Good-bye Tampa, hello San Antonio!

Old Jan 16th, 2005, 08:16 AM
  #1  
OO
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Good-bye Tampa, hello San Antonio!

Looks like we are moving, and after the initial shock wore off, (omg, new hairdressers, new friends, new doctors, new dentists..lol...see which one of those I listed first), I'm really excited. We've lived in TX before and absolutely love the Hill Country.

My DH will be working downtown, the Hyatt on Riverwalk, and after 11 years living in, we are returning to the housing market, which I'm really excited about.

Our initial big dilemma will be, old or new...Alamo Heights, so convenient to downtown, but older homes and the accompanying lack of some of the amenities we've grown to love, or out to the northern suburbs. DH always leaves for work early...by 7 AM, and will never be returning before 7 PM so hopefully he will miss the worst of rush hour.

For those who know the city, if you have to commute from the north, which is better, I-10 or 281. We've seen some gorgeous houses on realtor.com north of a loop 60...which is not on my Atlas. Is 60 the same as 1604? Houses there are about 20 miles from downtown, which is the same distance he traveled when we lived in Plano and he commuted to downtown Dallas. Doable, although not ideal.

I welcome any and all suggestions for good areas, and advice about commuting. In Dallas if you were in a hilly area you needed to worry about cracking foundations. Is that true in SA as well? Other issues we should be aware of?

I've heard references to redevelopment downtown but am not seeing anything on realtor.com. What is happening there? All condos? I'm not adverse to condos. With our kids gone we no longer need a big house. I'd rather spend the money on a smaller house but one that has a super quality interior. But then I look at the homes further north with the fabulous views and wooded yards.....

Any helpful hints, tips, advice, gladly accepted! Thanks





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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 08:37 AM
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Lawsy OO! How fun!

I've not spent any time in San Antonio but my dear dear friend's dad is or was the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce in San Antonio. I'll give him a call and get the skinny!

Congrats to Mr. OO on the promotion!
 
Old Jan 16th, 2005, 08:46 AM
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OO, say it ain't so!!! Tampa Bay will not be the same without you!

Best wishes to you and "popeye"! San Antonio will be a better town with you guys in it, that's for sure. What will you do with your sailboat?
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 08:57 AM
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OO, Ohmigosh! Wow! And I thought maybe you'd be headed to Clwr. Guess you have to go where the wind blows. But what a beautiful place, San Antonio. My sister was married there in the huge old Catholic church downtown near the river, ten years ago. We all stayed in that old convent on the river that had been converted to a hotel. That's not the Hyatt, or is it?

Wow. We will be thinking about you and your goofy palmtreehurricane photos next year during "the season" !!! And you will be thinking that you're glad you're in San Antonio!
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 09:42 AM
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OO, say it ain't so? We Floridians will miss you! But you still will be OO, yes? I HEAR you about new doctors, hairdressers(YIKES) etc!!!! I am going through that right now! Just found a good manicure place....this is slow going and a pain IMO. I am happy for you and your DH , Judy
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 11:30 AM
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Welcome back, O!
You may want to look in the Alamo Heights area, not necessarily in AH proper but the adjoining neighborhoods. There seems to be an emerging trend of folks renovating existing homes - often the typical 50s and 60s ranch houses - to add in some of the amenities you mention. We did just that and love it. Prices are reasonable enough that it makes economic sense, and the big advantage is being close to downtown and avoiding traffic. Also, demographics support the sort of retail operations that make life enjoyable. When I moved back to SA in 1999 I was appalled at what had become of my "sleepy little town", and it is worse very day, especially in the overdeveloped areas around loop 1604 and along IH-10 west. IH-10 north of the medical center used to be considered close to a daytrip; now it is developed pretty much all the way to Boerne. Unfortunately, much of that development is of the clear cut variety where a developer just removes all the trees, then later plants a few saplings in a densley built neighborhood. Next, of course, come the big box stores, creating even worse traffic congestion. There is something of a local furor going on over this at the moment.
In terms of downtown, the trend is -as in so many places - toward loft spaces, especially high-end. There are some really nice looking places, though prices that are way above the rest of the SA market. One issue here is the lack of amenities such as grocery stores in the downtown area. You don't have to drive forever to shop, but there is no place to run out for a quart of milk.
Another thing you might consider is the King William and Southown area. KW was orignally an enclave of German merchants in the 1800's, and there are some pretty impressive mini- and not so mini-mansions and historic structures. As you probably recall, the conservation/preservation ethic is very strong here.
Feel free to email me offline [email protected]
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 12:02 PM
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Welcome back to Texas, OO. I'll have to agree with Seamus. In Alamo Heights, Terrell Hills, Olmos Park you can find everything you need (in charming neighborhoods) without driving all over town. (10-15 minutes from the airport or an $8.00 cabfare.) And it's close enough to downtown to miss the traffic at 7/7.

