Business owners say ongoing construction north of downtown continues to eat into revenue

San Antonio – San Antonio currently has 54 construction projects underway, and city officials say 89 percent of them are considered on time. Still, many business owners close to the construction industry say limited access to their premises is driving revenue down.

“There’s no way we can continue to do business on Broadway. We have no choice but to close the business. We’re looking at early spring,” said Augie Cortez Jr., owner of Augie’s Alamo City BBQ.

Barricades around the restaurant are similar to those on North Street. Mary’s striptease.

“It’s even more challenging at times than we’ve dealt with and COVID, that’s a lot to say out loud. We’re looking at hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenue, personally, but I’m not unique ,” says Aaron Pena, owner of Squeezebox.

When cities have construction projects, they accept bids from contractors. Assistant city manager Rod Sanchez said they often have to choose the lowest bid from among eligible contractors. Currently, they consider the lowest bid and their past experience when selecting a contractor.

“If we had a really bad experience, or if we had to fire someone, or if they were too late on something, we wouldn’t award those people a contract,” Sanchez said.

San Antonio Public Works Superintendent Razi Hosseini said that when something goes wrong, the contractor must bear the cost and time. He said a subcontractor on North Street. Mary Strip placed a sewer line at the wrong height. Subcontractors were selected by SpawGlass, a contractor employed by the City.

“In that case, what we’re going to see is, how did they handle it? In this case, they fired that contractor and brought in a guy, so I think that’s their response,” Sanchez said.

Contractors can get multiple projects at once, city officials said. Companies currently building say they are not happy with it.

Sanchez said the city council plans to address the responsible bidder ordinance on Jan. 26. He hopes this will give the city more say in choosing contractors in the future.

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