Preservation group fights to save Univision building

Westside Preservation Alliance announces opposition to demolition

SAN ANTONIO – A local preservation group is hoping the city will give a downtown building up for demolition a second look.

The Westside Preservation Alliance announced their opposition to the demolition of the old 1950s Univision building, which is also the home of the first Spanish-language television station in the United States.

The San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission voted to permit the demolition of the Univision building earlier this month to make way for construction of a 350-unit apartment complex on the River Walk.

Patti Elizondo, who is against the demolition of the vacant building, said city leaders should instead consider turning it into a museum in order to preserve its historical significance.

"It is the repository of the civil rights movement," said Elizondo. "Everything is chronicled within these walls, within the studio and in these edit bays."

And while representatives for the developer have said that the transmitter tower on the site would be kept and its history memorialized with some type of permanent fixture, opponents speaking out against the demolition on Friday said it's not enough.

"To destroy it is to destroy a huge fabric of San Antonio's history," said Elizondo. "It is unbelievably important and we have lost too many Mexican American monuments."

While city leaders have said the historical significance of the building should be recognized, they haven't talked about stopping the demolition.

"The architecture itself is not that significant," said Dist. 1 Councilman Diego Bernal. "I've been told that it's not that significant, but you can't build something there and act like what happened there never happened."

"It was the first Spanish-language TV station in the United States, something to be very proud of for San Antonio," said Mayor Julian Castro. "And hopefully, there's a way that folks can work with the developer to create something meaningful there."

A spokesperson for the San Antonio Historic and Design Review Commission said Friday that so far, no permit has been issued to demolish the building, but that the process has been started by the contractor.

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