The City Public Service Building was constructed in 1921 for the offices of the San Antonio Public Service Company, which provided commercial and residential gas and electric services. Also known as the Petroleum Commerce Building, it was designed by prominent San Antonio architects Ayres and Ayres: a father-and-son team responsible for other notable downtown buildings such as the Municipal Auditorium and the Smith-Young Tower. The original structure had a river-level basement and three floors. In 1927, three additional floors were designed by Ayres and Ayres to seamlessly integrate the façade and original décor. Later, garage parking was added.
At the time, most designs treated the river as a side or back elevation, but the City Public Service Building was the first commercial office building in downtown San Antonio to face the river. The doors of the Drury Inn & Suites River Walk open to the Paseo del Rio, a shopping, dining and entertainment district in downtown San Antonio. This building sits on a bend of the San Antonio River, known today as the San Antonio River Walk. It is just east of Main Plaza, or Plaza de las Islas, which is the area of San Antonio first settled by the Spanish in 1718. The location is also historically significant because it is the original site of the Twohig House. John Twohig was one of San Antonio’s original settlers. In the 19th century, his home occupied this location. Because of its location and architectural design, the City Public Service Building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
In 1998, Drury Hotels acquired the building after it sat vacant for a number of years. The exterior was restored to its original 1920s appearance. At the street and river elevations, the first two floors are cast stone and upper levels are brick exteriors. Retail and restaurants occupy the first floor of the building facing the River Walk. The lobby area has high ceilings and ornamental plaster moldings. Drury Hotels added a rooftop pool and observation deck to overlook the San Antonio River and River Walk.
Learn more about the Drury Inn & Suites San Antonio Riverwalk.