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Published on Friday, November 2, 2018

Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales applauds today's approval of funds for the restoration of the Basila Frocks building as a step towards the revitalization of the near Westside

CONTACT: Victor Landa, 210-884-3429


SAN ANTONIO (Nov. 1, 2018) – Today the San Antonio City Council voted unanimously to build a better city by honoring its past and by acknowledging the wealth of a community rooted in its history.


The Basila Frocks building, which was a bedrock of community and commerce for generations, has been an iconic presence on the corner of Martin and Zarzamora streets, in District 5, since it was built by Syrian immigrants—the Basila family—in 1929. It originally housed a second floor garment factory with retail businesses on the first floor.


For almost 90 years the Basila Frocks building has been occupied by a myriad of businesses: restaurants, night clubs, and grocery stores. And it’s also been a hub of community and political activity.


“Through the years the building has been the locus of the aromas of wonderful food, of the sounds of exciting jazz and the energy of political action—Henry B. Gonzalez held political organizing meetings there,” said Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales.


“The good news is that with today’s council vote Basila Frocks will continue to do what it has always done and be what it has always been to the Westside community: a hub of culture and commerce,” she added.


Today’s ordinance approved $252,410 in Inner City Incentive Funds for a Chapter 380 Economic Development Loan Agreement with the Westside Development Corporation (WDC) for the rehabilitation of the building. The WDC owns the building and has entered into an agreement with the Westside Education and Training Center (WETC) and the Christian Hope Resource Center (CHRC) to lease space for the recruitment and retention of low-income employees for open job opportunities.


The total cost of the building rehab is $2.3 million, which is scheduled to begin this year.


“This is a decisive step towards overcoming the lack of private investment, transportation barriers and commercial vacancy that have imposed a lid on District 5’s inherent entrepreneurial energy. It adds a spark to the revival of historic buildings in District 5 and moves us closer to our vision of a vibrant and culturally significant near Westside.”

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