Urban Revitalization
3:56 pm
Mon November 12, 2012

Center City's Inner City Reinvestment Zone Targets Less Populated Areas of Downtown

Center City, a city department with the goal of developing and revitalizing neighborhoods, businesses and cultural resources in the Inner City Reinvestment Zone, is taking a hard look at West Commerce Street.

Director Lori Houston said it’s an area that was once full of life, but now lacks shops, restaurants and other businesses to cater to a myriad of people.

A report found that one-third of the rental space along the West Commerce corridor is vacant, a statistic the report called lacking in “quality and diversity.”

With two large populations catered to - tourists and workers - leaders also want to gear amenities like bars, restaurants and cultural spaces to people who actually live in San Antonio.

“And so the retail opportunities we see in there will be a lot more arts and entertainment retail offerings,” said Houston. “More restaurants, more bars, more art galleries, and then a lot of convenience opportunities."

Houston and her team are talking to city council members about creating a program to regenerate a vibrancy to areas like West Commerce St. downtown; perhaps restaurants to serve daytime office employees, barbershops or a pharmacy.

The city wants to meet with property owners on West Commerce to keep momentum going. Luckily, West Commerce is also one part of downtown identified for improvements in the 2012 bond program.

Another place that could be named for revitalization is Houston St., but it's  not a part of the 2012 bond. City leaders say it already has a great start with restaurants, hotels and shops.