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'I can’t even believe that is happening’: Downtown business closes its doors after 45 years; owner blames pandemic

Bexar Facts-KSAT-San Antonio Report Polls says community is worried about business closures

SAN ANTONIO – Jesus Medina started working at Cadillac Bar in 1974 as a dishwasher, waiter and bartender. In 1997, he bought the business from the original owner to fulfill his own dream, but the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has forced the business to close permanently after 45 years.

“This is my whole life. You know, it’s like you’re thinking about 45 years, it’s unbelievable,” Medina said. “I can’t even believe that is happening.”

In just a few days, Medina’s business assets will be sold through a liquidation sale. He blames the pandemic.

“As soon as we finished with fanfare and spring break, the next day, we were closed. They shut us down,” he said. “We’ve been trying to open, but they don’t let us open because the bars are not going to be open probably until next year, they said.”

Out of the 619 likely voters in the Bexar Facts-KSAT-San Antonio Report Poll, which was conducted between Sept. 17-21, 75% of participants said the closures of local businesses due to the pandemic is among the most extremely serious and very serious issues.

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Paul Fagan, executive vice president of REOC San Antonio -- a company with about 1.1 million square feet of office space in its portfolio -- says he’s optimistic about businesses returning.

“I don’t want to sound like it’s all super rosy. You know, there are clients who are closing offices and who are having material financial difficulties,” Fagan said.

He said REOC San Antonio is working with those companies to figure out lease terms. He said companies are still using office space so far, but there’s a decrease for now.

“Across all the office buildings, we’re seeing about 25% occupancy day-to-day,” he said. “And really, the only way to tell that is by looking at the parking lot.”

Fagan said the function of business workplaces, the efficiency of the workflow and the fundamental use is still needed for companies to thrive.

“At the end of the day, the functions of the office space and the need to gather for innovation and culture and hiring and training and supervision, all those things are going to remain,” he said.

There’s also hope for Medina, who is keeping the bar name and hopes to revive it at another location in the future.

“God bless San Antonio, and thank you for being supportive for these many years,” Medina said. “I love everybody that used to come over here and hope to see them pretty soon.”


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