I don't know which drive is worse - 281 or I-10. I just looked at a traffic map and I-10 from 1604 to downtown shows mostly 150-200k Annual Average Daily Traffic in 2000. 281 between 1604 and downtown shows 100-150k with a few portions more and less. The maps etc are at http://home.att.net/~texhwyman/sa_traffic.htm

I don't know what Loop 60 is. There are 2 loops in San Antonio, 410 and 1604.

Good luck finding a new home and moving!
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 12:21 PM
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Weeping ~ weeping~
Just when I was complaining about Tampa being too far to drive for frequent visits, you go to San Antonio Texas!!

I am happy for you, you will buy a nice new home of your own, your children will see you more often, babies will have grandma and grandpa nearby, but your Florida pals are gonna miss you
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 12:54 PM
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Congrats OO. Good luck with new horizons
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 12:57 PM
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Thank you guys, my FL friends. Your notes were so nice. You know, it's a bittersweet move. We've loved it here; we have put down deep roots making the move even harder. It'd almost be better to move every year, then it wouldn't be so tough saying good-bye. I hate them and do them very poorly! Sniff sniff. We had dinner Friday night with the head off CVB and his wife, who are friends as well, and told them then. He asked our waiter if he had a sharp knife. LOL But...this is Hyatt's philosophy and with the industry healthy once again, they are really into it. "If you've been in your hotel for 4 years you can expect to be moved" I knew it was coming and we'd already turned down one. That SA was what was offered next was wonderful, because we weren't sure how many "No's" we had! It's sort of going home again we were there so long the first time.

Joan, we are keeping the boat here for the time being. That'll serve as our condo for trips back, and yippee, I can even fly SW between Texas and Tampa now, living in SA! There's a lake just north of SA though that's deep enough for that size boat so it may move too eventually. We'll see. Logistics of that are too much to contemplate at the moment!

And TG, we'd have loved to have gotten CWB but couldn't stall them that long. The Hyatt wasn't where you all stayed...not sure what that is, but it's an interesting concept...convent to hotel. I imagine a few nuns rolled over in their graves. I laughed again thinking back to your comment on my wind whipped palm...looking like a bad perm. lol I will definitely not miss hurricane season! Hallelujah, we can travel again in the summer. You can bet though, I'll still track each one until it's safely past Tampa.

GT...that's kind....the more info I can get before getting there the better. I want to avoid two moves if possible...out of here, then into storage because we haven't been able to decide on anything.

Judy...Yes...that's the hardest part of a move. Because we kept our Dallas house for a while after moving, leasing it, I had to go back periodically and timed as many of my haircuts as possible with my trips back "home", but that only prolonged the agony of digging in and finding someone else. Good luck. Yes I will still be OO, though mostly a boatless OO and Popeye.

Seamus--I was so happy to see your response! Thanks so much, and I'll take you up on the email offer. There have been some fantastic renovations in AH. The virtual tours on realtor.com have been quite a help. One seemed so perfect until it came to the master bedroom...and they showed a little bi-fold door behind which we know was the only closet. I could search AH listings because I had their zip code (and now have heard about 09er's ). What are the names of the other neighborhoods adjacent to AH so I can find zip codes to plug into realtor.com?

We are so familiar with clearcut developments from Plano and absolutely do not want anything like that. After Plano, one of my husbands top priorities was to have a house where he isn't looking at someone else's rooftop, houses piled on top of each other...huge homes on small lots. There are a few of homes with long vistas from high on a hill, but all are way north, and these traffic descriptions are frightening.

I looked a little in King William...I remember that from trips to SA and it's being beautiful, but what I was seeing was close to a million! And there wasn't much at that.

Realtor.com is giving drive times of 25 minutes from an area in the northwest quadrant of 1604 and 281, and again, 1604 and 10. Outside of rush hour, is that realistic?

No doubt about it, AH and vicinity would be best if we could find something. What about safety downtown?

Also...I'm happy to be going back to a little more winter than what we have here, but what is summer like (keeping in mind that we live in FL now and I'll be the first to say...I hate our summers!) I hear so much about how terrible Houston is, but don't hear much about SA, and if I've been there in the summer, I can't remember.

I'm excited about the hiking I've seen in the area. Came across a website with a list of 24 hikes in varied terrain...brought big smiles to my face. Maybe that can become my exercise, rather than running.

Which reminds me...does any health club in the area stand out as being much better than the others?

So many questions...and probably not too much time. DH goes the 2nd for an owners meeting then it's a matter of how long can we stall the falling dominoes as GM after GM goes into their new property.
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 01:18 PM
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There were replies I missed as I wrote...and wrote...and wrote. Sorry that was so long winded.

