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Big Tex site ready for improvements

Site to include housing, new home for Blue Star

SAN ANTONIO - Dan Markson, senior VP of development for the NRP Group in San Antonio, sees the former asbestos-riddled land of the Bix Tex grain company as something much bigger than a San Antonio river eyesore.

"It was originally a trading river and a water source and a place where rail connected and now it's become a place of beauty and recreation," said Markson, who hopes to receive nearly $5 million in tax incentives and street improvements from the city during their regular session on Thursday.

"I think this is a classic example of public-private partnership," said Markson. "There's a street that exists here. It hasn't been developed, that's the main thing that we want to see done."

The nearly half-mile stretch of Blue Star Street would feature hundreds of housing units along with retail and a city-run parking garage.

The silos and part of the building alongside them will remain and next to it will house a new 24,000-square-foot home for Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center, doubling its size.

"We're excited to be moving down into the south side a little bit more and bringing all of that economic generation and cultural enrichment down here," said Rebecca Geibel of Blue Star, adding that the move will triple the classroom space used for free after school programs for kids.

With the recent development of Cevallos Street and improvements along the river, Markson sees the site as a way to bring the line of prosperity further south and connecting it to the recently built Eagleland bridge.

"This brings the center of gravity with the Blue Star Contemporary Arts Center from up by South Alamo street all the way down here to this point, nearly a half a mile south into the south side," Markson said.

If council members approve the incentives, which city staff recommended, construction would begin in the first quarter of 2013, with some residences available for move-in in early 2014.


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