A look at San Antonio’s growth, from housing to roadways

SAN ANTONIO — San Antonio tops the list as one of the fastest growing cities in the country. According to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2016-2017, an average of 66 people were moving to the city per day. Different local and state agencies are working to accommodate that growth, including the Texas Department of Transportation.

A number of projects are underway that will help traffic congestion and create safer roadways. TxDOT spokesperson for the San Antonio area, Hernan Rozemberg, said the agency is planning years in advance. He shared how the Texas transportation commission just approved a large chunk of funding for projects.

“We understand that just by adding more lanes isn’t going to be the cure-all. But that’s something we can do on our end. The Texas Transportation Commission just approved $75 billion dollars over the next 10 years to ease congestion. As part of that, there’s also Texas Clear Lanes initiative. That’s looking specifically congestion in the 5 major metro areas including San Antonio,” said Rozemberg.

Currently, one of the major projects is on 281 north from 1604 to Borgfeld. It’s in phase one but once it’s completed, drivers will see a completed freeway. A major project for 2021 will impact 1604. Rozemberg said the goal is to tie the entire 1604 corridor.

“From Bandera out here on the northwest side to 35 on the northeast side. There’s funding available for a portion of that. That’s going to be expanding from 4 lanes you see now, 2 on each side to 10 total. That’s going to be going from Bandera highway 16 to Redland road,” he said.

KENS 5 spoke with Missy Stagers, owner of Missy Stagers Realty Partners who has more than 20 years of experience in real estate. We wanted to find out where new residents are finding homes. According to home sales in Bexar County up to December 2018, she said buyers are purchasing homes across the San Antonio area.

“It’s amazing that all of the sales aren’t north anymore. Inner city is growing, south of town is growing, west is very popular and east is very popular,” said Stagers. “If they want new homes though, they’re having to go out to Medina County, Kendall County, or Comal county just because of the growth of San Antonio."

New residents, Anthony and Danielle Bower, moved to San Antonio from Kansas. They found a home on the far west side. They looked at schools first and then, found a home in that area.

"It’s much like the Midwest. Everybody here is friendly," said Anthony. "We looked at the schools, great school ratings."

"When you come down to it, you want to afford what you’re buying and if you can’t, you don’t want to house poor. We were very conservative when we were purchasing a home," said Danielle.

Stagers said it’s difficult to find a home under 200 thousand dollars. She said that price will get a buyer about 11 hundred square feet. She said currently, the east side is the most affordable.

“There’s not much in the middle you can find unless you go downtown, and buy an 85-year-old home. You’ve got to go west or east,” she said.

KENS 5 spoke with east side resident Denise Gutierrez who has witnessed the growth for decades. Her concern is how it’s affecting current residents. Gutierrez who lives on Mason street saw her land value increase by 332 percent and her property value increase by 63 percent since 2015. She said she paid $10,696.14 in taxes last year.

“Some people are actually having to pay more in taxes than they are for mortgage,” said Gutierrez. “Unfortunately we have a lot neighbors in our area that are dealing with too much increase in taxes. We’re fortunate but at the same time, my neighbors are not. We have over 30 people in our neighborhood who are displaced and are in the process of moving out right now.”

San Antonio Neighborhood and Housing Services is addressing housing issues in the city in various ways. The agency is responsible for housing policy and production. Veronica Soto, the director of the department, said this year, the city has made big investments in housing.

“A lot of that investment, $17 million of new general fund money went to our existing programs that have showed success in the past to preserve affordable housing that currently exists to ensure we have more home-buyers so that we increase home ownership,” said Soto.

The department has also been implementing recommendations laid out by the Mayor’s Housing Policy Task Force. The goal is to increase investment, housing production, and preservation. One of the ways San Antonio Neighborhood and Housing Services is addressing displacement is by getting input from the community on how to use funding.

“We’re starting by what we call a risk mitigation policy where the city did create a 1 million dollar fund and we went to the community starting back in August. And said: we have this fund, what’s the best way to use it? We really listened,” said Soto. “We’re probably going to have another large community meeting to say this is how we would like to utilize the fund, here’s our policy. So, it will impact displacement, relocation, and what are the standards we want to have.”

Soto said she believes the work the city is doing now will pivot San Antonio away from a housing crisis.

