Plan Framework and Implementation Priorities
The map below highlights the Focus Areas identified for the Port San Antonio Area Regional Center Area. To learn more about each of the six focus areas, click on the animated targeted circle.
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The focus areas within the Port San Antonio Area Regional Center were identified by the Planning Team and the community as areas that have capacity for growth and change due to their proximity to major highways, proximity to community amenities and large institutions, or location within areas planned for redevelopment. While each area is unique, they all present opportunities, given their location within the Regional Center, and share a goal of creating more active and walkable places where San Antonio residents can live, seek work and education opportunities, and enjoy different recreational activities.
Lackland Air Force Base and Port San Antonio are two large institutions and employers in the area and are expected to generate a significant amount of employment growth and an increased demand in housing stock. The six focus areas in this Regional Center are each unique in their own right, and were each identified for different reasons. Below is a general description of the vision for each focus area as well as amenities and public space goals specific to each one. Two of the focus areas were discussed in more detail with input from the Planning Team and key stakeholders during a digital design charrette exercise which focused on depicting future development and investment opportunities that would capture the vision for this Regional Center. Photo Simulations and 3D models were prepared to reflect input receiv during the digital design charrettes and to provide a lasting visualization of the vision for each place.
Recommendation #1Create quality mixed-use community destinations that are attractive to residents, businesses, and visitors, and that increase opportunities for residential, employment, and recreational uses to be established near one another throughout the Port San Antonio Area Regional Center, especially within the focus areas.
Recommendation #2Protect established, low-density single-family residential neighborhoods from potential unwanted impacts of new, more intense development, particularly within or near the focus areas.
Recommendation #3Prioritize projects that improve the safety and accessibility of the focus areas and that support transportation choices via a range of travel modes, including pedestrian, bicycle, and transit options.
Focus Area #1: U.S. Highway 90
This focus area is immediately south of U.S. Highway 90 and includes property located both west and east of Loop 410. The area west of Loop 410 is within the Stablewood Farms Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ #10).East of the US Highway 90 and Loop 410 interchange, the focus area includes an apartment complex and mobile home park, the campus with Baptist Child and Family Services, Baptist Children’s Home, San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drugs, and Southwest Texas Regional Advisory Council (STRAC). The far eastern end of the focus area also includes the commercial uses on the southwest corner of the interchange of U.S. Highway 90 and Military Drive.
Residents at Stablewood Farms, the existing apartment complex, and the mobile home park, as well as clients of the existing campus focused on serving and providing support for children and adults, would all benefit from the vision for this area which focuses on pedestrian connectivity and integration of open space and parks into new development in this area where feasible.
The vision for the Highway 90 Focus Area is to realize an Institution/Campus Mixed-Use place-type that enhances existing business operations and uses, while providing an environment that encourages connectivity between new development and the Springvale and Valley Hi neighborhoods.
Recommended character defining features include public art and wayfinding signage that will enhance this focus area, provide gateway definition for the Regional Center as a whole, and support streetscape improvements along the major arterials, U.S. Highway 90 and Loop 410. These streetscape features will enable adequate access to priority cross-street and neighborhood connections on Loop 410 and between the residences east of Loop 410 and adjacent tracts of land. This added connectivity will improve pedestrian access throughout the focus area and improve access opportunities for the identified prioritized redevelopment area located west of Loop 410 along Crooked Trail. Although enhanced connectivity along thoroughfares is essential, it is also crucial to provide additional recreation opportunities by adding trail connections to existing open green spaces. This will preserve and bring attention to the natural features that exist within the Regional Center.
Focus Area #2: 36th Street
This area is adjacent to the Lackland runway, has several industrial and commercial businesses operating on the southwest corner of the intersection of U.S. Highway 90 and 36th Street and along 36th Street. To the far east of the focus area, east of El Jardin are existing single-family homes interspersed with several vacant and undeveloped residential lots. The area immediately west of 36th Street is envisioned to be both light industrial and commercial uses, while further west is envisioned to be developed with only light industrial uses. Immediately east of 36th Street, the properties are currently commercial and anticipated to remain so as the area continues to develop in the future. The properties between El Jardin and 35th Street are envisioned to be neighborhood mixed-use that allow for residential uses and opportunities for smaller scale retail. This will serve as the transition between commercial uses along 36th Street and the residential neighborhood further east. East of 35th Street is envisioned to be low-density residential uses, which aligns with the existing residential uses in this area. The 36th Street Focus Area has the potential to serve more than local residents and businesses within this Regional Center, as 36th Street extends north beyond this Regional Center and connects directly to neighborhoods north of U.S. Highway 90, in the Westside Community Plan area.
