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Downtown San Antonio – focus for development

by admin on July 3, 2012

Redevelopment in the urban core isn’t just seen as a catalyst for growth downtown but could become a benefit of the city as a whole.

The city is banking on it with millions of dollars invested in infrastructure projects, incentive packages and facility enhancements. The next 10 years has been labeled the “Decade of Downtown,” a call to increase residential, retail and other commercial density downtown while helping to attract young, educated individuals and big-name business to the city.

“It’s not a secret what the young, talented, educated workforce is looking for,” said Hixon Properties Inc.’s Jack Spector. He pointed to several offerings the target audience is looking for in a city such as walkable neighborhoods, reliable mass transit, cultural and educational opportunities, and entertainment options.

“In a nutshell, they’re looking for a vibrant, dense center city. We refer to great cities having great downtowns. There’s not a city that I’m aware of that is a great city without a great downtown.”

That sentiment was shared Wednesday morning at the Real Estate Council of San Antonio‘s Downtown Development event. Along with Spector, City Manager Sheryl Sculley and Downtown Alliance President Ben Brewer were speakers.

Sculley touched on public investment, which included an updated incentive proposal for multifamily developments in the downtown area that the City Council will vote on today. So far this year, there has been about $194 million invested in downtown development and $17 million given as incentives to those projects, Sculley said.

In addition to those investments, of $596 million approved in a recent bond election, nearly $94 million will go toward downtown projects such as updates to streets, Alamo Park, HemisFair Park and the Central Library, she said.

“This is not about just having a better venue for tourists. We know that we need balance within the downtown area. We want people who live in the community to have an option to live downtown.”

It’s estimated that currently there are about 7,000 housing units in the downtown area, Brewer said in his presentation. That number is expected to more than double by 2020, which could lead to more office and retail space coming online, he added.

vlucio@express-news.net
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