“I think we’re equipped to handle that growth. Are there are going to be growing pains? Yes. But I think we’re equipped to handle the growth. San Antonio is a great city to live in and it still remains an affordable city compared to other places in the city,” she said.

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Boy, 6, electrocuted while playing at TX food truck park

LAREDO, TX (KGNS/Gray News) – A 6-year-old is in critical condition after touching part of a food truck and getting electrocuted, KGNS reports.

According to the Laredo Fire Department, two boys were playing with a ball Friday evening at the Streats Food Truck Park in Laredo, TX. One of the boys, a 6-year-old, somehow touched part of a food truck that was electrically charged and was electrocuted instantly.

When Laredo EMS personnel arrived, the boy showed no signs of life, but medics were able to revive him.

The 6-year-old was airlifted to a San Antonio hospital, where he remains in critical condition.

The area where the incident happened is out of Laredo’s jurisdiction, but the city’s fire department responded because they say waiting for the Webb County Fire Department would have delayed the immediate attention the boy needed.

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The Preiss Company Acquires 288-Bed Student Housing Community Serving University of Texas – San Antonio

SAN ANTONIO, TX – Officials of The Preiss Company (TPCO), one of the nation’s largest, privately-held, student housing owner-operators, along with Centaline Investment Management Co., a diversified platform with 13 divisions, offering professional advisory and transactional services for real estate investments and financial planning, announced the acquisition of The Estates at San Antonio. Located at 6515 Hausman Road, the 288-bed, 58-building complex is comprised of 104 units in cottage-style, two-story buildings and is less than two miles from the University of Texas – San Antonio (UTSA).

The Estates at San Antonio feature a variety of layouts, including two-bedroom/2.5 bath, three-bedroom/3.5 bath and four-bedroom/4/5 bath units. TPCO will manage the property.

"We remain bullish on the Texas university marketplace and are pleased to add our first student housing community serving the UTSA market,” said Adam Byrley, chief operating officer. “This marks our seventh community in the I-35 Corridor between Austin and San Marcos, creating numerous economies of scale and the ability to share best practices. Following its multi-million refurbishment, we are confident that The Estates at San Antonio will take its rightful place as the market leader.”

With an average size of 1,712 square feet, each unit provides a first-floor powder room, granite tile kitchen countertops, stained concrete flooring, modern light fixtures, full-size washer & dryer and patio/balcony. Additional community amenities include a large, resort-style pool, sand volleyball court, private campus shuttle, grilling/picnic stations and 24-hour fitness center.

The property is within biking distance to all university classrooms and athletic facilities, as well as a large offering of nearby retail and restaurant outlets.

“With enrollment of more than 30,500 students, UTSA is well on its way to becoming a Tier 1 University,” noted Donna Preiss, founder and CEO, TPCO. “Since making it their goal to achieve this status, the university has increased research spending by 97 percent, provided numerous nationally ranked programs, expanded multiple campus learning facilities and substantially improved the academic prowess of students attracted to UTSA. Between the plan’s implementation in 2007 and fall 2017, first-time freshman applications increased by more than 5,000 applicants annually, and the first-time freshman acceptance rates fell by 13 percent.”

The Estates at San Antonio shortly will begin a multi-million refurbishment program focusing on the clubhouse and amenity spaces.

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America’s Got talent auditions to be held in San Antonio

Auditions for the 14th season of America’s Got Talent will be coming to San Antonio on Friday.

The hit, reality talent show is conducting auditions in eight cities across the country, and will be at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on Jan. 11 looking for its next star.

According to the show’s website, doors will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and photo ID is required for everyone who enters the venue.

For more information on the audition process, visit the AGT auditions website here.

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Erin Caraway • San Antonio, TX

The Erin Caraway Group is a team of real estate professionals dedicated to the success of your needs before, during, and after your real estate transaction. Whether buying, selling, or investing in New Braunfels, Seguin, San Antonio, or the surrounding areas; The Erin Caraway Group is your Central Texas real estate and home source.

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Indoor and Outdoor Adventures in San Antonio This December

Attraction Slideshow: Things to Do in December

Life doesn’t get any more enjoyable in San Antonio than in the month of December. While most other major cities are suffering a frigid winter, San Antonio citizens are frolicking outside in the sunshine, often in shorts and t-shirts. Here’s your chance to join them!

