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Photo by Chandra Maharzan on Unsplash

The City of San Antonio made history in May when voters elected to approve its first full-scale affordable housing bond. It brought $150 million to the table, with five years to invest those funds, starting now. On December 16, the San Antonio City Council approved funding for a round of 14 projects, utilizing $43.9 million in bond and federal contributions to create or maintain 2,523 affordable housing units. A second round of projects is expected to be revealed in spring 2023.

“Affordable housing has been a top priority of our residents and over the past several years, the City of San Antonio has made record investments to make housing more affordable,” said city manager Erik Walsh, as quoted in a public release. “The Affordable Housing Bond is bringing new housing options online, while also preserving the availability of housing units for those who need it most.”

In total, the 14 projects include more than 2,500 units, with 2,461 rentals and 71 units for purchase. The bonds will produce more than 750 new units to rent or own, and 1,775 rental units will be rehabilitated.

Nearly a quarter of the units will be used as public or income-based housing. The remainder still focus on equity, as determined by a committee that considered factors like “deep” affordability (for renters earning less than half of the median area income, and homeowners earning less than 80 percent), universal design (for many ages and abilities), sustainability exceeding city code, and a number of measures of accessibility for residents.

Other considerations for more holistic equitable living included high-speed internet access, more diverse geographic distribution, and “meaningful, on-site resident services.” The reviews also considered what would happen to communities already in the area, and required developers working on new construction to fill out displacement assessments.

“Addressing housing affordability has been a key priority of mine, and over the past five years, it’s an issue that San Antonio residents have come together to rally behind,” said San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. “This direct investment in affordable housing will considerably boost local housing supply, preserve our aging housing stock, protect our neighborhoods and will help ensure that everyone has a place to call home.”

The City of San Antonio, Bexar County, and the South Alamo Regional Alliance for the Homeless (SARAH) have requested proposals by January 23, 2023, for permanent supportive housing (PSH), which combines affordable housing with support services to address chronic homelessness or other barriers. Since the current 14 projects don’t use all the bond’s resources, this represents the remaining category.

A full breakdown of projects by income is available at sanantonio.gov.

Photo by Aella T on Unsplash

San Antonio's Pearl District lights the menorah in 8th annual Chanukah celebration

Eight nights and years

Chanukah is underway in San Antonio, and it’s time for one of the city’s favorite Jewish traditions.

This is an auspicious year for Chanukah at Pearl, now in its eighth year. The community celebration, taking place Wednesday, , on December 21, includes the best parts of celebrating at home — kosher foods, traditional music, and more specifically Texan traditions — on a larger, citywide scale.

The festivities will be led by Rabbi Eli Block, a San Antonio native who left the country to study and returned to work in service of the city’s post-college Jews. His organization, Young & Jewish San Antonio (YJSA), partners with musician Yaakov Chesed and chef Jason Goldblum on this event, which will also include remarks from San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg. Rabbi Block will join the mayor in speaking.

Along with traditional Jewish comfort foods like matzah ball soup, this Texas celebration also includes churros and tamales. The rabbi will light the giant menorah on display at the Pearl throughout Chanukah, and celebrants are invited to dance the night away — until 8 pm.

YJSA puts on a variety of other events throughout the year, from the more traditional to creative and casual, like a recent women-only oil infusion workshop. It hosts regular Shabbat dinners and other holiday events with a modern flare often including live music and cocktails, for Jews in their 20s and 30s.

The 8th annual Chanukah at Pearl begins at 6 pm on December 21 at 312 Pearl Parkway, near Boiler House. The event is free and open to the public.

Photo courtesy of Lightscape

7 dazzling San Antonio light displays for a dose of Christmas cheer

It's Lit This Holiday Season

Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, Christmas lights are on our mind! If you're seeking a bit of illumination for the upcoming holiday season, check out these seven local spots for brilliant light displays around San Antonio.

