Via Metropolitan Transit

VIA Begins Work to Finish Rehabilitation of Ellis Alley

VIA Metropolitan Transit has revealed plans to finish the rehabilitation of the remaining three historic structures in the Ellis Alley enclave on the near East Side of San Antonio.

In 1999 VIA opened the Ellis Alley Park and Ride, and in 2002 the agency opened a new information center that was fashioned out of two of the six buildings that were on the site. A third structure was converted into a private dental office, and the remaining three buildings were mothballed and stabilized until they could be developed for re-use. Now VIA has announced plans to rehabilitate the remaining structures and prepare them for lease to other entities.

VIA has issued an invitation for bids for a contractor to restore the Ellis Alley buildings. The contract should be awarded in April 2013 with construction set to begin in April or May, and the construction stage is expected to last approximately six months. The architectural construction drawings were developed by the firm of Ford, Powell & Carson, Architects and Planners Inc. along with Mainstreet Architects Inc.

When the rehabilitation is completed, the first floor of the two-story Beacon Light Lodge building will be leased to the San Antonio for Growth on the Eastside non-profit organization. The second floor of this building, along with the two other structures, will be leased to non-profit organizations and small business enterprises that will complement the neighborhood’s service needs.

The area of Ellis Alley is just east of downtown San Antonio, and it was first settled by freedmen and other African-Americans in the years following the Civil War. Ellis Alley served as the seed from which the East Side grew. VIA’s information center in the enclave was formed by linking together two of the houses and refurbishing them to preserve their historic nature.

The completion of the Ellis Alley enclave is being funded by VIA and the City of San Antonio TIRZ program along with assistance from the San Antonio Conservation Society.