New projects breathing life into East Side

Funding, incentive programs boosting development

By Courtney Friedman - VJ, Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - Change is coming for a side of town that some say in past years has lost its enthusiasm and vibrance.

Life-long San Antonian Janie Gonzales supports any growth that will bring those things back to the East Side.

"I can see the difference already because I've worked in the area for about 35 years," Gonzales said.

Leading the revitilization efforts is Jackie Gorman, executive director of San Antonio for Growth on the East Side.

At Wednesday's meeting with city-wide organizations, she went over several current East Side projects.

Crews have been working on the East Side Alamo Beer Company site for a while now. It's finally about to start brewing beer next week and should be open to the public by December. The Cherry Street Urban Homes on the corner of Cherry and Burnett are also about finished.

As for the projects just getting started, crews will soon break ground on the Old Merchants Ice Warehouse on Houston and turn it into brand new Ice House Lofts. Then, the Red Berry Mansion on Gembler Road by the AT&T Center will be transformed into an entire community of its own.

"Over both phases, we're talking about 300,000 feet of commercial and retail and medical office space. We're talking a little over 600 units of multi-family housing," Gorman said.

They are big plans met with big new funding opportunities.

"One of them, which I got to announce today, is the partnership with SAGE and Accion Texas. Accion will be offering small loans for East Side businesses," Gorman said. Those small loans are anywhere from $500 to $250,000. Any loans larger than that can be met with the Grow Eastside Fund.

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