Elf Acres
Santa came to San Antonio early at Elf Acres! The fun doesn't stop with the one-mile, drive-through Christmas lights experience. Elf Acres also features Santa's Village, a walkable area where you can view another light show, take a photo with Kris Kringle himself, and more. Purchase tickets at elfacres.com.

Lights Alive!
Take your drive-through experience to the next level with the one-mile Lights Alive! show. The family-friendly experience features dazzling light displays, Christmas music, and even a park N play wonderland at the end where guests can create their own light show, enjoy Christmas treats, and more. Purchase tickets at seelightsalive.com.

Lightscape
Enjoy an illuminated one mile path through the San Antonio Botanical Garden thanks to the 2nd annual Lightscape event. Featuring over one million lights and festive Texas-themed displays, Lightscape has plenty of photo-worthy moments, seasonal music, a chance to roast s'mores, and more. Open now through January 8. Purchase tickets at sabot.org

The River Walk
After the 41st annual Ford Holiday River Parade ,the River Walk is now illuminated with sparkling lights for the remainder of the year. It's definitely a picturesque way to get a nice Christmas photo especially if you have family visiting from out-of-town! (Did we mention checking out the Riverwalk lights is free?)

SeaWorld San Antonio
Everything's bigger in Texas, including holiday light displays, naturally. The lights at SeaWorld San Antonio are billed as the largest Christmas light displays in Texas — exactly 250 acres worth! Purchase tickets at seaworld.com.

Light the Way
It's practically mandatory to stop by the University of the Incarnate Word's annual Light the Way display, which is free and open to the public. The entire campus is lit up with sparkling holiday lights (the trees literally glisten for extra holiday authenticity) all the way till the New Year.

Zoo Lights
The San Antonio Zoo is back again with their annual festive holiday light display. Guests of all ages can enjoy acres of zoo lights as they walk across the grounds, festive photo ops, treats for adults and kids, and more. The Zoo Lights display will be up until January 1, 2023. Purchase tickets at sazoo.org

San Antonio River Walk/Instagram

7 spectacular San Antonio spots to enjoy dinner and the 41st annual Ford Holiday River Parade

Dinner and a Show

The 41st annual Ford Holiday River Parade and River Lighting Ceremony is back, y'all — why not make it a full night out with dinner and drinks? We've rounded up the best spots to sip and dine while watching the colorful display. Check out these seven local riverside hotels and restaurants.

Biga on the Banks
Head chef and James Beard award nominee Bruce Auden has curated a sumptuous three-course prix-fixe menu for guests, with options like pozole verde de pollo, beef ribeye, and more. Call Biga at 210-225-0722 for reservations or visit biga.com.

Hotel Contessa
Check out a parade pre-party at the Hotel Contessa, complete with live music, face painting, and vendors. The hotel's in-house restaurant, Ambler Texas Kitchen + Cocktails, will also offer light bites and cocktails for the parade. Purchased reserved seats for the parade at the Hotel Contessa via eventbrite.com.

Omni La Mansion Del Rio
Enjoy a four-course meal at Ostra (the Omni's in-house restaurant at the Mokara Spa), or across the river at Four Brothers (the main in-house restaurant) before grabbing your reserved seat for the parade. Guests can choose to purchase a seat to the parade only, but if you buy a ticket to one of the meals, you also get a reserved seat included with the price and a complimentary cocktail (we love the sound of a Four Brothers holiday sangria!) Purchase tickets to either dinner or a reserved seat via eventbrite.com.

On The Bend Oyster Bar
Enjoy live jazz, a full private buffet, great views of the river parade, a private VIP party, and more at On The Bend Oyster Bar. There are still plenty of tickets left for premium riverside seating at On The Bend that'll give you a great view of the parade. Purchase tickets at eventbrite.com.

