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The Decade of Downtown – the Journey is About to Begin

Downtown San Antonio is about to undergo a transformation that many consider as significant as the development of our renowned River Walk, according to Ben Brewer, President of the Downtown Alliance and Centro San Antonio, and  Andres Andujar, CEO of the HemisFair Park Redevelopment Corporation. The two recently presented the Strategic Framework Plan for Center City to The Chamber’s Public Affairs Committee. They discussed the impact it will have on the big picture for a vibrant downtown, including a revitalized HemisFair Park.

Lori Houston, the Assistant Director of the Center City Development Office also spoke about the city’s un-adopted proposal for incentives and economic development to achieve the Plan’s goals.

In preparation for the Plan, Mayor Julián Castro launched a robust public consultation process in the SA2020 proposal and declared the next 10 years as “The Decade of Downtown.” As its first major effort, Centro San Antonio and the city commissioned nationally-recognized downtown development consulting firm HR&A Advisors to produce the Strategic Framework Plan. Through research and analysis, community meetings, stakeholder consultations and close collaboration with Centro San Antonio and city officials, the plan establishes goals, targets and strategies to achieve the SA2020 vision for downtown. The SA2020 goals for downtown include adding 5,000 housing units (a 130% increase) and creating more than 13,000 jobs (a 25% increase).

Andujar added that the plans for HemisFair Park include multiuse development with many new residential opportunities. He shared the latest rendition of plans for HemisFair Park, which lays out the goals of attractive housing alternatives, welcoming parks, walkable streets, mass transit, enticing retail, enhanced cultural institutions and accessible parking.

While the City Council has not adopted the incentive proposal for the implementation of the Plan, Houston suggested that the incentive for their support is that it would create more tools in our economic development tool kit which would support incentivizing housing development in the center city, and keep more young, urban professionals in San Antonio.

Click here for more information about the plan.  

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