SAN ANTONIO - It's a neighborhood in transition, and good or bad - change is here.
Investors are bringing millions of dollars in new development while the City of San Antonio has offered a series of incentives to developers including cash grants, SAWS impact fee waivers, as well as city fee waivers.
Bob Shearer is one of the investors looking for opportunities along what is called the “Broadway Corridor” just north of Downtown San Antonio.
“We have purchased a few properties here on the street, and are in the process of remodeling and refurbishing them,” explained Shearer.
The new boom in development along Broadway, the new Museum Reach of the River Walk, the Pearl Brewery development and neighboring areas are part of Mayor Julian Castro SA2020 initiative. A “vision for Downtown’s future” reads the executive summary of the plan which indicates one of the goals is adding 5,000 housing units and more than 13,000 jobs to Downtown for 2020.
Just along the Broadway corridor more than 1,200 new apartments are now under construction. But as new neighbors and new business come in, many ask what happens to those who have been in these neighborhoods north of Downtown for generations.
Mary Jane Ortiz is one of those long time residents.
"I've been in this neighborhood since I was 11 years-old,” said Ortiz. “Now I'm 47.”
Ortiz has already received several offers to sell her home, “but I'm going to choose to stay and fight for my rights," she says.
But soon Ortiz may not have a choice. New construction means higher property taxes. Taxes, she says, she can't afford.
“Yes, exactly, and I worked all my life for this. And where is that going to leave? I think it's unfair," she added.
Meanwhile, life here goes on. A new bakery just opened up across the street.
Anne Ng moved here from San Francisco to work for Rackspace, but eventually decided to return to her first love, baking. Now Anne, her business partner and one of the developers have teamed up to open their own bakery.
“It’s exciting to see the buzz around the neighborhood,” Ng told News 4 WOAI. “It’s very exciting to see people coming into our bakery. It’s very exciting to see this old house getting transformed into some new life.”
But as exciting as it may be, and while everything Anne's bakery makes is baked fresh, and with top of the line ingredients, unfortunately not everyone in the neighborhood can afford it. Higher quality Anne says means higher prices often beyond low income residents who remain in the area.
And right across from the new bakery, next to new and expensive construction, a longtime resident washes his 1957's classic automobile. He wouldn't talk to us on camera, but he shared the excitement, and at the same time how disappointing it is to see friends and neighbors selling out and moving on.