San Antonio’s Downtown Alliance’s Urban Renaissance program launched in 1998, and individuals and businesses have been overwhelmingly in favor of the plan and its execution. Former Mayor Julián Castro’s “Decade of Downtown,” part of SA2020 efforts, promised increased financial prosperity and a revitalization of Center City and its surrounding neighborhoods as a thriving, dynamic hub for San Antonians. Today, the promise is being delivered and homebuyers are flocking to downtown, many choosing Alteza Residences above the Grand Hyatt as their new address.
From its inception, the ambitious plan included attracting more housing and added conveniences, such as a grocery store, plus redeveloping Hemisfair to be the hub of the city—San Antonio’s Central Park. With Phase I of Hemisfair is scheduled to open this fall and construction of the HEB underway, downtown has become one of the country’s most sought after urban chic addresses. We’ve heard great things from those already making the move to downtown. “I love San Antonio because it is genuine and doesn’t try to be anything it’s not,” says one young professional renting at The Pearl. “It has such a deep history but an exciting future as well.”
There are also those who gravitate to the center of the city, who appreciate its history and the provenance of so many of its structures. The grand domiciles of the King William district and lovingly preserved abodes of Lavaca have seen the progression of downtown San Antonio over the past few decades from strictly a tourist mecca and business center to a collection of neighborhoods in the truest sense.
Being an insider no longer means being restricted to having drinks on the River Walk or having to venture out of downtown for a night out. Residents are gravitating to King William, Southtown and the Pearl, building communities as tightly knit as anything the suburbs can offer. Many begin their Saturdays at Pearl Farmers Market for breakfast, live music, cooking demos and, of course, fresh meats, veggies and other foods. They head to Southtown for lunch at Rosarios, or grab a latte at Blue Star. Nightlife happens at Bar 1919, and perhaps starts with beers ’til midnight at The Friendly Spot. Weeknights, it’s off to Briscoe for an exhibition or a live performance at the Majestic. The cherry on top of San Antonio’s revitalization, the opening of the Tobin Center a year ago for aficionados of the performing arts.
To help lure in uncertain businesses, the City of San Antonio has offered incentives, including tax credits to businesses willing to fill up empty retail space, and it worked! San Antonio is the seventh-largest city in the country, but we were really behind in what we offered downtown. The long-term focus on tourism left residents seeking more. Now the city’s change into a more vibrant area, where everyone doesn’t leave at 5:30 p.m. every day is complete. The people we met are thrilled to be a part of the positive growth.
The next-largest group adopting the downtown lifestyle is empty-nesters—some boomers and older retirees as well. Alteza above the Grand Hyatt has been a popular choice for city dwellers who are taking full advantage of the lifestyle. Residents enjoy hotel services and a 24/7 concierge to assist with entertainment, transportation and other home services. A rooftop pool, membership to the Hyatt StayFit gym, and having a Ruth Chris Steakhouse just an elevator ride away is an attractive combination. Of course the views of the city through the floor-to-ceiling glass windows don’t hurt either.
Residents of Alteza have also expressed appreciation for the easy access to the River Walk. With the addition of the Museum and Mission reaches, the River Walk has been transformed into a fitness trail that comes to life with walkers, bikers and joggers throughout the day. Kayaking to the sourh or a water taxi ride north to the Tobin, there’s plenty of ways to enjoy the River like never before.
Even the Office of Historic Preservation is on board, thanks in large part to city and developers’ efforts to, as much as possible, repurpose buildings rather than raze them. Preservation Officer Shanon Shea Peterson says that so far, “downtown development is fantastic,” in part because the influx of money will benefit the preservation movement. “Once a historic building is gone, it’s gone,” she says. “Then we start losing our city character, one building at a time. We want to make sure that people are keeping this in mind in the long-term plans for development. So far, it’s been fantastic.” Last month, the San Antonio Missions were also named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There is a new atmosphere downtown that puts the “vital” in revitalization. While there was once a concern that living downtown required a trade-off, naysayers are in the minority. Fabulous dining, booming business, endless history and culture, sporting events, The Tobin and new entertainment venues at Hemisfair – the sky’s-the-limit when it comes to things to do in downtown San Antonio.
Those who live downtown thrive on the vibrancy. Alteza Residences is filled with surgeons and entrepreneurs, young professionals and empty nesters, retired military and second homeowners—such an exciting diversity that we all embrace. The singular common denominator is their passion for life downtown.
Get to know the neighborhood through Alteza’s Interactive Location map.