Lori Houston is director of the Center City Development Office.
This piece ws originally published in the San Antonio Report. The photo is by Al Rendon, the words are by Lori Houston.
Building on our assets creates opportunity, and we are seeing that happen with a resurgence of development in downtown San Antonio. The Museum Reach extension of the River Walk in 2009 opened 1.3 miles of river frontage where we have seen 1,500 residential units grow in places that we saw as undevelopable just a few years ago. With the southern extension of the River Walk and amenities added to San Pedro Creek, which has two miles in downtown, we create more opportunities for residential development.
We’re fortunate to have 26 million tourists visiting San Antonio – this has led to exciting restaurant and entertainment venues. With more young professionals and families finding places to live downtown, neighborhood retail – dry cleaners, doggy daycare, bakeries – has started to come downtown as well. As the population continues to build, you will start to see the kind of retail that you find serving Stone Oak and the Medical Center appear in our downtown neighborhoods.
Lavaca, King William and other established downtown neighborhoods are good anchors for families considering downtown. Hemisfair Park’s redevelopment focuses on kids, with the Playscape and other amenities. The next thing we have to see to make downtown work for families are the schools – amenities for children need to be accompanied by a good school system. When he took office in 2010, Mayor Julián Castro declared this “the decade of downtown.” Great cities are built around great downtowns – we are well on our way to seeing that happen for San Antonio.