The Pearl in San Antonio has been named one of the best neighborhoods in America for 2017.
The American Planning Association, a non-profit organization that represents the field of urban planning in the U.S., says that the district was chosen out of more than 60 different locations.
"The fact that it's really an amazing reuse and expansion of existing historic building, places to live," said Ann Bagley, an APA board member.
This marks a first for the Pearl in San Antonio. The APA said that it was chosen for its "commitment to all things culinary" and it made San Antonio stand out. On Wednesday, city leaders joined APA members and developers to celebrate.
"We can't forget that there has also been really important things to happen in this location, not the least of which was the opening of the Culinary Institute of America, which really spurred a kind of a revival of the San Antonio culinary scene taking place right here and educating chefs that have now opened restaurants in the Pearl, opened restaurants in the rest of San Antonio," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said.
Bill Shown, the managing director of real estate at Silver, said that when they began planning out their vision for the Pearl 15 years ago, they set out to make it about the community.
"If this was seen as a real estate development, we feel like we would have failed. So every decision that we've made for the past 15 years has been toward creating a place for the community and about the community," Shown said.
"I think it's become a model for urban redevelopment of what has been an abandoned space, not just for our city but other cities are copying what we're doing now because it's been successful. You're seeing it become a thriving part of our city's center. If I was on the outside looking in, I would want to emulate that too," Mayor Nirenberg said.
The Pearl is among the top five best neighborhoods in America on APA's list. The APA recognized the Main Plaza in San Antonio as one of the greatest places in America in 2007. Out of the 275 public places and neighborhoods around the country that have been recognized, nine of the awards from the APA have been given to areas in Texas.