The Echo Chamber: Echo East Development Makes Forward Progress at City Council A-Session

A-Session Photos by William Timmerman - Photographer, The San Antonio Sentinel. Renderings from City of SA website.

Article by: William Timmerman - Writer, The San Antonio Sentinel

The first issue voted upon at the May 9th City Council A-Session was a bid to widen South Foster Rd. to four lanes in order to meet the infrastructure needs of a new HEB distribution center. The Council Texas awarded $4.3 Million to Sterling Construction Company to begin the work. The vote was unanimous.

The council deliberates. (Photo by  William Timmerman  - Photographer, The San Antonio Sentinel)

The council deliberates. (Photo by William Timmerman - Photographer, The San Antonio Sentinel)

The Echo East development took a major step forward towards becoming a reality at this past Thursday’s City Council Meeting. While the project has the support of many within the Eastside community and has been approved by the city council during a February 2018 meeting, it still remains a fairly controversial topic for some city council members, with the most critical being Manny Pelaez of District 8. Palaez voiced his concern about the pace of the project during the meeting and was also the only dissenting vote. Despite his no vote, the rest of the council voted “no objection” to Echo East petitioning for the tax credits it needs from the State in order to start construction in earnest.

Rendering of proposed Echo East development. (Photo from City of SA  website .)

Rendering of proposed Echo East development. (Photo from City of SA website.)

As it is currently imagined, the development will be located on former city land in the AT&T Center area on Spriggsdale Avenue and Commerce St. and will partially consist of 211 affordable housing apartment units priced at 60% of the Area Median Income (AMI), as well as approximately 300 units at market rate. These market rate apartments will be combined with 25,000 square feet of retail space, providing the East Side with another mixed use space for small business to flourish. The mixed use space will be located on land given by the George Gervin Youth Center and will face Commerce Street. Construction will begin in September of 2019 and conclude in December 2020, according to current estimates.

Peter Zanoni (left) is honored at the A-Session by Clayton Perry (D10). (Photo by  William Timmerman  - Photographer, The San Antonio Sentinel)

Peter Zanoni (left) is honored at the A-Session by Clayton Perry (D10). (Photo by William Timmerman - Photographer, The San Antonio Sentinel)

While the contentious Echo East project was the major focus of the meeting, it was also a day of bittersweet celebration for Deputy City Manager Peter Zanoni. He accepted the role of City Manager of Corpus Christi, Texas and, to honor his long history of service to the city, Councilman Clayton Perry of District 10 gave him a new hat from Penners. Ray Saldana of District 4 jokingly suggested that Peter Zanoni should not wear the hat on his first Day in Corpus Christi on account of Peter’s “good head of hair,” ending the day on a jovial note.