by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — The Inner City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone Board of Directors approved a request from the City of San Antonio to provide nearly $12 million towards the renovation of the Ella Austin Community Center complex.
The redevelopment of buildings at Ella Austin, a decades old East Side community center, was identified as a priority of City Council over the summer and partial funding, $11.5 million, is expected to be forthcoming through the 2022-2027 bond. However, the total project cost has been estimated at about $23 million.
Ella Austin was originally constructed at 1023 N. Pine Street in 1923 by the San Antonio Independent School District. it was an educational facility through the 1960s and acquired by the city in 1976. It was converted for use as a community center in 1983.
The center provides a wide range of services that include early childhood development, youth and senior services, individual and family services.
The complex occupies a city block and consists of five structures that total 63,000 square feet of usable interior spaces. There is a main building, a gymnasium, senior center, metal storage building and a modular building.
Because of its age and condition, the city invested about $2.5 million between 2007-2021 to do maintenance and repairs. Another $780,000 was apportioned in Fiscal Year 2022 for maintenance in the child care center, upgrades to the HVAC, electrical fire sprinklers and mold assessment, and the annual expense for landscaping and pest control.
On Friday, Nov. 19, the Inner City TIRZ approved allocations on three requests brought by the city that total $11,922,500.
The board agreed first to pay for a $250,000 site feasibility study that is needed to assess the full extent of necessary upgrades.
Another $11.5 million will be used for capital improvements. These improvements were generally described as replacement of the roof systems of the main building and gymnasium; replacement of mechanical systems (MEP); replacement of windows and exterior door systems; structural upgrades (this includes new walkway coverings); parking lot and landscaping improvements; replacement or upgrade of the elevator; replacement of the flooring and ceilings.
Finally, $172,500 was approved for public art.
The city anticipates drawing the actual funds as needed over the period 2022-2025.
VBX Project ID: 2021-80C9