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June 20, 2021

We've been producing journalism in the public interest for 3 years, with the aim of covering downtown San Antonio area growth like no news outlet, and we have no plans to stop any time soon. But we need your help to keep this critical work going strong.
We have until July 7 to meet our 2021 Birthday Campaign goal of $20,000. With $3,851 raised so far thanks to the generosity of our readers, we have a ways to go. This is vital revenue that helps cover our operating expenses and fuels the truth-seeking, in-depth journalism that you rely on.

H. E. Butt Foundation is contributing $10,000 in matching dollars toward our campaign.

Here’s how it works:

Now through July 7, the H. E. Butt Foundation will double your one-time gift (up to $5,000). Or, become a monthly donor and the foundation will match the value of a full year.

Will you support nonprofit news that works for you?

Yes, I support the Heron.

Now, here's a look at the news you may have missed.

» Ben Olivo, Heron editor,

Bexar County, Weston Urban to partner on apartments at Continental Hotel

A nonprofit arm of Bexar County is set to partner with downtown developer Weston Urban on a 250-unit mixed-income apartment project that would preserve at least the facade of the historic Continental Hotel (West Commerce Street) and Arana buildings (Dolorosa) in west downtown.

📝 Richard Webner | Heron contributor, @RWebner
📸 Heron file photo

[  FIESTA  ]
Fiesta's back!

Hundreds packed Hemisfair for Fiesta Fiesta on Thursday, marking the first time since 2019 that a Fiesta event was held in San Antonio. We sent out our trusted contributors, photographer Isaiah Alonzo and reporter Rocky Garza Jr., to the party. Follow our Instagram accounts for more photos. You can also scroll down to meet more Fiesta diehards we rant into.

📸 Isaiah Alonzo | @isaiah__alonzo, Heron contributor
📸 View us on Insta: @downtownsanantonio | @sanantonioheron

San Antonio Housing Trust PFC approves Friedrich Lofts project despite gentrification concerns

On Monday, 20 local residents spoke against a proposed project to rehabilitate the Friedrich Air Conditioning Co. site into an apartment complex, arguing that its rents wouldn't fit the budgets of East Side residents and that it would speed up the area’s gentrification.

It wasn’t enough: The five City Council members who lead the board of the San Antonio Housing Trust Public Facility Corp., or PFC, voted 3-1 to let the project go forward, with District 4 Councilwoman Adriana Rocha Garcia abstaining.

📝 Richard Webner | Heron contributor, @RWebner
📸 Heron file photo

[  FOOD & DRINK  ]
Gus's Fried Chicken to open Monday in Southtown
Memphis-based Gus's Fried Chicken will have a soft opening today, and officially open Sunday at 812 S. Alamo St., across from Rosario's in Southtown. The chicken joint known for its spicy food.

📝 Rocky Garza Jr. | Heron contributor, @rockssjr

📸 Ben Olivo | Heron editor, @rbolivo
[  FIESTA  ]
Fiesta sightings: Meet 'Chespirito'
Jesus Archuleta was rocking a hat and outfit dedicated to superhero El Chapulín Colorado, or his stage name "Chespirito". Archuleta said it was a bummer that people weren't able to see it last year since Fiesta was cancelled, but it felt good to be back at Fiesta. "The funny thing is I have actually gotten more love on my outfit than I did back in 2019, but I'm just happy and relieved to be back at Fiesta and most importantly be around people again," Archuleta said.

📸 📝 Rocky Garza Jr. | Heron contributor, @r0ckssss_
Did you know ...
Give at least $25, and we'll send you a Heron swag kit, which includes this comfy Next Level shirt!
If you run a business or organization and are searching for sponsorship opportunities, email Gabriel Gonzalez at
[  EVENTS  ]
Brain Trust wins Heron trivia night
BIG thank you to Dos Sirenos Brewery for hosting us for San Antonio Trivia Night on Thursday. We had a great time playing trivia and drinking great beer. Trailing at halftime, Brain Trust (shown here) made a huge comeback on the second half to pull out the last-minute, 2-point win. Congrats! They chose McNay Museum tickets as their prize. Until next time! Be sure to check out Dos Sirenos on Instagram.
Driftwood-based Vista Brewing opens on West Side
Karen Killough, co-founder of Vista Brewing, doesn't believe their brewery is just about serving craft beer and wine, but rather about offering an experience she describes as an "escape from the city," feeling that derives from their original 21-acre ranch location in Driftwood. Their San Antonio location, which recently opened on the West Side, does just that.

