San Antonio – Ongoing construction on the St. Mary’s Strip is driving away customers, and business owners say they don’t know how long they’ll be able to operate under current conditions.
Frustration is mounting for business owners and employees on the Strip. According to Squeezebox owner Aaron Pena, the nightlife has disappeared because people don’t deal with the traffic headaches.
“We saw $67 in sales revenue for one day on a weekday. Down the street, at Rumble, they had $11 on Wednesdays,” Pena said. “Not even during Covid when I was forced to close, and I was only doing drive-thru service — sustaining more employees than I’m currently able to sustain. was able to hold.”
Peña said people are unable to navigate the street due to road closures and detours. He added that construction is driving businesses to breaking point, and employees are looking for other jobs.
“I started out making a certain amount of money here, and it dropped over 60%,” said Alexis Rodriguez, a bartender at Slackers.
“I’m thinking that a lot of the bars, including mine and restaurants — any nightlife, hospitality on this street — won’t be moving forward this coming year,” Pena added.
If you manage to find parking it’s just as difficult as trying to get around on foot. Large parts of the Strip have no sidewalks, and people walking on dirt and gravel can easily get to the construction site. Those who work on the Strip worry that safety is not a priority for the city.
“Walking on nails and boards, and people can get hurt, and they don’t care,” Rodriguez said.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg told KSAT during Tuesday’s 6 p.m. Q&A that the project is being expedited. He hopes that the construction will be completed by March 2023.
“We’re pushing the contractor to get this done,” Nirenberg said. “They have gone through covid. They’ve, you know, gone through policy fights. They’ve been through a lot of things that have been challenging.”
San Antonio District 1 Councilman Mario Bravo said he agrees with business owners and residents that more needs to be done. He was walking down the Strip Tuesday afternoon, seeing the issue for himself.
Bravo said he would like to see possible financial assistance for affected businesses.
“Yesterday I had a conversation with the city manager and the mayor about it, and they are looking for solutions right now. And I hope to hear back from them in the next week or two,” Bravo said.
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