The Thompson Hotel
The Thompson Hotel's signature restaurant, Landrace, will serve a decadent multi-course meal from the restaurant's head chef, James Beard award finalist Steve McHugh. Save up your post-Thanksgiving appetite for courses like roasted squash soup and slow-roasted prime rib. Guests can enjoy the parade from reserved seating at the Thompson after the meal. Purchase tickets to the dinner and reserve your seat at eventbrite.com.

The Westin
The Westin Riverwalk has a full parade reception dinner and premium seating available in three different pricing packages. Enjoy menu options like the charred aleppo spiced New York strip loin, unlimited select beer and wine options, and a reserved seat to the parade with the VIP All Is Bright package. There are also lower priced tiers for kids and guests who just want access to the reception dinner. Purchase tickets at eventbrite.com.

Hotel Valencia
If you're looking to make a true night of it, book a one-night stay at the Hotel Valencia to enjoy their Ford Holiday River Parade Seat & Parking package. Each booking includes luxury accommodations for two, two tickets to the parade in front of the Hotel Valencia in the first or second row, complimentary Wi-Fi, and complimentary valet parking for one night (this applies to one vehicle per reservation). Book your Hotel Valencia holiday parade staycation here.



Rendering by Mogas + Gonzalez Associated Architects

New marketplace development set to transform historic downtown New Braunfels site

Cool Co-Op Coming

Changes are ahead for historic downtown New Braunfels, with a new 2.5 acre mixed-use development set to transform and repurpose the former New Braunfels Producers Co-Op. Announced via press release November 16, and slated to open in 2024, the new Co-Op Marketplace will feature a biergarten, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retail, and park space with a stage for live music.

The site transformation is the brainchild of New Braunfels-area entrepreneurs and business owners, so local residents can take heart that the project was made by locals, for locals. The late, notable New Braunfels businessman Ron Snider was one of the entrepreneurs behind the Co-Op Marketplace idea, working in tandem with his business partners, attorney Mike Myers and real estate developer Fred Heimer.

Now, Snider's wife, Carol, and their son, Chris, owners of nearby Krauses Cafe + Biergarten, are leading the project in honor of Snider's original vision."This is a very exciting project to be involved with and it has evolved a lot along the way while still holding true to what my dad and his partners originally envisioned by bringing something unique to downtown New Braunfels that the community can enjoy," Chris Snider shared in the release.

New Braunfels Co-Op Marketplace The Co-Op Marketplace will transform and repurpose the former New Braunfels Producers Co-Op. Courtesy photo

With construction set to begin in 2023, the new co-op space will be roughly 2.5 acres and feature more than 25,000 square feet of indoor space for guests. The release shared plans to adapt the existing agricultural buildings for the development, transforming structures like the 65-foot-tall grain silo, which will become the market's west entrance.

Plans for the space include over an acre of outdoor space for guests to enjoy good weather days, with a splash pad and 4,000 square feet of artificial turf, seating, and shade trees.

Co-Op Marketplace New Braunfels The new development will feature a biergarten, restaurants, bars, coffee shops, retail, and park spaces.Rendering by Mogas + Gonzalez Associated Architects

To add further emphasis to the co-op's locally owned, locally made feel, San Antonio-based architectural practice Mogas + Gonzalez have been heavily involved in the plans for the space.

"Mogas + Gonzalez Associated Architects has worked closely with the owners’ vision to repurpose and recycle the existing and historically designated agrarian Co-Op structures to craft a campus of indoor and outdoor spaces that invite the city and its visitors to relax, dine, and celebrate right in the heart of Downtown New Braunfels," said architect Richard Mogas in the release.

The exciting new space will be located at 210 S. Castell Ave. Guests can grab authentic German fare down the street at Krause's and walk down to the Co-Op, which will also have a 13,000 square foot marketplace for restaurants, vendors, and more.