Vista Brewing recently opened its third location, this one inside Warehouse 5, a former industrial site that has been redeveloped into loft and office spaces at 1333 Buena Vista St., along Alazan Creek. Their second location is located in Beecave, Texas. 

The new brewery brings a tasting room and beer garden to the West Side. Draft options include pilsners, IPAs, blonde ales and a Kölsch. Local wine and ciders and nonalcoholic beverages are also available. Customers can try beer flights that come with four 4-ounce pours for $10. Individual beers are $5 to $7. 

Snacks that are offered come from local businesses and they plan to bring a rotating line up of food trucks for special events.

"The experience customers will have will be special because it will be as if they're getting a piece of Driftwood here in their own backyard," Killough said, "and now they get a shorter drive to try our beers."

Follow Vista Brewing on Instagram @vistabrewingsatx.

Vista Brewing is open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday and 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

📸 📝 Rocky Garza Jr. | Heron contributor, @r0ckssss_
Cattleman Square Lofts project in west downtown gets design approval
On Wednesday, the design for the Cattleman Square Lofts project, a rare affordable housing development for downtown proper, received final approval from the Historic and Design Review Commission.

The 140-unit apartment project will be located at 811 W. Houston St., at North Frio Street, across from VIA Metropolitan Transit’s Centro Plaza, and at the center the west end of downtown, where a development of some sort are planned for seemingly every parcel.

📝 Ben Olivo | Heron editor, @rbolivo
📸 Alamo Community Group
[  FIESTA  ]
Fiesta sightings: 'Flocking to Fiesta'
Georgann Kuchar (left) and Hellen Siguroa were glowing in their bright pink, flamingo hats and pink shirts that read "Flocking to Fiesta" on the front and "Hat Rats" on the back during Fiesta Fiesta on Thursday. The friends started Hat Rats back in 2019 along with four other women.

📝📸 Rocky Garza Jr. | Heron contributor, @r0ckssss_
San Antonio-New Braunfels median income rises to $74,100. Here's why it matters
The area median income, or AMI, for the San Antonio-New Braunfels region has increased from $72,000 to $74,100 for a family of four, according to the latest figures released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

📝 Maggie Ryan | Heron contributor, @m_rrye
📸 Folo Media file photo
City of San Antonio seeks input on FY 2021-2022 budget
Planning for the fiscal year 2021-2022 San Antonio budget is now underway, and the City of San Antonio is providing several opportunities for you to offer feedback.

📝 Maggie Ryan | Heron contributor, @m_rrye
📸 Ben Olivo | Heron editor, @rbolivo
People now living at The Flats at River North on Broadway
Lifshutz buys 4.6 acres across river from Lone Star Brewery
Wyndham River Walk hotel purchased with plans for $50M renovation
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Other headlines
» Fiesta-goers will have to pony up extra cash for beloved chicken on a stick this year (SAN ANTONIO CURRENT)

» Basila Frocks building could be turned into West Side nonprofit HQ and business space (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS)

» Homeless, Dellview residents wait for councilman to weigh in on encampment (SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS)
What we're reading
» One woman's decades-long fight to make Juneteenth a U.S. holiday (NPR)

» Facing a historic heat wave, migrants at the border at greater risk than ever (NEWSWEEK)

» A reservoir shutdown pits neighbor against neighbor. One group is threatening to reopen it by force (CNN)
Our mission

You're still here! So you know ... the San Antonio Heron is committed to reporting on downtown growth and the ripple effect it has on inner city neighborhoods, while mentoring local students interested in serving their community through storytelling.

Will you help us sustain our mission by donating via GiveGab, PayPal and Patreon?

Compiled by Ben Olivo, Heron editor | 210-421-3932 | @rbolivo on Twitter

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