Economic Development

The World Heritage Site designation is expected to increase visitation and tourism spending in San Antonio. Local, authentic small business development and preservation of existing long-term businesses are critical components of the World Heritage Work Plan.

In 2017, UTSA completed a Market Assessment and Report of Mission San Jose and San Juan. This study provided an economic and cultural heritage tourism market analysis for Mission San Jose and Mission San Juan. The study analyzed the existing market and business population within the study area, and offered some general recommendations on how to assist in achieving the World Heritage Work Plan objectives while also developing a sustainable cultural tourism plan that balances the needs of residents and tourists alike. One of the recommendations proposed in the report is the preservation of local legacy businesses along with promotion of the unique way these businesses contribute to the cultural identity of San Antonio.


The Office of Historic Preservation’s city-wide Legacy Business Registry Program launched in January 2018 as part of the ScoutSA initiative. The program acknowledges long-lived businesses as important historic assets and key contributors to the traditions and special character of our city. To qualify for the registry, businesses must be 20 years or older and contribute to the history, culture, and authentic identity of San Antonio. In return for acknowledgement as a Legacy Business, businesses agree to perpetuate the business, its historic name, and the historic service provided. In addition to receiving a window decal, registered businesses will receive marketing support and promotion online, in print, and through special events. 

World Heritage area Legacy Business Matching Grant Pilot Program

Legacy Businesses listed on the city-wide registry that are located in the World Heritage Area, (specifically within the World Heritage Buffer Zone or a two mile radius of Missions Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan and Espada) will be eligible for a grant pilot program administered through the World Heritage Office. 

The World Heritage Area Legacy Business Grant Pilot Program will provide eligible businesses with up to $10,000 in grant funds to be matched by the applicant for (1) façade improvements, and/or (2) signage, parking lot, and landscape improvements.

Grants can be layered with funds from the City’s Operation Facelift Program.

Detailed Grant Program Information: BusinessGrant.pdf

An application and project design review is required as part of the approval process for exterior grants.

HDRC Information and application:

Approved Grantee Business Capacity Resources

Legacy Businesses awarded grants must complete three business capacity building classes through approved partner agencies. The class requirement is to help business owners successfully sustain and grow their businesses as visitation and interest in the World Heritage area grows.

Southside First Educational Courses and Events:

LaunchSA Training and Events:

 Additionally, eligible businesses will receive special recognition on the World Heritage mobile responsive website ( The website connects visitors to area businesses.

To learn more about the Legacy Business Grant Program or if you have questions about applying, please use the connect with the World Heritage Office option on the right hand side of the page or call 210-207-7258. 

Connect with the World Heritage logo

World Heritage Office

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Featured Items

Link to Mission Marquee Plaza website

Mission Marquee Plaza

Link to Spanish Governor's Palace website

Spanish Governor's Palace
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