Thanks for that link and added comments sundowner, confirming what Seamus has said and what I seem to hear over and over. I love the charm of old if we could find it...or even new in the older areas. I saw a listing of a condo on Kampmann and another on Terrell Rd that might give us the best of both worlds. Close in but new construction. I don't know that I have the intestinal fortitude for a renovation of my own--unless your contractors are a whole lot better than what we've found here!

Thanks mclaurie and Scarlett too. You know, being near at least one of our kids now makes this even more palatable. He's a 5 hour drive off, but when it's been a 3 hour plane trip for the past 11 years, a 5 hour drive sounds like heaven, and even more so now with the baby! Very big smile here. I am going to miss my FL pals too...but....weee'lllll be baaaack!
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 01:47 PM
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Okay OO, this is what I got from him (and he said he would be glad to refer you and Mr. OO to his parents who are WONDERFUL people).

Alamo Heights is one of the very nicest if not the nicest area of San Antonio.

Also look at Elm Creek. It is a very nice gated community.

Traffic will be the same on both I-10 and 281.
 
Old Jan 16th, 2005, 01:50 PM
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Hmm, so if the Yankee and I decide to leave Florida, San Antonio is sounding better and better
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 02:06 PM
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OO -
Yes there is the 09-er lore, and as with most lore there is agrain of truth! Still, it is a great place to live, and not overrun with ditzy bowheads and Davy Crockett wannabes.
In terms of ZIP codes to search on realtor.com, those that abut 09 can be good. Try 78212 for the Monte Vista historical area or Olmos Park. 78213 includes Castle Hills, another city within a city that at one time was rather upscale and still offers some nice homes on larger lots. If the Kampmann property is in your price range you should have no problem finding a place.
You asked about summers - not as nasty as Houston. We can have hot days and certainly have humidity that can get high at times, but not all the time and not as bad as Houston. This past summer was rather mild; last year we had a run of about a week with temps near 100. AC is everywhere, though, so life goes on. Winter looks like winter everywhere in terms of bare deciduous trees, but it rarely gets truly freezing other than the occasional blue norther than will drop temps overnight, and that usually lasts only a day or two if it does occur. You just haul in patio plants that might not take it well, throw a blanket over the ones too big to haul in, and rely on the regenerative powers of nature for the rest. We have used our (unheated) outdoor pool as early as late March and as late as October.
You asked about health clubs - there are the ubiquitous Bally's, Gold's, 24 Hour, etc., and there is a nice private club called the Concord that is on the edge of if not in 09.
In terms of renovating - having gone through a MAJOR one, it can take its toll. We lived in the house through it, and if I had it to do again that would be different. But, as a friend observed, it's rather like childbirth in that when you see and live with the finished product the memories of the pain recede. And it is a way to get the advantages of location and ambience of a good neighborhood, plus appreciation rates (not to scare you with thoughts of another move in the future!) tend to be much higher than in other newly developed/developing areas.
I do admit a bias in favor of SA - I've left twice and come back twice, and swear that I am not leaving again until I can afford the Paris penthouse.
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 02:07 PM
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OO, you might try these for your home search
http://www.kuperrealty.com/ or http://www.phyllisbrowning.com/
These are the signs I see most.
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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 02:10 PM
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And Miz Scahlett, do remember, deah, that in these parts the Yankee will ALWAYS be a Yankee, though after a sufficeint period of residence would qualify for the title of damn yankee.
Yankee = born above MD line, visits and says, "what a beautiful place, I shall go back home and tell everyone all about it"
Damn Yankee = born above MD line, visits and says, "what a beautiful place, I shall stay here."

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Old Jan 16th, 2005, 05:58 PM
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What news, OO. I think we put off our meeting in either Tampa or in Naples too long.

Guess we'll just have to make a trip to San Antonio now. It keeps coming up on my "next year maybe" list time and time again, but it's been years since we've been there.

And sadly my most vivid memory of San Antonio is a very drunk, very over the hill Robert Goulet attempting to sing The Star Spangled Banner at the big New Year's Eve bash at the Alamo. He didn't even know the first line of words nor the tune, and it went downhill from there.
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 07:00 AM
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Patrick, I will see your Robert Goulet and raise you one Tab Hunter as grand marshal of the year's premiere public event, the Fiesta Battle of the Flowers parade - the stuff of memories, I tell you!

OO, it seems you will be a nexus, occasioning many Fodorites to consider a visit to SA. Once you get settled let's plan a GTG!
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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Seamus, you may have upped the ante there, but did Tab Hunter attempt to sing? I think I may still hold the trump card!
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Old Jan 17th, 2005, 07:03 AM
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Well, this is good news for me, OO! Both DH and I have family that live in the San Antonio/Bandera area and we try to make it up that way when we are in Houston, so we'll have to get together!

Congrats to you and DH both on the job and the move. I think that you are really going to like San Antonio.
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