Universal City looks for ways to revitalize area outside Randolph Air Force Base

Aviation District looks to reshape community in next 10-15 years

Universal City – Landlocked Universal City is taking a different approach to attract more revenue, retail and residents.

City staff recently informally presented the Aviation District Master Plan to City Council and the community to reveal what their study for the area showed.

The city is proposing a revitalization of Pat Booker Road just outside Randolph Airforce Base, between Aviation and National Boulevards. Michael Cassata, the city’s development services director, says the goal is to bring new blood to the area by creating an urbanistic, walkable community in an area that sees about 21,000 vehicles a day.

He’d like to see a town square with venues for concerts and a life at night space.

“Life at night is what you do after five o’clock and you’re able to drop the kid off at the dance studio and maybe go grab a beer or a glass of wine, walk around, look at some venues. That’s what we’re really trying to instill and develop here,” he said.

The area is considered to have the oldest homes in the city, and a lower economic base, with a mix of Hispanic and Caucasian residents.

The master plan will include upgrades to retail, commercial, landscaping and beautification, but transforming residential housing nearby is a major component.

“There’s much more opportunity for people to maximize the property that they have,” Cassata said. “And that’s either through remodeling the existing home and putting on an addition or just tearing it down and then building a new house.”

The city says there’s about 130 parcels, 98 property owners and about 30-35 businesses that will be impacted. The plan is just a vision now, but it could take 10-15 years for it to take shape. He says it’s important for them to work with the existing community to make it a success.

The next phase is for the design guidelines for developers to be finalized, before it’s approved by City Council, likely sometime next year. An estimated cost will also be known then.

Mike Voeller is opening Gather Brewing Co, near the corner of Pat Booker and Aviation Boulevard, sometime next spring. He’s excited about the details of the plan so far and what that could mean for his business.

“I think the the walkability aspect really stands out. Inviting pedestrians, kind of making an area where people want to come hang out, park their car, walk around,” he said. He envisions a mini Pearl District.

“There’s a lot in the air and we don’t know exactly what it’s going to look like," Voeller said. "But I think they’re going in the right direction here.”

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About the Authors

Patty Santos joined the KSAT 12 News team in July 2017. She has a proven track record of reporting on hard-hitting news that affects the community.

Before starting KSAT in 2017, Lee was a photojournalist at KENS 5, where he won a Lone Star Emmy in 2014 for Best Weather Segment. In 2009 and 2010 Lee garnered first-place awards with the Texas Association of Broadcasters for Best Investigative Series in College Station, as well as winning first place for Staff Photojournalism in 2011 at KBTX.

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