Restaurants, businesses hope to rejuvenate St. Paul Square
SAN ANTONIO - St. Paul square is a gem that sits just east of downtown San Antonio and it was once the home of many African American businesses.
"This is a great location," Tony Gradney said. "It's part of East Side San Antonio history, African American, history."
Gradney recently opened his restaurant, Tony G's Soul Food, in St. Paul Square.
"We wanted the business to be here on the East Side to employ people here on the East Side," he said.
He currently has 25 employees and receives incentives from the non-profit San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside for opening his business within the Promise Zone.
"For every job that they brought into the community, they got $10,000," District 2 Councilman Alan Warrick said.
He hopes incentives like those will continue to encourage businesses to expand to St. Paul Square and the East Side.
"It's really about getting all these spaces fully utilized and finding the right tenant that's the right fit," Warrick said.
The owner of Smoke said when he first moved into the area, only 37 percent of the spaces were leased. He said now it is up to 70 percent and he anticipates the occupancy levels to increase.
Warrick agreed. He said restaurants like Tony G's and Smoke, as well as, the University of Houston campus are some of the places contributing to the "rebirth" of this historic district.
"We also have Crockett Street Lofts that are moving in behind the Vidorra, as well, so that's going to be 250 mixed income units that are going to be right here next to downtown," the councilman explained.
Warrick said this area is a great alternative for those who want to experience a cool atmosphere and avoid the congestion of downtown.