprises.

The 14-employee operation, which includes Valdez, refurbishes medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, crutches and hospital beds, for people with disabilities whose medical insurance denied coverage or who couldn’t otherwise afford the supplies.

The group was founded in 1992 by Murlin Johnson and formally incorporated as a 501(c)(3) the following year.

Project MEND, which stands for “Medical Equipment Network for those with Disabilities,” is running a $3.5 million capital campaign and is asking the community for donations of old medical equipment.

“We’re so close to our goal,” she said.

Weeks into the coronavirius pandemic, which started in March, Project MEND shifted to curbside service for both donors and clients. Donors can set an appointment and staff will pick up their used medical equipment on the curb. Clients can also schedule a time for a contactless delivery of the used equipment.

Clients are required to get a prescriptions from their doctors for mechanical items such as hospital beds, scooters, lifts and wheelchairs.

“Right now, it’s busy and we have even more people asking for help,” Valdez said.

GrayStreet is helping the nonprofit temporarily move its inventory into a nearby building so the developer can start construction on its new project, Valdez said.

The firm is also renovating the San Antonio Light building on Broadway for office and retail space, and planning to build a 20-story luxury hotel and office tower near the Pearl.

Read the original article on SA Express News here.

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