There are dozens of fantastic places to go for some outdoor adventures, but few are as pretty as Enchanted Rock. Although, it’s a bit of a jaunt from the city, it’s worth the trip. Hike up to the top, bring a picnic, and get ready for an unforgettable view of Texas in all its natural glory.

However, if you want to stay close to the city, not far from downtown, you can visit the Japanese Tea Garden. This beautiful wonderland features koi-filled ponds, stone bridges and gorgeous flowers. A romantic spot for a first winter date.

For some nightlife adventures, take that special date or a group of friends to the Alamo City’s premier jazz club, Jazz, TX, for live music, craft cocktails and incredible eats. As they say, "fine jazz, serious food."

The holiday season just got better!

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San Antonio tops national list in population gain; Houston growth is sluggish

Pushing past the 1.5 million mark, San Antonio grew more than any other city in the country last year, while Houston barely experienced any growth overall.

Meanwhile, Texas suburbs once again topped the list of fastest-growing cities in the nation, according to population estimates released Thursday by the Census Bureau. With just 177,286 residents, Frisco — which ranked as the nation’s fastest-growing city — easily outpaced the state’s biggest city in population gain from July 2016 to July 2017.

Frisco, north of Dallas, had a net gain of 13,470 residents. Houston, which clocks out at 2.3 million residents, only grew by an estimated 8,235.

The sluggish overall growth in Houston and some of the state’s other big cities relative to explosive growth in the suburbs underscored the migratory story of Texas in recent years as large cities continue to buckle under housing demands and suburban development.

The mostly downward trend in population gains isn’t limited to Houston; Austin’s net gain of residents has also steadily decreased since 2014.

But nowhere has it been as significant as in Houston — an outcome that’s likely attributed to the downturn in petroleum industry activity and ongoing outward pressure into the suburbs, said state demographer Lloyd Potter. (The time period covered by the newly released Census estimates doesn’t reflect any displacement from Hurricane Harvey, which didn’t hit Houston and other parts of the Texas coast until August 2017.)

That slow down in growth has also been reflected at the county level in Harris County — home to Houston — which in 2016 lost its eight-year long claim to the largest annual gain in residents in the country.

Notably, Fort Worth — which has maintained a more steady annual population gain — surpassed Indianapolis, Indiana, to become the 15th-largest city in the nation. Of the state’s biggest five cities, Fort Worth also grew the fastest from 2016 to 2017.

For years, Texas suburbs have been battling it out at the top of the list of fastest-growing cities. Led by Frisco, half of the top 10 fastest-growing cities in the country in 2017 — among cities with a population of 50,000 or more — were located in Texas.

With an 8.2 percent increase in population, Frisco’s population grew from 163,816 in 2016 to 177,286 in 2017. New Braunfels — located between San Antonio and Austin — ranked as the country’s second-fastest-growing city. And Pflugerville, north of Austin, came in third.

Conroe, which topped the national list last year, didn’t even make it onto the list of the 10 fastest-growing cities in the state. Its population continued to increase, but its annual growth rate dropped from 7.8 percent in 2016 to 3.4 percent in 2017.

Read related Tribune coverage:

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50 years later, Fair Housing Act still relevant

San Antonio continues to be one of the hottest real estate markets in the United States. With a growing population and increased opportunities attracting job seekers from across the nation, buying a home continues to be the single best investment an individual can make.

According to the National Association of Realtors annual “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” first-time buyers made up 34 percent of the national market in 2017. The Texas Association of Realtors annual “Homebuyers and Sellers Report” found that in Texas “the share of first-time homebuyers increased from 30 percent to 32 percent.”

If you purchase an older home in one of San Antonio’s established neighborhoods, however, there’s a chance you’ll come across an ugly vestige of our city’s history in the closing process. That’s because the records for some homes contain decades-old racial, ethnic or religious deed restrictions.

These discriminatory restrictions were intended to keep certain groups — blacks, Hispanics, Jews and others — from living in some areas of the city. “No lot, tract, or resubdivision therof ,” reads one such restriction, “shall ever be sold, leased, demised or conveyed by deed, lease, gift or otherwise to Mexicans, Negroes, or persons of either Latin American or African descent.”

The U.S. Supreme Court rendered such shocking deed restrictions unenforceable by state and local courts in 1948. In practice, they continued in many places across the nation until the signing of the Fair Housing Act in 1968.

