It’s ironic that our first word was “The Last Word,” our first digital storytelling project in March of 2017. Michael Cirlos and I set out to humanize downtown through the stories of real people who create- whether that’s a cocktail, a sculpture, or a small business. A lot has changed in two and half years. For instance, “The Last Word” is now “Jet-Setter,” a must-see Houston Street underground bar experience.
Beyond that, downtown San Antonio has exploded with growth in all sectors. It’s an ever-growing challenge to do justice to the goings-on in our urban core. There’s a new tower here, a new restaurant there, and no shortage of new local coffee shops. Our digital team is now looking to the future and how we can best tell the stories of downtown.
Michael and I are excited to expand into new mediums, growing beyond the written word and fully utilizing our digital media channels. As we set out into a new year and- indeed- a new decade, we are working to produce content that only entertains (thought we always hope it does), but also educates about and builds awareness of just how amazing the heart of our city is.
Downtowners rejoice on Houston Street as they celebrate the San Antonio Spurs winning their 5th National Championship in 2014. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
We’ve talked to tailors, bakers, bank CEOs, homeless outreach professionals, members of our wonderful Ambassador team, just to name some. Seeing the passion in these creators’ eyes has been both a professional and personal highlight for me.
One of the many impactful moments to me was in September of 2017 when we had the honor of interviewing the late Tom Frost, Sr., Chairman Emeritus of Frost Bank. Over the years he had secured the capital needed to support the World’s Fair of 1968, led construction of Frost Tower (now City Tower), helped bring the Spurs franchise to San Antonio, and led in countless other capacities to better our downtown and city.
Shortly after our interview we were making small talk when he turned to look out his window at the new Frost Tower, then under construction across the street. The building had just then reached about the height of the old Frost Tower. “Can you imagine it?” he asked, “It’s going up another ten stories!”
The Frost Tower as Tom Frost Sr. saw it in 2017. Michael Cirlos / Centro San Antonio
Mr. Frost passed away some months later, leaving behind an unmatched legacy for our city. But I’ll always remember him as someone who looked toward the future. Even in the twilight of his life, he wasn’t stuck in the past, bragging about his admittedly impressive accomplishments. He was constantly looking forward, asking “How can we make it better?” “How can we improve?” How can we grow taller?”
It’s that spirit that currently fuels the downtown community and that spirit we hope to capture in the content we produce. As you may have heard, Centro has a new leader in our CEO Matt Brown. “San Antonio has a one-of-a-kind heritage rooted in a confluence of cultures woven together over a millennia of dynamic history. And we continue to make history every day,” says Matt Brown, Centro’s CEO. “As the placemaking organization for downtown, we commit ourselves to making the heart of our city more beautiful, safe and welcoming. I’m excited to expand our digital storytelling footprint through a series of playful, creative and engaging projects that will celebrate and add to our urban art, economy, culture and community.”
You’ll be seeing high quality content from Centro San Antonio telling the stories the organization has always loved to tell- hopefully in bigger and better ways. Whether that’s the written word, video, photography, or beyond. Be sure to follow us @downtownsatx on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates on our content creation.
We are extremely grateful for your continued support and can’t wait to see where this road leads!