San Pedro Creek is about to see big changes and the city and county are going to be shelling out big bucks. Bexar County alone is putting in $175 million to turn the West Side creek into a green belt of running trails and parks.
The hope is that the improvement will lead to additional business investment in the West Side according to Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff and Paul Elizondo, the Precinct 2 county commissioner, whose district covers the West Side.
District 1 City Councilman Diego Bernal said soon the city will look at the most aggressive policy it has ever seen on empty buildings. On Friday he outlined that promise at his second State of the Center City address.
As TPR has reported, San Antonio has a downtown vacancy rate of 29 percent. That figure is 19 percent citywide, which is why Bernal said he will be introducing a bold measure to take care of empty buildings.
Residential growth and new business development are quietly moving forward in an area where it might be least expected. The City of Leon Valley is marking the progress with its first major facilities expansion in 40 years.
Nestled in the near-Northwest area of San Antonio, Leon Valley is pretty much land-locked on all sides.
“I would say we are about 90 percent built out." City Manager Manny Longoria said.
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.
Unprecedented urban sprawl in Northwest Bexar County has officials pulling out their strategies for infrastructure improvements to do a better job of keeping up with the growth. The first part of the county’s plans were unveiled at a public meeting Monday evening.
The attraction of no city taxes and lower home prices has lured thousands of new residents to densely-constructed subdivisions in a short period of time. Some experts have compared the growth to a city the size of Kerrville.
On Tuesday Bexar County Commissioners will consider some of the contracts for renovation of San Pedro Creek.
The San Pedro Creek restoration project announced last May has been touted as the second River Walk for downtown. The project starts at Fox Tech and runs southward and ties into the trails at Mission Concepción.
County Judge Nelson Wolff said it will take over 40 acres out of the flood zone and make them developable.
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.
In a city like San Antonio, the question has become: Is the city growing in a way that is pushing long-time residents out of neighborhoods as it transforms?
Seeing examples from across the country of growth that completely takes over a town and forces generations of families out of their homes due to wealthier people infiltrating areas, District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal thinks it's time to study how San Antonio grows.
It may not ever be a problem, he said, but he doesn't want to be caught off guard.
Visitors to Hemisfair will soon start seeing construction on the southwest corner of the park.
City council recently approved the contract for Fisher Heck Architects, a San Antonio firm, to design the restoration and stabilization project for ten of the historic structures on the Hemisfair grounds.
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.