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Northeast Corridor Revitalization initiative focuses on vacant, run-down businesses

usiness leaders aim to overhaul Perrin Beitel, Nacogdoches, starting with small improvements

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Some business leaders on the Northeast Side have had enough with empty, ugly and run-down businesses that they say push customers away.

They met Friday at the first business development meeting for the Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative, which focuses on the 1.8-mile area of Perrin Beitel from Loop 410 to Thousand Oaks and Nacogdoches from Thousand Oaks to O'Connor.

Leaders said even small changes like planting a tree or putting in new, easy-to-maintain landscaping can add up to big change for the area.

"We have to think about areas that have been inside the city like this for a number of years, really started in the '50s, '60s (and) '70s. We need to turn our attention to them," said District 10 Councilman Mike Gallagher.

Traffic counts along the corridor show that there are plenty of potential customers to support new businesses, but research also shows that people who live in the area take more than $200 million in business to other parts of the city.

The initiative is making plans to keep some of that money along the corridor.

"I want to see interest. I want to see involvement. I want to see the numbers, but primarily I want to see the unity of the residential along with the commercial businesses here," said Billy Hill, of Hill Electric, which moved into a redone, burned-out Chinese food restaurant along Perrin Beitel five years ago.

Penny Smith is catching the enthusiasm of other business owners in the area. She will be opening the Bridge Club of San Antonio in the coming weeks.

"My real estate agent showed me this place, and I loved the location. I loved the traffic, and it was just the perfect place for us," she said.

The current focus of the Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative is on a five-year plan, but leaders said that plan will likely be the first of many.

The city currently offers staff support for planning in the area, but leaders of the initiative are hoping for more. They are also looking into setting up a tax increment reinvestment zone, which would allow property tax money from new businesses in the area to stay in the area, rather than going into the general fund.

For a list of recent stories Jenna Hiller has done, click here.

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