Impoverished Community Designated by President Obama for Promise Zone Initiative
Once a thriving, predominately African-American community, the Eastside of San Antonio, TX has seen its share of hard times. Through the efforts of local civic leaders, organizations and businesses, like KAI Texas, the underserved neighborhood is making a comeback.
In 2014, President Barack Obama announced the selection of the Eastside of San Antonio as one of the first five Promise Zones, a national place-based initiative designed to revitalize distressed neighborhoods through job creation, increased economic activity, education opportunities and reduced violent crime.
The Eastside neighborhood consists of 22 square miles immediately east of downtown San Antonio. According to a 2015 US Census, the Eastside has 81,168 residents, 10.1% unemployment, 30.9% poverty and 29.4% of residents over age 25 who do not have a high school diploma.
According to information provided by the City of San Antonio, the Promise Zone is a 10-year federal designation that does not come with federal funding, but provides federal staff support to connect local leaders with resources, five AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, technical assistance and preferred access or extra points on various federal funding streams, and business hiring tax credits/incentives. The Eastside Promise Zone currently has about $90 million in federal grants managed by various San Antonio-based organizations, such as the United Way of San Antonio, Bexar County and the San Antonio Housing Authority.
KAI has proudly participated in four major projects that are transforming the Eastside Promise Zone for the better.
“KAI embraces working with local neighbors and community residents, as well as our clients, to deliver projects that are truly reflective of the needs of the assignment and the needs for the area. In the four transformative projects that KAI worked on, I was proud of my team’s participation in community forums and charrettes in delivering new spaces and facilities that will serve the Eastside and make the community more vibrant in the future,” said Darren L. James, AIA, President & COO of KAI’s affiliate office in Texas.
The Eastside Promise Zone projects include:
KAI completed design for an $11.5 million addition and renovation to the historic Sam Houston High School. The school is located at 4635 East Houston Street. KAI provided architecture and IT/data engineering on the project. KAI has subsequently been selected for an additional $24M renovation to Sam Houston High School to serve the growing enrollment and better serve the students with flexible and technologically advanced learning spaces for the current and future students.
Opened in January 2018, the $5 million, 13,850-square-foot health center is located at 919 Locke Street. The clinic features 20 exam rooms, two multi-purpose community-focused training rooms and the associated support spaces programmed and designed specifically for the health needs of the community. KAI provided architecture and MEP engineering on the project.
This 218 mixed-income apartment community attracts new families who work at nearby Fort Sam Houston and Downtown San Antonio. KAI designed the two- and three-story apartment buildings with a combination of 1, 2, 3 and 4 bedroom units. The exterior aesthetic combined various traditional San Antonio residential characteristics. The buildings are designed to blend seamlessly into the character of San Antonio and create a community, as opposed to a defined housing project. The $41.7 million development, located within walking distance from the Dr. Robert L.M. Hilliard Health Center, was officially opened in October 2016. KAI provided architecture, interior design, engineering and project management on the mixed-income residential development.
KAI was contracted by Select Federal Credit Union to renovate its existing 5,000-square-foot facility at 1914 Interstate 35 and design a 2,200-square-foot addition. Established in 1939, the new design reflects the long-standing history of the institution, the financial security and significance of its member services and the character of the local community. KAI provided architecture and project management on the project, which was completed in November 2017.
For more information about the Eastside Promise Zone, visit www.sanantonio.gov/East-Point/PromiseZone