Trending
MOST READ
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Things to Do: Kid-friendly

Free Guide: It’s almost summer, which means that your government-subsidized free daycare (aka public school) goes on hiatus thanks to an archaic allegiance to a rural agriculture economic system that hasn’t been in play for decades. What to do with the wee ones whining 5/21/2014
8 Cultural Gems on the North Side

8 Cultural Gems on the North Side

City Guide 2014: “Outside the Loop” is used as a pejorative by Downtown-centric cool kids, but oases of culture can be found in the sprawling suburbs of the North Side.... By Dan R. Goddard 2/24/2014
Best River Walk Restaurant

Best River Walk Restaurant

Best of SA 2012: 4/25/2012
Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Best Vietnamese Restaurant

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

Inside the Messy Demolition of the Univision Building

Photo: Photos by Mary Tuma, License: N/A

Photos by Mary Tuma

Grassroots groups call for an investigation into the City and Greystar’s dealings regarding the original Univision site

Photo: , License: N/A

Activists staged a sit-in to halt the demolition of the Univision building


“Whose Culture? Our Culture!” “Whose history?” “Our History!” chanted members of the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center, the Westside Preservation Alliance and Save KWEX as their activist colleagues were hauled off by a San Antonio Police Department van last Tuesday afternoon. In an act of civil disobedience that ended in eight arrests, protestors staged a sit-in at the half-demolished Univision building downtown, moments after a judge dissolved a temporary injunction, which allowed developers to continue the tear-down.

Activists refused to leave the premises and some laid down across the driveway to prevent a truck from entering the site. SAPD issued a warning and eventually arrested the protestors on criminal trespass charges.

Dubbing themselves the “Univision 8” the activists and other concerned parties argue the demolition of the historic Spanish-language news station is an affront to cultural preservation and charge the City with changing the rules in the middle of the game, making effective opposition impossible.

Before her arrest, activist Itza Carbajal with the Westside Preservation Alliance told the Current, “We are frustrated the court didn’t hear us and we are frustrated that the City doesn’t hold accountable their own developers ... Our main concern is that the City doesn’t care about our rich history, it cares more about ‘economic development.’”

In the battle pitting robust downtown housing goals against preserving the cultural legacy of Univision, activists say it’s a fight they’re willing to sacrifice for—even without the aid of the media company itself, who’ve said they’re not in favor of granting the site historical designation.

Established in 1955 as KCOR-TV (the precursor to Univision and later changed to KWEX-TV), the downtown building housed the first Spanish-language television station in the United States. After several decades in its downtown spot, the station relocated earlier this year to northwestern San Antonio. South Carolina-based Greystar is set to build a $55 million, 350-unit multifamily development on the former Univision site. Calls to Greystar were not returned by press time.

The brick-and-mortar structure itself holds significance, according to preservationists. The Univision building was the first instance of mid-century modernism in San Antonio’s downtown core, says Lance Aaron, a Texas-Mexico cultural heritage preservationist present at the demonstration. The only other example is the La Villita Assembly Hall. “For me it was heroic, it was vanguard. And now they’ve wiped out 50 percent of it in the La Villita Historic District,” he said.

Sue Anne Pemberton, president of the San Antonio Conservation Society, concurs; this particular architectural style is scarce in San Antonio, she said. “It’s a national problem and a public perception problem. People aren’t recognizing mid-century modern as important yet,” said Pemberton. But even more, preservationists say, the value of the building is its legacy within the Latino community.

Recently in News
  • Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women Texas’ sweeping abortion law has already eliminated all abortion clinics south of San Antonio, and the last clinic west of the city... | 8/27/2014
  • Cityscrapes: A race to the convention floor “Conventions go to the city which exerts the greatest efforts to secure them. San Antonio can get any convention that it goes after.” That was the position... | 8/27/2014
  • Mayoral Horserace Once elected next spring, San Antonio’s new mayor will have just a few months to prepare for the 2016 budget... | 8/27/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus