SAN ANTONIO – For the first time, people living on the West Side sat down with VIA Transit and developer Dream On to discuss the future of the Scobey building near downtown.
There are mixed opinions on how to turn the building into a mixed space of apartments and commercial space.
“We’ve been there since 1925, so that’s generations and generations that have put effort into the area,” JR said.
JR lives adjacent to an abandoned Scobey storage unit located near downtown.
He is one of many people invited to give input on the future of the Scobey building.
He said there are crime and drug-related issues in the area.
“With Haven for Hope, it’s actually brought even more,” JR said.
So, he hopes the development of apartments and mixed-use retail space will bring more business to the area.
“We need more support for the area. We often don’t get heard. We’re often overlooked and we just need a lot of support, especially since the city put that there,” JR said.
On the opposite side, organizers like Robert Hernandez believe the potential apartment units should be public housing and affordable to people earning less than $30,000 a year.
“Poor people exist and it’s okay that they exist and they are hard workers. But even if they work hard, work two jobs, they can’t afford to rent,” Hernandez said.
VIA purchased the property back in 2017 with the intention of turning the area into a transportation hub.
“We’re developing it because it’s part of a transit community. It’s part of the combination of the headquarters building and the transit center, which serves, by the way, a million passenger trips a year. So it’s not insignificant,” VIA CEO Jeff Ardnt said.
In previous board meetings, VIA discussed making some apartment units affordable to people making less than $60,000, a portion of units at market rate and opening the building to commercial space.
VIA president and CEO Jeff Ardnt said nothing is set in stone just yet.
“We are not ironclad in any design, which is why we can meet today. Take into consideration other folks’ views and then work with them because Dream On is a developer, not VIA. And if a dream can’t make it work or can make it work, that’s going to be their decision,” Ardnt said.
Saturday’s meeting was an invite-only workshop and VIA said there will be other opportunities to give feedback.