Tundra Village in San Antonio, Texas is on the outskirts of Southern San Antonio just minutes from the Toyota Plant. Construction started in 2006 with phase 1 coming to completion in 2008. But due to construction issues and other legal issues the townhome project was never completed. It sits in abandoned limbo waiting for investors to purchase and complete the project. After years of sitting in limbo, new investors have taken on this project.
STORY OF TUNDRA VILLAGE IN SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS
Tundra Village in San Antonio, Texas was to be a 4-plex townhome community. The development sits on 28 acres and currently has 37 buildings. The plan was to build several more phases and have 78 buildings after the development was completed.
Two units would be about 1,500 square feet on a single level. The other two units would be about 1,950 square feet and two stories. All of the units would have 3 bed rooms, two bathrooms, and a 2-car garage. Included in the amenities were upgraded features, gated community, and separate meters. All for a starting cost of 450k. For those wanting to purchase a unit, they would need to put 20% down before construction started.
It cost forty-six investors close to two million dollars and additional funds from the bank for the developer, Mauro T. Padilla, to complete the project. At the end of the project, the investors were planning to rent there.
But Padilla never completed the project and cut corners. He even used some of the money from the bank for personal expenses, including a million dollar mansion, TVs, son’s wedding, and help fund his brother-in-law’s car dealership.
Eventually he was caught and pleaded guilty to defrauding First National Bank Edinburg, Texas by lying to get a $212,314 construction draw from a $3.7 million loan for the first phase of the project. The courts sentenced him to 12 years in person.
Then the bank foreclosed on many of the buildings in 2009. To recoup some of its money the bank sold the property to Jadon Construction Co Inc. based in Edinburg. Jadon was brought in by the bank to fix up Tundra Village. Jadon received a $9.3 Million loan.
President of Jadon said it would have cost $22 million including the loan to to repair the existing structures, build the rest of the buildings and complete unfinished utilities. When the property went to foreclosure auction in 2012, First National Bank bought the property back for $4.7. A few months before this foreclosure purchase, federal banking regulators brought an enforcement action against First National Bank for “unsafe and unsound practices and violations of law.” Read more about the First Nation Bank here.
In 2013 First Nation Bank Edinburg was listed as a failed bank and was closed down but was purchased by another company. Eventually, the directors were ordered to pay back millions to investors who lost everything. The directors are now working and in charge of other Texas banks.
At some point, FDIC took ownership of the property and sat for years waiting for investors to save the buildings from mother nature, scrapers, and vandals.
Then in March 2017 a Dallas based group TVPA Partners purchased the majority of the 37 uncompleted buildings.
PROBLEMS WITH TUNDRA VILLAGE IN SAN ANTONIO
One of the main reasons why the property has had a hard time getting new investors is because of the cost of fixing the problems Mauro T. Padilla created and the buildings were left to decay.
Bexar County Engineer stated “There are so many things wrong with this that it’s hard to know where to start. Whoever takes over that property probably needs to start over from scratch.” – My San Antonio. By this, she means they need bull doze the area and start over. Just reading what the county engineer said, I wouldn’t purchase any building the developer was part of.
Some of the issues with the project include – Info taken directly from My San Antonio
- A plat, or master plan for the development, was never approved.
- No roads, electricity, water lines or sewer lines were installed.
- At least two fourplexes are built in a floodplain.
- Some are built on existing or proposed lot lines.
- Building permits were never pulled on about a dozen of the complexes.
- Buildings have deteriorated so much that their structural integrity is questioned.
CONDITION OF TUNDRA VILLAGE IN SAN ANTONIO AS OF 2014
When I first heard about Tundra Village was in 2013 when someone showed me a video of the place. My friend wanted to film their college short movie because it looks so much like a neighborhood in a apocalyptic world. At that point, I put it on my wish list of places to explore on my next visit to San Antonio.
In 2014 I was able to visit this location. I drove right up to the neighborhood entrance and stopped. It wasn’t blocked off, but the concrete ended and muddy dirt roads started. no one seemed to care that I was there, people waved as they passed by.
I started exploring many of the buildings, and found construction supplies left in the garages, buildings and around the property. I didn’t see much vandalism and almost no scraping. I’m surprised all the building supplies were there after years of no one caring about the place.
As to the buildings, these weren’t going to be luxury housing as the project described. Builder quality or just a step above builder quality building supplies were used throughout the buildings I explored.
Some of the buildings looked like construction workers didn’t try to line things up. Things just looked off.
Over the years, I have talked to friends, other photographers and seen pictures of the property as the neglect has gone unchecked. Its in bad shape and needs to be torn down or the issues addressed and the project completed by new investors. Hopefully the new owners fixes this eyesore.
As of 2020
According to several sources a Dallas based firm purchased most of the houses in the development and plan to rehab 15 at a time with the first set scheduled to be ready at the end of 2018. In total there will be 36 four-plex and the community name was changed to Palo Alto Villas. From what I can tell there are some units available now but I can’t find any current pictures and articles with more information. As I find more details or I have the chance to drive out to the community I will update this article.
Please Note: The article was written on July 31st, 2017 for VanishingTexas.com and the pictures were taken in 2014. . That site is no longer affiliated with us. All content from that site is slowly being migrated and updated to this site. As new information and images are found this article will be updated.
- Tundra Village Blog
- Tundra Village still awaits improvements – My San Antonio
- Texas-size troubles for the state’s No. 12 bank – My San Antonio
- FDIC sells Tundra Village buildings to Dallas developer – My San Antonio
- 12-year sentence for developer – My San Antonio
- First National Bank’s struggles continue – My San Antonio