As someone who grew up in San Antonio, I never imagined I would end up living downtown. Living on the Far West Side, the only time I would venture out to downtown was for the Alamo Bowl. San Antonio’s really big on bubbles – your I-10 bubble, your Bandera bubble, your Stone Oak and Alamo Heights bubbles – so I mostly stayed in my Far West Side bubble.

I attended Braun Station Elementary, Stevenson Middle, and John Marshall High School. At Marshall, I played football and went on to play for the University of Texas at El Paso Miners, then the Philadelphia Eagles. After that, I moved out to Los Angeles before making my way back to San Antonio.

In 2012 I opened my first medical spa here and started looking for homes when business started taking off. Every house I looked at in the area was huge. I’m single still, I don’t have any pets, and 3,500 square feet is way too much space. So I started looking into condos downtown. As soon as I walked into the Alteza and saw the floor-to-ceiling windows, I was sold. Plus, there was no yard or pool to take care of, which was a definite selling point.

My neighbors are mostly young professionals who want to live in the heart of the city and empty nesters who are tired of taking care of big homes and yards. We have a Facebook group where we get together to put on events for residents like open houses and mixers to socialize with each other. A lot of us younger residents like to hang out at the pool or go grab something to eat. During quarantine, we can’t socialize with neighbors like we used to, so now we have balcony parties. Everyone will go out on their balconies at the same time and have a socially-distanced cocktail hour. 

Alteza Residences condoes are located above the Grand Hyatt hotel. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Despite being right in the middle of downtown, the Alteza offers a nice, quiet environment. And it’s very secure. When I go out of town, I don’t have anything to worry about besides remembering to take the trash out. And, for someone who travels a lot, that’s important. I’m 10-15 minutes from the airport and can just call an Uber and not have to worry about parking.

I also don’t have to worry about parking when I go out. I just take the elevator downstairs and I’m in the middle of downtown. The River Walk’s right there, and all the bars and restaurants are within walking distance or just a short bike or scooter ride away. Leapin’ Lizard and Top Shelf are two of my favorites, and Playland is also a cool spot.

There’s always something going on downtown. I remember the NCAA Final Four a couple of years ago. So many people came out for the free concerts. When it got too crowded, I just went back up to my place and watched the concerts from the balcony. I had a great view of Maroon 5 when they performed. For New Year’s Eve, I have a great view of the Tower of the Americas and all the fireworks. I love taking family and friends up to the pool, which is on the 32nd floor. The views are beautiful whether it’s day or night. We’ve had some great Memorial Day and Fourth of July parties up there. And for Fiesta, we’re right in the thick of all the celebration.

While downtown got much quieter amid the shutdown, it also gave me a chance to refocus. I’ve been able to take my bike out and ride around almost empty streets. Health and fitness is important to me, and while gyms were closed, I rode my bike to Blue Star, the Pearl, and Brackenridge Park. I’d go down to the convention center and do some exercises on a set of stairs. It’s been an opportunity to think differently about how I work out and have fun with it.

I see new art and buildings going up, Civic Park getting built, and the W coming to town, and it feels like the rebirth of downtown. When I was growing up, I wouldn’t have imagined this. I look at other Texas cities, and there are so many buildings downtown. It feels like we’re catching up. There are more younger professionals who want the fun downtown lifestyle, so we’re investing in creating that. In the next few years, I’d like to see more living spaces downtown, more restaurants, and more nightlife. We’re on the way, but I’d love for more investors to come in and see what else we can provide for San Antonio. Let’s continue making downtown better and better.

Jonas Crafts is a local San Antonian who loves living downtown as a young professional.