Throughout 2018, Realtors in San Antonio and across the nation are commemorating the 50th anniversary of this landmark legislation that prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status and national origin. We are also using the anniversary as an opportunity to raise public awareness about the continued importance of issues related to fair housing.

At the heart of our mission as Realtors is building community. In carrying out that mission, we are committed to upholding fair housing laws and offering equal professional service to everyone in search of a home or property.

NAR has a long-standing commitment to educating its members about the importance of inclusive housing practices and the promotion of diverse homeownership. As part of the yearlong recognition of the significance of the Fair Housing Act, NAR will be examining fair housing issues and advocating changes to the act that will include prohibitions of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

We can’t erase ugly deed restrictions from our county records, nor should we want to do so. Instead, we can learn from the mistakes of the past and use them as the basis for building a better future for our community. That’s why in 2018, NAR and its members are focusing on the organization’s changing role in fair housing, how the nation can improve its commitment to fair housing and the ways Realtors can lead efforts to address fair housing policy issues.

In 1968, the Fair Housing Act opened the door of home ownership to millions of Americans — including many here in San Antonio — who had previously been locked out of an essential part of the American dream. Fifty years later, Realtors are opening the door wider and continuing the fight for fair housing.

Lorena Peña is chair of the board of the San Antonio Board of Realtors.

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Apartment occupancy finally on the rise in San Antonio and in other Texas metros – San Antonio Business Journal

After apartment occupancies have steadily fallen nearly every month since September, the warm weather has brought out renters.

For the first time in six months, apartment occupancy was on the rise in San Antonio, moving up 50 basis points to end April with 89.6 percent occupancy, according to the latest ApartmentData.com report. The average price of an apartment also increased for the third month in a row, ending April at $923 per month, up from March’s $920 per month.

Just one new apartment complex came on board in April and the average size of an apartment fell by one square foot to 849 square feet. While rental rate growth since last April has only increased by 0.7 percent, 4,893 units have been absorbed since April 2017.

April ended with 24 multifamily communities still under construction, representing 6,242 units, and 27 communities having been proposed, representing 7,875 units. That is unchanged since last month. In the last 12 months, 31 communities have opened, accounting for 7,747 total new units on the market.

While San Antonio’s apartment occupancy still sits below 90 percent, management companies may be feeling bullish for this season’s new crop of summer renters, as concessions across the board fell in April. Total concessions fell by 2 percent in San Antonio from 44 percent to 42 percent of all units offering concessions, while Class A concessions fell by 1 percent, Class B units fell by 2 percent, Class C product fell by nearly 200 units, leaving the percentage unchanged, and Class D units offering concessions fell a whopping 8 percent.

The other three major metros in Texas saw similar occupancy results for April, as every market witnessed an increase in occupancy and a rise in average price per month. While Houston leads all major Texas markets in rental rate growth over the past year, 5.3 percent of 14,699 units absorbed, Austin remains the only major market with a negative absorption rate, negative 1.1 percent, with 7,957 units absorbed.

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Texan Bank CEO Appointed to Texas Southern University Board of Regents – San Antonio Business Journal

HOUSTON, April 25, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Texan Bank announces appointment of CEO to Board of Regents of a prestigious Houston area university.

The Governor of Texas Greg Abbott has appointed Texan Bank’s Chief Executive Officer Kenny Koncaba to the Board of Regents for a term to expire on February 1, 2023. "I sincerely appreciate Governor Abbott appointing me to the Texas Southern University (TSU) Board of Regents. TSU is a dynamic institution of higher learning, and I look forward to serving TSU students, faculty, and administration into the future," stated Koncaba.

Koncaba also serves as a Director on the Board of Innovative Alternatives, as well as the Friendswood Education Foundation Board. He is a former gubernatorial appointee to the Texas Housing and Health Services Coordinating Council and the Board of Pilot Commissioners for Galveston County Ports.

About Texan Bank
Based in Houston TX, Texan Bank is a full-service, local community bank offering business and personal banking with four locations across Houston, Sugar Land, Clear Lake, and Friendswood. Purchased in 2011 by Friendswood Capital Corporation, Texan Bank serves its communities through doing business the right way and inspiring employees through servant leadership.

For more information, visit www.texanbank.com.

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