Photo by Mikie Farias

San Antonio Auto & Truck Show cruises back bigger than ever

Fancy cars

Live your best Top Gear life with the return of the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show, only in town this weekend at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

The largest showroom in South Texas is back and bigger than ever. Not only will the 2022 San Antonio Auto & Truck Show have a larger assortment of electric vehicles than the show has ever had, but guests can also enjoy a wide array of classic cars, pet adoption opportunities, food trucks, and so much more.

Not a car enthusiast? There's a good chance you'll change your mind after attending the San Antonio Auto & Truck Show, and veterans get in for free on November 11 (which is Veterans Day).

The San Antonio Auto & Truck Show is in town for one weekend only, so don't miss out if you need inspiration on a car-shopping journey. Other nice discounts for the weekend include $6 tickets for kids 6-10 years old and free admission for children 0-5 years old. If military vets can't actually make it on Veterans Day, they can still get a discount ($8 for a day pass) on Saturday and Sunday. Senior citizens also get discounted $8 day passes for whatever day they choose to attend.

If you're wondering what could possibly be more fun than getting a discounted ticket to wander a whole day gazing at a showroom full of luxury automobiles, the show has a surprise for gear-heads and casual car lovers alike. Featuring a drawing every hour during the show, some lucky guests will have the pleasure of taking home one $100 gift card. It may not be a Lamborghini, but hey, it's something, right?

The official San Antonio Auto & Truck Show has been teasing upcoming attractions for this weekend's show experience on their social media channels, previewing the return of old and brand new auto-themed exhibits. One returning kid-friendly exhibit is the History In Motion tour bus. Another familiar weekend event is the Battle of the Bands, in addition to a full slate of incredible cars on display to admire from afar (there will also be opportunities to test drive select cars).

For more information on show hours and tickets, visit saautoshow.com

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CultureMap Emails are Awesome

San Antonio suburb among the richest places in Texas for 2023, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio suburb cashes in among the richest places in Texas for 2023. Alamo Heights has been renamed the third richest place in Texas for 2023 in a recent study.

2. San Antonio home sales slowed in December 2022, report finds. San Antonio sold 36,477 homes all year, a 10 percent decrease from 2021.

3. Here are the top 5 things to do in San Antonio this weekend. Nina Simone, Pink Floyd, the Beatles and more music-centered events made our roundup of the best things to do in Alamo City this weekend.

4. San Antonio Home & Garden Show returns with HGTV star. Ati Williams will headline the San Antonio Spring Home & Garden Show, which takes place February 24-26.

5. H-E-B opens first location in growing San Antonio suburb. The state-of-the-art facility offers 110,000 square feet of floor space, providing everything from cat food to charcuterie.


Popular Pearl brunch spot remixes with new weekend DJ nights

OONCE OONCE OONCE

Though Full Goods Diner has barely been open for half a year, it has already become a San Antonio staple for working weekday lunches and lingering Sunday Fundays. Now the Pearl eatery is looking to be a hot spot after dark.

Via release, the popular local haunt just announced a new limited-time music series, Full Goods at Night. Starting on February 2, Full Goods Diner will open select evenings throughout the month.

The Full Goods at Night series will feature popular local San Antonio DJs, including El West Side Sound, Hector Gallego, DJ Plata, Steven Lee Moya, and Cami Gee. Guests can enjoy live sets while indulging in a specially curated food and drink offerings.

The menu will include some of Full Goods Diner's best—selling items, such as French toast sticks, barbacoa waffle fries, and jumbo cheesy tots. Libations like the Attaboy Negroni, Royal Bermuda Daiquiri, Pink G&T, and more will fuel the festivities.

In addition to enjoying moonlight brunch, guests can relish some prime people-watching. And, of course, the restaurant is just a hop from other nightlife destinations like Pink Hill, 3 Star Bar, and Summer Camp Bar, making it the perfect party starter.

The series runs every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from February 2-25, 6-10 pm. The complete DJ schedule is listed below.

