Inner Circle Area Buildings in the Brooks City Base Disposition Plan.
Detail of Inner Circle Area Buildings in the Brooks City Base Disposition Plan.

Thanks to a $1.18 million federal grant, a new phase of redevelopment will go forward at Brooks City Base, an Air Force base-turned-business park and residential community on San Antonio’s Southside.

Officials from Brooks City Base, formerly Brooks Air Force Base, announced Tuesday that the facility has been awarded a public works grant from the Economic Development Administration (EDA). The city of San Antonio will fund the remainder of this project.

Mayor buildings planned for demolition in Brooks City Base.
Mayor buildings planned for demolition in Brooks City Base.

Brooks officials will spend $2.37 million to demolish 23 former military buildings, all vacant, that have been deemed unsuitable for reuse. Razing the obsolete structures will clear a path for new economic development opportunities on the former base. The Brooks Facilities Disposition and Site Abatement Project is expected to create approximately 1,500 jobs. 

The project is the latest in a series of efforts over the past 10 years to redevelop the former Air Force base into a mixed use development, furthering revitalization of the Southside.

Brooks City Base President and CEO Leo Gomez credited U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Austin) in a press release for encouraged Brooks officials to explore the possibilities of receiving financial assistance from the EDA during last year’s “SA to DC” business trip led by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce.

“Brooks City Base has (been) transformed into a thriving mixed-use community but, as a former military base, there are still several small, old or otherwise unusable buildings that we need to remove before we can fully maximize our potential,” Gomez said. “Through the support of (U.S. Rep.) Lloyd Doggett, we were encouraged to seek this grant funding and are grateful the Economic Development Administration agrees that this is a worthwhile use of these resources.”

The West Inner Circle (yellow) area is not included in the initial grant award and will be considered for demolition at a later date.
The West Inner Circle (yellow) area is not included in the initial grant award and will be considered for demolition at a later date.

Five of the 23 structures will undergo asbestos removal before demolition.

Brooks officials initially sought $6 million to demolish a total of 40 buildings, including the 23 covered by the EDA grant.

“These (approved) federal funds will support steady economic progress at Brooks City Base by removing some barriers to investment and completing transformation of the property to make it more appealing for private construction,” stated Rep. Doggett in the release. “In a nearly decade-long quest, Brooks City Base continues to move forward in a local, state and federal venture to revitalize this former military base.”

Natalia Martinez, public affairs director at Brooks City Base, said most of the buildings were used as offices by base personnel to test aerospace equipment. A few structures were built specificly for certain missions, such as the base medical clinic.

The project will take 38 months to complete.

“Demolition dates are contingent upon EDA grant disbursement stipulations,” Martinez said.

*Featured/top image: Detail of Inner Circle Area Buildings in the Brooks City Base Disposition Plan.

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Edmond Ortiz

Edmond Ortiz, a lifelong San Antonian, is a freelance reporter/editor who has worked with the San Antonio Express-News and Prime Time Newspapers.