The “Deco District” is part of the historic “Old Spanish Trail” along Fredericksburg Road, which connects downtown with the medical center. The area, once a thriving business district, declined over the last 50 years.
In the late 80s and early 90s neighborhood residents, business owners and the City began coordinating efforts to rejuvenate the district which resulted in the establishment of the Jefferson Woodlawn Lake Community Development Corporation (JWL/CDC) in 1994. In 1999, the Deco District was designated a Revitalization Project under the City’s Neighborhood Commercial Revitalization (NCR) Program, with the JWL/CDC serving as its lead agency.
The objective of the JWL/CDC Revitalization Project is to stimulate economic growth and encourage commercial revitalization through marketing and promoting the area and design and planning of the physical environment. The JWL/CDC is also tasked with serving as a business development resource center for current and potential tenants, business owners, and area residents.
Previously under the NCR Program, the Deco District has seen the first stages of revitalization with the restoration of the landmark Texaco Building and the opening of new businesses. In October 2002, H.E.B. grocery store opened a new “Deco” themed store, which anchors the corridor at the northern section. The JWL/CDC served as liaison between H.E.B. and adjacent neighborhoods by facilitating lengthy and delicate negotiations related to environmental and design issues.
Based on the successes in the Deco District, the City elected to further develop its partnership with the JWL/CDC by entering into a Funding Agreement which provides for the renovation of an 18,000 square foot city-owned building. In 1995, the City of San Antonio acquired the building as part of a drainage and street project utilizing general obligation bonds. The building, located at the center of a key activity node in the Deco District, has been operated as a multi-tenant property providing space for retail, office, community, and cultural uses. The renovation project, funded by the City at $1.6 million, is intended to serve the community, the CDC and the City as a model for capacity building, self-sustainability, and adaptive re-use. The renovation will incorporate exhibit space, studio space, office space for arts organizations and light retail space for complimentary businesses. Design specifications call for the building facade to incorporate an Art Deco style using tile, glass block and stucco. It will feature a prominent Deco mosaic tile design created by a local artist. The Grand Opening for “The Deco Building has been a tremendous success with interior renovations continuing to spur growth and investment in the Greater Jefferson Woodlawn LAke/ Los Angeles Heights Area.