San Antonio’s Office of EastPoint, San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside (SAGE), and the San Antonio Board of Realtors (SABOR) recently hosted the Eastside Real Estate Summit at Alamo Beer Co. Real estate agents, representatives of the San Antonio Housing Authority, and investors were invited to serve as panelists to share and discuss updates, misperceptions, and developments on the Eastside. More than 100 people attended, including many local real estate agents.
“The aim of the Real Estate Summit is to encourage real estate agents to learn more about the Eastside and highlight the transformative projects that are underway on this side of town,” said Mike Etienne, EastPoint office director, said in a news release. “It is important that the Eastside of San Antonio be included as an option in the buying market so that families can consider purchasing a home in these vibrant neighborhoods.”
Since 2012, nearly $200 million in private residential and commercial investment projects have been completed or are underway, yielding over 1,000 housing units. At the same time, the Office of EastPoint and Alamo Colleges have partnered with many local non-profits to launch a program called Promise Zone to Work to connect Eastside residents to 21st century jobs in high demand occupations, such as nursing, welding, construction trades, and information technology. These programs are provided at the newly created one-stop Eastside Education and Training Center (EETC) at the former Pfeiffer Elementary School. According to the news release, the programs offered ensure residents have access to employment opportunities, which can lead to homeownership in their Eastside neighborhood as well as financial and family stability.
Speakers said the rate of economic development sparked by area business owners and residents was accelerated by the award of two major federal grants, Eastside Promise Neighborhood (2011) and the Choice Neighborhood initiative (2012), along with the Promise Zone designation (2014). The latter, while not involving federal funding, helps non-profit agencies to access preference points on federal grants applications. These programs are designed to positively affect the Eastside by empowering residents, building capacity, and encouraging participation in local decision making, speakers agreed.
Panelists said there are many instances of socio-economic revitalization underway in the Eastside, thanks in part to initiatives driven by St. Phillip’s College and the Carver Center, re-investment at Sunset Station and around St. Paul Square, improvement plans for Dignowity and Lockwood parks, the Menger Creek expansion, and the new mixed-income community of East Meadows.
“Connecting our community with resources and improving the quality of life is a top priority for the City of San Antonio,” said outgoing Mayor Ivy Taylor in the release. “We have a tremendous opportunity to spearhead the revitalization of a side of town that has been in need for a long time. The city is proud of this wave of redevelopment and hopes those looking to buy a home will consider Eastside neighborhoods an option.”