SAN ANTONIO – After 25 years, Project MEND, which refurbishes medical equipment for people in need, is moving from its rickety old warehouse on Austin Street to a spacious new facility in the Medical Center.
The move makes way for trendy development in the Government Hill neighborhood, as GrayStreet Partners donated the new site in exchange for taking ownership of the current warehouse.
"We've been waiting for this for many, many years," said Project MEND CEO Cathy Valdez. "We're out of space and we need more room."
Project renderings provided by Overland Partners.
Project MEND repairs and renews donated medical equipment, such as wheelchairs, hospital beds, walkers and shower seats, to help people who cannot afford the equipment.
The nonprofit is now getting an improvement of its own.
With help from donors, Project MEND will construct a new 18,000-square-foot facility, making an investment of $3.2 million.
The current dilapidated warehouse is integral to the developer's master plan for the neighborhood, which includes the San Antonio Independent School District bus barn.
"This will be a big mixed-use development office -- retail, entertainment -- an expansion of Government Hill, the Pearl, the Broadway corridor," said Peter French, director of development with GrayStreet Partners.
French said that when developers approached Project MEND about purchasing its property, the nonprofit explained its need for a bigger facility.
"It happens we have a property in the Medical Center," he said. "And this idea that we might have something more than just a transaction, and something that could really be a win-win and enable them to expand and enable us to fill in a block in our master plan, came to be a reality."
The deal was essentially a land swap.
Other community leaders also made donations for the new facility.
Harvey Najim donated $500,000. The Kronkosky Foundation awarded a total donation of $750,000. Bexar County also invested $500,000. Other donors include Valero, Impact San Antonio and the Nancy Smithy Hurd Foundation.
The new facility should be complete in late 2019.