SAN ANTONIO — Bexar County Commissioner Tommy Calvert envisions an AT&T Center surrounded by retail space, new housing, bars and restaurants.
"We have the only arena that I've ever seen, of a major professional sports team, that doesn't have economic development around it," Calvert told KENS 5 on Tuesday.
New stadiums across the country, including in Texas, boast bustling nightlife scenes. Patrons can eat, drink or shop near venues even when there is no home game.
But, perhaps unlike other arena-anchored developments, housing is central to Calvert's idea.
"It looks like San Antonio," he said. "It looks like something the average working person can afford."
In other communities, massive arena developments have driven up local rent prices. Calvert says it's possible to attract new business to the region without displacing current residents.
The commissioner is advocating for a comprehensive plan, which includes development subsidies to incentivize or reward stable rent prices. He also says the county should adopt an affordable housing strategy that could spare some east-side residents from potential price hikes.
"This is about protecting, investing, doing the right thing and being pro-San Antonio," he said.
Calvert has billed the idea as a way to keep the Spurs in San Antonio. He would offer the franchise "first dibs" on investment in any development near the AT&T Center.
The commissioner has also pushed for drainage projects that would remove land along Salado Creek from the flood plain, allowing for new development there.
Bexar County has already committed $250,000 for consultants to formulate a redevelopment plan. Calvert has asked Derrick Howard, executive director of Bexar County Arenas, to update commissioners next week on collaboration for arena grounds improvements.