The vision of the 36th Street focus area is to incorporate a mix of uses with mobility options that make one of the main entrances to Port San Antonio an active corridor that is accessible for residents, employees, and visitors. This focus area should include uses that are compatible with operations at the runway, while also complementary to businesses at Port San Antonio. The properties between El Jardin and 35th Street have infill opportunities that could consist of both housing and smaller scale retail services.
As this focus area adapts to allow for a neighborhood mixeduse center between El Jardin and 35th Street, it is crucial to provide trail connections throughout the existing residential neighborhood and repurpose vacant lots within the neighborhood as new park and open spaces, specifically along Growdon Road and Southwest 34th Street. To provide connectivity from these amenities located east of Southwest 36th Street to the western portion of the focus area, there should be an emphasis on incorporating streetscape improvements along the Highway 90 frontage and Southwest 36th Street, while also considering alternatives through any of the parcels southwest of the intersection of U.S. Highway 90 and 36th Street if such opportunities arise. The intersection of U.S. Highway 90 and Southwest 36th Street serves as the gateway to this focus area; incorporating street trees and adding sidewalks or increasing the width of sidewalks will improve access to and from the Regional Center and support pedestrian and bicycle activity. Signage and wayfinding features that establish character definition are envisioned at the U.S. Highway 90 and Southwest 36th Street intersection, and although public art currently exists in the form of detailed concrete art along the side of the overpass bridge, public art could be further enhanced along this entry point to Port San Antonio.
The western half of the focus area consists of a large amount of vacant or underutilized properties. As light industrial and commercial uses are developed on these properties, this provides an opportunity to further increase walkability and connectivity by incorporating a grid pattern and avoiding the creation of super blocks. Streetscape improvements along these streets and trail connections along Growdon Road will ensure pedestrian comfort and usability.
A significant number of employees, businesses, visitors, and residents are anticipated to access Port San Antonio via this focus area, given its location just south of U.S. Highway 90. It is one of three main gateways to Port San Antonio and it contains a large amount of underutilized land. Thus, it was identified as an area that could make a substantial impact in how the vision for this Regional Center is represented in the built environment.
The future land use map has two designations with the Light Industrial land use designation for the most western portion of the area west of 36th Street that sits closer to the runway. For the properties closer to 36th Street, the land use designation is Employment/Flex Mixed-Use. There is an existing cabinetry warehouse and fiberglass operation that consists of multiple larger buildings of an industrial nature. Due to the proximate location to the runway, it is anticipated that the vacant land west of the cabinetry warehouse and Alamo Aircraft is developed with more industrial buildings and/or warehouses.
Immediately east of 36th Street, there are smaller sized lots compared to the lots located west of 36th Street. Although the lots east of 36th Street are smaller in size, there are several more businesses operating on this half of the street compared to the west. El Jardin Road is immediately behind those businesses and there are many residential lots that are currently either vacant or are underutilized. Some of the residential lots have existing homes, however, there currently appears to be more vacant lots than there are lots with occupied homes. After obtaining input from the Planning Team regarding development opportunities within this focus area, a visual rendering was prepared depicting different housing product types that could be developed east of 36th Street. Higher density residential product types are desired closer to 36th Street and should decrease in density and scale further east in this focus area. See Figures 4 and 5.
Focus Area #3: Innovation Hub
Port San Antonio is redeveloping the former military base into a technology and innovation campus that is highly specialized – particularly in cybersecurity, aerospace, defense, logistics, and manufacturing. Port San Antonio has plans to develop this Innovation Hub area with a mixture of uses including an e-sports arena that will be managed by ASM Global, a K-12 Compass Rose charter school, and commercial and office uses. All of these amenities in one central location will make the Innovation Hub Focus Area the main destination and activity center within Port San Antonio. With an e-sports arena within the Innovation Hub, Port San Antonio anticipates a high volume of visitors to this area, which would create a demand for amenities and services that together would create an inviting environment for both visitors and workers within the Port San Antonio Area Regional Center.
The vision for the Innovation Hub Focus Area is to encourage an active pedestrian-focused center that integrates landscaping and connectivity into planned public and private common spaces. Prioritizing pedestrians into the development of this focus area will create an inviting core activity center that connects the community, educators, and the technology industry. A multi-use trail running along 36th Street on the western edge of the Innovation Hub could connect to planned routes that ultimately lead to Pearsall Park, a park that is over 500 acres and located just outside of the boundaries of this Regional Center.
Redevelopment plans of the Innovation Hub make this focus area one of the key components of the Regional Center and Port San Antonio. Creating an identity that is unique to the Innovation Hub will enhance the experience for visitors. These features include incorporating public art and signage and wayfinding at most major intersections and each proposed park and open space. These will also provide directional guidance for visitors in the area.
