Center City San Antonio Retail Growth Strategy

By swebadmin | Nov 27 2012


In the fall of 2011, HR&A Advisors, Inc. (HR&A) was retained to create a retail growth strategy for the Center City area, with specific emphasis on the West Commerce District. Driven by the objectives laid forth in SA2020 and the Strategic Framework Plan, the City of the San Antonio has recognized the need for a more thoughtful and strategic approach to expanding retail offerings in Center City. HR&A was engaged to explore growth opportunities at two levels: a block-by-block tenanting strategy for the West Commerce District and a high-level examination of opportunities in the four priority areas.

Retail Markets

Center City’s retail mix is dominated by visitor-oriented offerings, with about 60% of retail being restaurants, bars, clubs, and souvenir shops. This is reflected in the retail rents in Center City: rents for space on the River Walk is approximately three times higher than what it is on Houston Street in the West Commerce District. In the District, approximately 1/3 of spaces are vacant. Though there are some high quality anchors such as Marti’s and Penner’s, retail generally lacks quality and diversity.

Consumer Markets

Center City retailers can attract spending from approximately 18,000 area residents, 68,000 workers, and the large share of San Antonio’s 26 million visitors who come to Center City. The West Commerce District, while not benefitting from a dense residential population, does have a dense working population, with approximately 5,000 workers employed in the .15-square mile area. The District can also capture significant visitor spending, as it benefits from adjacency to both the River Walk and Market Square. As new residential development such as the Vistana occurs in the District, it will create further local spending potential as well.

Potential for Growth

Based on HR&A’s retail demand analysis, the West Commerce District can support an additional 27,000 square feet of non-food retail, which might translate into 8 to 10 stores. There is also demand for 21,000 square feet of grocery and personal care retail. Most significantly, there is about 120,000 square feet of capturable demand for food & beverage, the vast majority of which is for limited-service dining. Read More

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