Centro Partnership

Flcikr user Aidan Wakely-Mulroney (aidaneus) / cc

The combined vacancy rate downtown is 29 percent according to Centro San Antonio, a nonprofit dedicated to helping revitalize the urban center.

Around the city center large historic buildings stand empty. Large urban tracts of land around the city hold broken down buildings, like the abandoned Lone Star Brewery on the Mission Reach -- large empty lots are all that remain of bulldozed houses dotting San Antonio's East Side. 

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

As Texas Public Radio reported to you last month, San Antonio's downtown building vacancy rate is at 29 percent. Now that USAA has announced plans to locate some of its employees in a building downtown, city leaders hope more will follow.

The insurance company announced that 150 workers will report to One Riverwalk Place on the northeast corner of North St. Mary's and Convent in September. They'll occupy only a few floors of the tower bought by USAA Real Estate Company last year.

District 8 Councilman Ron Nirenberg praised the score for downtown.

Ryan Loyd / TPR News

San Antonio's downtown building vacancy rate is too high. The statement didn't meet with any arguments during a recent interview with Pat DiGiovanni, the former executive who worked as deputy San Antonio city manager and is now the president and CEO of Centro San Antonio.

In his new role, DiGiovanni leads the collaboration of initiatives aimed at making downtown San Antonio and the central business district more desirable, active and filled with people.

He said there is a 29 percent downtown building vacancy rate, and the challenge remains clear.

Murali Subramaniam

During a luncheon Monday at the Westin Riverwalk to talk about the new structure of Centro San Antonio, Inc., a startling revelation swept across the crowd of about 200 downtown stakeholders.

"How many of you had the opportunity this weekend to participate in the Diwali Festival downtown?" asked SA2020 CEO Darryl Byrd.

A long pause followed.

"OK, well that's very disappointing and embarrassing," said Byrd. "There are two people over there."

In the first segment:

"Latino Americans" is a new six-part documentary starting on PBS tomorrow night, locally you can tune to KLRN to catch it. The series covers 500 years of history with over 100 interviews.  

We talk with producer John J. Valadez about his work on the project. From William Valasquez to Hector Garcia, Texas plays a big role in the program.