Leading SA: President, CEO of Centro San Antonio talks future of downtown business district

Plan is to improve quality of life for people working, living downtown

SAN ANTONIO – Over the last few years we have seen a lot of construction projects, a lot more businesses and a lot of art in downtown San Antonio. So what exactly is the plan? What can we come to expect?

Matt Brown, the president and CEO of Centro San Antonio recently spoke with KSAT 12, to give a glimpse into the future.

“Downtown 2.0, it’s the next evolution of downtown. And we’re in that right now,” Brown said.

The heart of downtown SA, or as Brown referred to it is the business district, which is on the rise – both metaphorically and literally.

“The future is this is really a complete downtown,” Brown said.

If you have been downtown lately, there’s construction project after construction project on Broadway. Not only for practical use, but for the beautification of the area. The plan is for all the construction to be done by June.

“The vast majority of what’s going on is for functionality and enhancing the quality of life for the people working and living downtown. So you get wider sidewalks, which are much nicer to walk on,” Brown said.

The overarching plan for the future revolves around having more people living, working, and playing downtown. But for now, if you drive around you may notice empty spaces and empty store fronts.

“Some of the retail spaces are empty and they’re slowly coming back. Like they’re coming back. But it’s going to take a while,” Brown said.

And to help fill the store fronts, a program is now in place through the pop-up shops to promote San Antonio companies and prop up local business owners.

“There’s another pop-up series come up in the spring and we’re hoping over time that we can just have a permanent location where we’re just constantly bringing in entrepreneurs, laying the test drive retail and then get them into retail downtown. So that’s the way we can partner with the property owners and go, ‘Well, you’ve got a spot.’ We have some possible entrepreneurs,” Brown said.

In terms of living downtown, Matt says there is a huge demand and supply is growing – fast.

“Look at 300 Main. Like I feel like every day a new floor on that apartment building goes up and that’s going to be hundreds of apartments, right? And hundreds of people living downtown and on the ground floor. I know they’ll have cool shops and restaurants and bars,” Brown said.

With more companies comes more families and the need for more apartments.

“In the next five years I think we’re in the 5 to 10,000 unit range if everything comes online. We forecast a need for housing upwards to 100,000 people downtown over the next decade or 15 years,” Brown said.

All in all, Brown and Centro San Antonio say they have big plans for the city and the sky is the limit.

“The future of downtown is going to be a complete neighborhood,” Brown said.

About the Author

Max Massey is the GMSA weekend anchor and a general assignments reporter. Max has been live at some of the biggest national stories out of Texas in recent years, including the Sutherland Springs shooting, Hurricane Harvey and the manhunt for the Austin bomber. Outside of work, Max follows politics and sports, especially Penn State, his alma mater.

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