The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

VIDA development progresses, prepares for summer additions

VIDA development progresses, prepares for summer additions - The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

SouthStar Community's VIDA development sign located on the Northwest corner of Jaguar Parkway and University Way. Photo by Amber Esparza

SouthStar Communities will build green spaces, a parking garage and apartments this summer at VIDA, a 600-acre development including housing, parks, retail and restaurants near campus.

Gretchen Howell, senior vice president of community development for SouthStar Communities, gave an update in an April 14 interview on the VIDA development. 

“Our vision is to have this place where people feel like they are welcomed into the community,” Howell said. 

The community is taking advantage of any open space for trails, parks and parking, Howell said. Developers will complete a couple of green spaces and a parking garage. 

SouthStar is developing the Madla Greenway, a one-mile linear trail with a creek and 200-year-old oak trees. The trail starts by South Zarzamora Street and will run through the community toward Texas A&M University-San Antonio. 

Highland Homes, Perry Homes and Lennar Homes will develop single-family homes based on home purchases.

Howell said VIDA should have about 100 homes on the ground about a year from now. The cost for single-family homes will start in the low $200,000s.  

Four apartment builders aim to build about 300 apartments per apartment facility. The first apartments are going to be built this summer right across from campus. 

Perry Homes will be building duplexes, and VIDA is also expecting to start their townhomes late this year. 

Howell said there is still no range of prices for apartments, duplexes and townhomes. The community is required to offer affordable housing for students, faculty and residents to afford rent.  

Alongside the expansion of VIDA, the Zocalo is also intended to be built this summer. It is SouthStar’s priority to build the Zocalo at the intersection of Jaguar Parkway and University Way.

“Our mission is to create a regional gathering space,” Howell said. “Our vision is to have this place where people feel like they are welcomed.” 

The Zocalo will be built by SouthStar Communities and is intended to serve as a regional events plaza wrapped by shops, restaurants and retail. The Zocalo will also have public wifi for the community. 

Howell explained how COVID-19 affected the community and SouthStar had to pause the project in March 2020. SouthStar decided to prioritize the health and wellbeing of the staff for everyone’s safety.  

VIDA did not experience its groundbreaking in April 2020, but postponing the project allowed SouthStar to reinforce plans for open space.

VIDA will install a 10 gig fiber speed community powered by solar panels. 

 “We decided to hire a company with a private network that allows us to make sure that the signal remains strong,” Howell said. “And we have solar-powered the community to make sure that if the city loses power again you don’t lose connectivity.” 

Residents will have access to one gig of internet and support from A&M-San Antonio which has partnered with VIDA to offer a help desk for digital literacy. 

About the Author

Stephanie Rodriguez
Stephanie Rodriguez is a communication senior at Texas A&M University-San Antonio. In her spare time, she likes to read local news stories or watch documentaries. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in broadcast communication.

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