SAN ANTONIO – With a possible downtown move being discussed by the San Antonio Spurs and the City of San Antonio, East Side residents and businesses have mixed opinions.
The Spurs have played at the Bexar County-owned AT&T Center on the East Side since 2002 and have a lease that lasts into 2032. But a City Hall source confirmed to KSAT that the team and city are having “informal and preliminary” discussions about what comes next, including whether a move to a location downtown would be feasible.
Sitting next to the Freeman Coliseum and AT&T Center, Ball Hoggs BBQ’s identity is clearly tied to the team. Spurs-themed art dons the walls, and the name itself evokes the game.
“You know, they ball right there, and we sell hog,” jokes the owner, Hubert Brown.
He said the games help bring in customers, and he doesn’t want to see the team leave the stadium.
“It brings people here to kind of see what’s going on over here on the East Side. So it would be a travesty,” he said.
However, he also acknowledges many people simply drive to and from the area without stopping to stay. And the two decades the stadium has been there haven’t prompted a wider revitalization of the area.
“They just started developing some businesses across the street. But as far as what it all was supposed to be, and they’re going to develop everything and bring business here, they did not do any of that,” Brown said.
At a barber shop farther up East Houston Street, Gordon Benjamin says a downtown stadium may be more beneficial for fans, but he also talked about the “empty promise.”
“They’ve been here 20 years and haven’t fulfilled their promise. Let them stay here another 20 years and get it cleaned up. And then they can go wherever in the city they want to go,” Benjamin said.
District 2 Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez, who represents the area, tweeted Tuesday in response to a news story about the discussions. The AT&T Center, he wrote, “never fulfilled its promises to spur positive development on the eastside. A new stadium cannot and should not happen until there are steps to remedy this broken agreement.”
Off the jump, this leaves the question of what happens to the AT&T Center that never fulfilled its promises to spur positive development on the eastside.— Councilman Jalen McKee-Rodriguez (@theloserteacher) July 18, 2023
A new stadium cannot and should not happen until there are steps to remedy this broken agreement. https://t.co/YWtHRFWDzs
Not everyone sees the stadium as a bust for the area.
David Edmond has lived near the site for about 30 years, since before the AT&T Center was constructed, and says he sees more people buying homes and moving into the area.
“There’s not no big, big business. But the people are -- at least the businesses are not moving out like they were doing before AT&T Center,” he said.
What might happen if the Spurs were to move out is anyone’s guess.