talk of major east side development
The San Antonio City Council today officially gave city staff the go-ahead to purchase the historic Red Berry Mansion and its 84 acres of grounds and orchards, for $2,250,000, 1200 WOAI news reports.
"It has the potential to be a really exciting, spectacular development that could revitalize," Councilman Carlton Soules said of the purchase.
The mansion was built in 1951 by San Antonio gambler and politician Virgil 'Red' Berry, from winnings from a game of poker, or so the story goes. He lived in it until his death in 1969. Over the past twenty years the mansion, now known as the Red Berry Mansion by the Lake, has been used for business gatherings and weddings.
Jackie Gorman of San Antonio for Growth on the East Side said the possibilities for the prime land, not far from the AT&T Center, the Willow Springs Golf Course, and Ft. Sam Houston makes the Red Berry property very attractive to developers.
"Think about how often do you get that amount of acreage that is open that close to the inner city," Gorman said. "Imagine all the things that could be there."
Councilwoman Ivy Taylor, who represents the east side, says the Red Berry property could make up for a lot of development disappointments suffered by east side residents over the years.
"There had been an expectation that construction of the AT&T Center about ten years ago would bring badly needed development to that area, but that has not happened," Taylor said.
The Alamodome, built in the early 1990s, was also supposed to mean development for the east side.
Gorman says the property can be built with upscale housing, specifically earmarked toward the professionals who have just been transferred to Ft. Sam Houston. She says the land can be used for parks or green space, or made available to a major employer who could raise the level of the entire area.
"Maybe a Microsoft comes to town and wants to build a campus," she said. "Now we have enough land to put a campus like that on the east side."
The city is expected to close the deal next month.