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Community Renewal Good Stories - San Antonio

EZ Facility Bonds Redevelop San Antonio's Historic Downtown

San Antonio, Texas, EZ

The San Antonio EZ is working toward the issuance of $40 million in EZ facility bonds for redevelopment of the Alamo National Bank Building and the Aztec Theater, two historic landmark properties in the heart of downtown. Years in the making, this joint redevelopment project is an important addition to downtown San Antonio and the River Walk, one of Texas' largest tourist attractions.

The Alamo National Bank Building, a high-rise office building prominent in the downtown San Antonio skyline, will be converted into a 300-room Drury Plaza hotel, providing dining and retail opportunities along the banks of the River Walk. The Alamo National Bank Building redevelopment will also complete the now U-shaped River Walk pathway with an estimated $1.5 million in offsite river improvements. This highly anticipated connection will join the River Walk end points, known to bring unwitting visitors to a dead end at the river's flood gates. This continuous loop will encourage more foot traffic through the many venues for shopping, entertainment, and dining along the river.

The Aztec Theater, once considered a masterpiece of architectural and technological design, was a draw for thousands at its opening in 1926. Closed in 1989, the theater was slated for demolition, but was shielded by the efforts of the San Antonio Conservation Society. The theater will be restored from its currently dilapidated facade to a Meso-American themed family attraction. It will offer three-dimensional laser shows, a guided tour, and a trip back to 1926 with an authentic silent movie experience that transforms into a feature film with a giant state-of-the-art IWERKS® Extreme Screen and sound system.

The EZ facility bond inducement for this development was made possible through a boundary expansion approved by HUD. This project was competing for EZ bond financing with a convention center hotel that positions San Antonio nationally as a convention destination. With an additional $100 million allocated, the EZ was afforded the flexibility to move forward with all of the projects.

"San Antonio is characterized by its unique blend of history and progress," says Ramiro Cavazos, director of the economic development department. "This project is an exciting example of that business spirit in action."

For more information on the programs of the San Antonio EZ, contact Economic Development Manager Barbara Ankamah at (210) 207-8162, or visit the EZ Web site at www.sanantonio.gov/edd/empowersa.asp.