The streetscape improvements along a portion of Billy Mitchell Boulevard, General Hudnell Drive, and a portion of Wagner Drive create a streetscape that is aesthetically pleasing. Shaded environments will increase walkability within this focus area and encourage visitors to explore and access the area by other modes of transportation besides an automobile. It will also increase connectivity and usability of the proposed plazas. The exhibits for this focus area depict potential locations of developmental elements that would make this area more appealing and pedestrian friendly. The precise locations for these elements could change depending on any future changes to Port San Antonio’s development plans for the area.
Focus Area #4: Old Pearsall Road
The properties southwest of the intersection of Old Pearsall Road and Military Drive are located across from Pearsall Park, which is one of the largest parks in the City with numerous dynamic passive and active recreational opportunities, such as a splash pad for children, basketball courts, a skate park, fitness courses and equipment, and art installations, to name a few. There are existing businesses located immediately off Old Pearsall Road and a CPS Energy substation north of the Holm Road and Old Pearsall Road intersection.
On the northerly side of the Old Pearsall Road Focus Area is Military Drive. Military Drive runs along the entire length of the Regional Center study area and bisects Lackland Air Force Base. Lackland Air Force Base surrounds Military Drive on both sides for over 1.5 miles up to the Military Drive and Five Palms Drive intersection that is located northwest of this focus area. Immediately south of the Military Drive and Five Palms Drive intersection, opposite of the Air Force Base property, are a number of small scale commercial establishments and apartment complexes. Beyond the commercial and apartment complexes are many single-family neighborhoods. This diverse set of frontages along Military Drive positions it well to be a gateway to a number of uses across the Regional Center, and in particular, at this entry point to the focus area.
The northern and western boundaries of the focus area start at the West Military Drive and Whitewood Drive intersection with a small segment extending along West Military Drive up to the intersection of West Military Drive and Merry Oaks Drive to capture potential streetscape improvement opportunities. Lackland Air Force Base is located immediately across this segment of Military Drive. East of Whitewood Street, south of West Military Drive are apartment complexes, a children’s learning center, and a food mart. There are also business operations such as a barber shop, a food establishment, a night club, an auto repair shop, and a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) facility within that immediate area. Despite the numerous residential and commercial operations abutting Whitewood Drive and Military Drive, the majority of the focus area is currently undeveloped and vacant. It is believed that portions of this focus area were previously part of a closed landfill, a likely reason why the majority of this focus area has remained undeveloped.
This focus area has the potential to serve as a transition between the predominantly single family residential uses to the west and Pearsall Park to the east. Designating land uses that include different residential product types and densities, as well as commercial uses, this transition area will integrate positive elements of urban design and provide pedestrian and bicycle access through the focus area, safely linking residents to Pearsall Park. Encouraging a mix of uses in this focus area will not only serve the local residents but it could also become an additional attraction for visitors to Pearsall Park, especially if this focus area incorporates retail establishments, some eateries, and a plaza into its future development that welcomes the public.
The vision for the Old Pearsall Road Focus Area is to leverage its proximity to Pearsall Park with development oriented to Pearsall Park. Neighborhood pedestrian and bicycle connections along identified priority connections to Military Drive, Old Pearsall Road, and Holm Road would help create an environment that better connects residents to Pearsall Park. All properties within this focus area have been designated as Urban Mixed-Use on the future land use map, providing flexibility for future development to accommodate a mix of residential, commercial, and institutional uses.
The rural state of Old Pearsall Road and Medina Base Road should be preserved in a thoughtful way with streetscape improvements along the roadway. Streetscape improvements will add wide sidewalks while preserving the natural vegetation and increasing the tree canopy and sidewalk shade for pedestrians and bicyclists. These features provide opportunities to access Pearsall Park directly and safely by alternative modes of transportation while also providing new connectivity for residents in this focus area to Pearsall Park. Incorporating improved street lighting and signage and wayfinding will not only complement the streetscape improvements and create a safer environment for pedestrians and bicyclists, but it also increases safety and visibility for vehicular traffic.
Although Pearsall Park is directly outside the focus area and Regional Center, it is a City-wide amenity that should be highlighted. Incorporating public art to the entrance of the park will create character and add significance and grandeur to the park. As the vacant parcels in the focus area are developed there should be different roadway connections that ultimately lead to Old Pearsall Road and provide direct access to the park at a few different entrances. Public open space opportunities were identified within the new development area to build on the presence of a regional park.
A diagrammatic sequence was prepared to illustrate the existing condition of the focus area as well as the potential placement of buildings that implements the vision. (See Figures 8 and 9). The color palette for the buildings denotes a range andof intensity of uses. Volumes in yellow represent lower density housing, those in light orange would permit urban low density scale housing, orange massing would allow for vertical and horizonal high density residential uses, and those in red signify community and regional scale land uses. Smaller scale commercial immediately south of Military Drive would further enhance retail and services provided for residents in the nearby neighborhoods.
