SAN ANTONIO -

The center of the city, more and more, is becoming the center of San Antonians’ lives.

Downtown San Antonio is not just a popular tourist attraction anymore. Lately, it’s also attracting locals who want to live there.

According to Centro San Antonio, as many as 19,000 people call the downtown area home.

"I walk the river. I walk downtown to The Alamo," said a woman, who said she wanted to be referred to simply as “Angelina."

She has been living in the heart of San Antonio for the past 13 years. The last two years have been in a third-floor loft just off Broadway, where she’s able to take in the sights and sounds of the city from her balcony.

She also takes regular early morning strolls along the streets with her dog, but she said she’s never overly concerned about safety.

"I don't feel uncomfortable,” she said. "I mean, I wouldn't come out in the middle of the night. You have to be smart.”

Nightlife, though, is exactly what drew Karina Goldberg and her husband to the downtown area.

They rent an apartment at the Can Plant, a complex of residences and retail shops at the Pearl Brewery.

"I definitely like being close. A quick cab ride to downtown, happy hours, restaurants," Goldberg said.

Soon, they could have quite a bit more company on those outings. New apartments are under construction at the Pearl and other locations nearby.

As many as 1,000 new downtown dwellings should be online and ready for renters within the next two years, Centro San Antonio figures show.

Goldberg said she’d also like to see more shopping opportunities, particularly for food.

"It's a little bit harder when it comes to finding a grocery store or retail shopping," she said.

Perhaps the closest supermarket, H-E-B’s Central Market, is about 2.5 miles from her home on Broadway.

Still, Goldberg said it would be nice, though, to have something within walking distance.

Among its plans for expansion in the downtown area, HEB has proposed building a 10,000-square-foot grocery store at the corner of S. Flores Street and Cesar Chavez.

However, those plans are still awaiting approval by the city council.

Dya Campos, an HEB spokeswoman, said once the company gets the green light to move forward, construction on the new store would take an additional year.

For a list of recent stories Katrina Webber has done, click here.