SAN ANTONIO -

With the city’s blessing, the abandoned Birdsong Peanut Factory -- soon to become lofts -- hosted a ceremonial groundbreaking Wednesday morning. 

The historic building, just west of downtown, is getting repurposed.

"This project is going to have a tremendous impact for UTSA and the west side, and the downtown,” said District 5 Councilman David Medina.

The project will result in 98 apartment units, some as part of the old peanut factory, and others on an adjacent lot. Half of all the housing will be reserved for students. It is expected to address a student housing deficiency.

"We're denting it. I wouldn’t say we are fulfilling it, because there hasn’t been any downtown housing for the UTSA campus at all,” said developer of the project Michael Wibracht, of 210 Developers.

"We did a survey last spring that indicated to us that 88 percent of the students we surveyed would live in an apartment nearby,” added Dr. Jesse Zapata, vice provost for the UTSA Downtown Campus. 

Still some of the students on the UTSA Downtown Campus, weighed cost versus convenience.

"It would help some students, but I think it would be too expensive since its downtown,” said student Ian Zoebisch.

"It’s good. It would be convenient for a lot of students,” added student Ian Macray.

One group of students that would benefit the most would be architecture majors. Most architecture classes are located on the downtown campus.

"I spend a lot of time in the studio, staying late, working on projects, so it would be nice to have housing,” said Cesar Gonzales, who currently commutes from UTSA’s main campus.

Developers said it should be completed by the start of the fall semester in 2014.

For a list of recent stories Justin Horne has done, click here.