Focus Area #5: Valley Hi Drive Mixed-Use Corridor
Valley Hi Drive runs east to west and is one of the major locations in the Regional Center for residents and visitors to go to for dining, grocery shopping, and other commercial and retail services. Most current development along the corridor is single- or two-story buildings. Residents frequently travel to Valley Hi Drive because the commercial strip includes an HEB, numerous restaurants and drive-thrus, a fitness center, retail stores, financial institutions, and other commercial services. The HEB store off Valley Hi Drive is one of only two major grocery stores in the Regional Center. In addition to patronage by the local residents, Valley Hi Drive is also a destination for families and friends visiting Lackland Air Force Base for weekly graduations.
The corridor has sidewalks on both sides and there are VIA transit stops located on both sides of the street that are well-utilized. There are also pedestrian crossings across the Valley Hi Drive overpass crossing Loop 410, and at the Cedarhurt Drive and Springvale Drive intersections. However, with limited landscaping along the street and many curb cuts, the pedestrian environment could be improved. Valley Hi Drive continues into Lackland Air Force Base and turns into Truemper Street on the Air Force Base property. One of the main gate entrances to the base is located immediately east of Springvale Drive. All of the properties north and south and immediately adjacent to Valley Hi Drive are designated Urban Mixed-Use to accommodate the potential for vertical mixed-use development in the future so that this area continues to serve as the primary location for eateries, commercial establishments, retail services, and potentially additional hospitality and entertainment for residents and visitors. Given its immediate adjacency to one of the main entrances to Lackland Air Force Base, it is a convenient and desirable location to create multiple modal options to and through the corridor, to encourage future development that includes a variety of uses, and to provide a streetscape that is inviting for pedestrians and bicyclists so that it becomes more vibrant and lively.
Valley Hi Drive should make the most of the significant amount of business its establishments receive from both local residents and visitors. The area should plan for potential new investments as a mixed-use corridor and as the demand increases with more patronage of businesses along Valley Hi Drive, the streetscape should be improved to enhance the pedestrian experience with elements such as vegetative landscaping, including trees, reducing the amount of curb cuts where possible to improve pedestrian safety, and considering bicycle facilities to improve mobility options that could potentially alleviate vehicular traffic conditions.
Valley Hi Drive is a vital destination commercial center for residents and visitors in the Regional Center, and it was identified as an area with great redevelopment potential to further build upon its role as one of the main locations for businesses, retail, restaurants, and potentially entertainment options. Currently, the area between Loop 410 and Springvale Drive has the feel of a typical strip shopping center, with HEB being the main anchor store that brings customers to the shopping center. The vision for this area is to transform it into a mixed-use corridor that embraces walkability, encourages use of public transit, and incorporates more public space and urban design considerations. Please note that while these examples are aspirational, other designs and concepts could achieve similar results with respect to enlivening the streetscape and creating a similar environment.
Building heights could be increased to be multiple stories and still be compatible with operations at Lackland Air Force Base. Hospitality uses including a movie theater and entertainment center adjacent to Loop 410 will serve both area residents as well as families and friends of military personnel, students, and graduates coming to this area year-round. Vertical mixed-use that includes retail, commercial, and businesses on the ground floor, with residential above would also make this mixed-use corridor more active during all hours of the day. More multi-family residential options and possibly a community park could also be included north of Valley High Drive, and would serve as appropriate transitions between the envisioned higher intensity of uses along Valley High Drive and the apartment complexes along Springvale Drive and single-family residential units further north and off Springvale Drive. See Figures 10 and 11.
Focus Area #6: General McMullen Drive Mixed-Use Corridor
General McMullen Drive is another main entry point that leads to Port San Antonio. It is an active arterial that connects neighborhoods north of U.S. Highway 90 in the Westside Community Plan area to the Thompson community. Immediately south of the intersection of U.S. Highway 90 and General McMullen Drive is a large lumber yard and an old, abandoned amusement park. Continuing along General McMullen Drive there are multiple food establishments, a church, a sports bar, a self-storage facility, and a gas station and corner store. General McMullen Drive has a wide variety of businesses and residential product types in the vicinity. The neighborhoods surrounding this active street include senior centers, apartment complexes, a mobile home park, and many single family neighborhoods. South of this envisioned mixed-use corridor, General McMullen Drive continues and ultimately leads to the innovation hub focus area, which is within the Port San Antonio redevelopment area.
This corridor is already an active area due to the wide mix of uses that currently exist and would simply benefit from enhancing and amenitizing that mix of uses. Since it connects directly to the area that Port San Antonio has planned for an e-sports arena and a charter school, and also connects directly to residential units within Port San Antonio, the General McMullen Drive Mixed-use Corridor is anticipated to experience more activity as Port San Antonio continues to redevelop. The vision for this corridor is to create a seamless connection between the existing neighborhoods and businesses to Port San Antonio as it continues to redevelop. See Figure 12.