February 2 — El West Side Sound·
February 3 — Hector Gallego
February 4— DJ Plata
February 9 — El West Side Sound
February 10 — Steven Lee Moya
February 11 — Cami Gee
February 16 — El West Side Sound
February 17 — Steven Lee Moya
February 18 — Hector Gallego
February 23 — El West Side Sound
February 24— Steven Lee Moya
February 25 — DJ Plata

4 San Antonio culinary pioneers win $21K from the Texas Food & Wine Alliance

CULINARY INNOVATION

Texas’ skyrocketing culinary scene is about to get a huge boost. The Texas Food & Wine Alliance’s grant program has awarded $107,500 to 19 culinary innovators around the state. This marks the Alliance’s 11th year providing funding to support culinary projects contributing to local communities.

The award winners were announced in a ceremony at Austin's Holdsworth Center on January 21. A private panel of distinguished culinary experts chose the winners out of 40 grant applications this year. Nine winners hail from Austin, three from Dallas-Fort Worth, three from Houston, and four from San Antonio. The awards range from $1,500 to $10,000, with a special $25,000 grant investment from Austin favorite Tito’s Handmade Vodka in honor of the company’s 25th anniversary. Grant funding will support chefs, farms, and culinary education groups, among others.

Out of the four San Antonio area winners, Talking Tree Farm received the most from the grant program, $6,250 to purchase shipping containers for storage and to buy a solar-powered cold room for their harvests. John Marshall High School’s culinary arts program will use their $5,000 grant to establish a morning café. Agricultural project Habitable Spaces and pasture-raised chicken farm Cielito Lindo Farm also won $5,000 each to purchase equipment or build infrastructure to further their endeavors in the culinary space.

Austin-area winners received the most funding from the grant program, totalling $53,750, while San Antonio winners received $21,250 in total. Dallas/Fort Worth winners were awarded $19,750, and the three Houston recipients won $12,750. All of the 2022 winners reflect just how diverse the state's trailblazing culinary scene continues to expand.

“All of this year’s funded projects will further enrich the state through innovation and giveback,” said Erika White, executive director of the Alliance. “We’re extremely grateful to each of the Texas communities, our sponsors and their support in allowing us to reward these mold-breaking projects.”

In Austin, organic farm Trosi Farms was awarded the most funding ($10,000), which will help construct a germination shed for more stable plant start production. Locavore pioneer Boggy Creek Farm won $7,500 in grants to provide ADA-compliant accessibility to their new climate-controlled Tomato House, while Texas’ first organic feed mill, Coyote Creek Organic Feed Mill & Farm, received $6,250 to help purchase a building to be used as a store for the local community.

The six other Austin area grant recipients, each winning $5,000, include Vista Farms at Vista Brewing, Jamaican family business Tierra Todun ATX, coffee roasters Rising Tide Roast Collaborative, culinary educator Chef Pascal Simon from Bake Austin, East Austin food truck Community Vegan, and Latinx pastry project Comadre Panaderia (who also just earned a James Beard nomination). All winners will be able to use their grants to improve efficiency and expand their businesses, or in Chef Pascal's case, further research and development for her upcoming cookbook for Gen-Z young adults.

After starting the program in Austin, grant co-chair and TFWA past president Cathy Cochran-Lewis says it was the Alliance’s dream to expand the grant statewide.

“We’re so humbled and thrilled to now not only support worthwhile projects across Texas but also to give more than a half million dollars in funding over the last decade to help dreams come true,” she says. “This is a tribute to the culinary talent and the community mindset we are lucky to have in our state.”

The winners in the Dallas-Fort Worth and Houston areas include:

For this year's Honorable Mention, the Alliance chose San Antonio eatery Tacos Cucuy, who will soon open a brick-and-mortar space with an expanded menu. Tacos Cucuy are currently looking for support to develop a Tex-Mex charcuterie program called La Cura Carnes Especiales.

More information about the 2022 grants and its recipients can be found on texasfoodandwinealliance.org.