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San Antonio was named for the Portuguese Saint Anthony, whose feast day is on (June 13) when a Spanish expedition stopped in the area in 1691. San Antonio has a strong military presence-it is home to Fort Sam Houston, Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph Air Force Base, and Brooks San Antonio-Base, with Camp Bullis and Camp Stanley right outside San Antonio. Furthermore, Kelly Air Force Base (now Port San Antonio) operated out of San Antonio until 2001, when the airfield was transferred over to Lackland AFB and the remaining portions of the base became an industrial/business park. The decision to close Kelly and consolidate its resources came from the 1995 BRAC. San Antonio is also home to the South Texas Medical Center, the only medical research and care provider in the South Texas region.

Famous for its River Walk, the Alamo, Tejano culture, and home to the SeaWorld San Antonio and Six Flags Fiesta Texas theme parks, San Antonio is visited by 26 million tourists per year according to the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. San Antonio is also home to the first museum of modern art in Texas-the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, as well as one of the more successful National Basketball Association teams in league history, the San Antonio Spurs.

To say the least, There are many factors that attract people to look for a Real Estate in San Antonio; affordability, atability, and beauty are just some of the few traits that people use describe their reason for acquiring Real Estate in City. In addition, as just described the strong Military and Economic presence in the city attracts a great deal of people to the city.

Economy

San Antonio has a diversified economy with four primary focuses: financial services, health care, national defense, and tourism. Located northwest of San Antonio center is the South Texas Medical Center, the largest medical research and care provider in South Texas, which is a conglomerate of numerous major hospitals, clinics, and research and higher educational institutions. The center is "chief catalyst" for a $14 billion biomedical industry. It employs over 27,000 persons with a combined total budget of $2.8 billion. San Antonio is the only San Antonio in the United States hosting three Level I Trauma Centers within San Antonio limits (2 military, 1 civilian).

San Antonio is also home to one of the largest military concentrations in the United States. Fort Sam Houston on San Antonio's northeast side hosts Brooke Army Medical Center, focus of the U.S. Army's medical command and training functions. Lackland Air Force Base on San Antonio's west side is one of the world's largest training complexes. While it is known for hosting the U.S. Air Force's basic military training, it also hosts follow-on technical training for many other Air Force specialties, as well as other operations. Randolph Air Force Base on the far northeastern outskirts is the headquarters of the Air Education and Training Command, headquarters for Air Force personnel management and also hosts pilot and navigator training. Additionally, Brooks San Antonio-Base on San Antonio's south side and Port San Antonio (formerly Kelly Air Force Base) adjoining Lackland still have significant military presences as well as defense contractor businesses. The defense industry in San Antonio employs over 89,000 and provides a $5.25 billion impact to San Antonio's economy.

Twenty million tourists visit San Antonio and its attractions every year, contributing substantially to San Antonio's economy. The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center alone hosts more than 300 events each year with over 750,000 convention delegates from around the world. Tourism employs 94,000 citizens and makes an economic impact of over $8.7 billion in the local economy as revealed in the Economic Impact Study conducted every two years by the San Antonio Tourism Council and the research team of Dr. Richard Butler and Dr. Mary Stefl of Trinity University. Tourism also brings new annual revenues to San Antonio of San Antonio and other governmental entities with the hotel & motel tax, sales taxes and other revenues from hospitality agreements and contracts. This number exceeded over $160 million in the 2004 study.

San Antonio is home to five major Fortune 1000 companies: Valero Energy Corp, Tesoro Petroleum Corp, Clear Channel Communications, USAA, and NuStar Energy. Telecom giant AT&T was once based in San Antonio, but in June 2008, they announced their decision to move corporate headquarters to Dallas, Texas, but will continue to operate telecom operations in San Antonio, leaving 5,000 employees. The move will be complete near the end of 2008. Other companies finding home in San Antonio include: Advantage Rent A Car, Bill Miller Bar-B-Q, Frost National Bank, Harte-Hanks, H-E-B, Jim's Restaurants, NewTek, Rackspace, Southwest Research Institute, Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas, Taco Cabana, V. K. Knowlton Construction and Utilities, Zachry Construction, EyeMasters, Kinetic Concepts Inc, and Fairchild. Companies not headquartered in San Antonio but which have a strong presence in San Antonio include: Bank of America, Boeing, Caremark Rx Inc., The Capital Group Companies, Citibank, InfoNxx, QVC, NSA, Wachovia Bank, Washington Mutual, West Corporation, Harland Clarke and Lowe's, while Microsoft is currently constructing a server farm on San Antonio's northwest side. Other industries are establishing plants in the area, as San Antonio's economy continues to grow.

Geography

San Antonio is located near 29.5N 98.5W. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2000 San Antonio had a total area of 412.07 square miles (1,067.3 km) - 407.56 square miles (1,055.6 km) of land and 4.51 square miles (11.7 km) of water. San Antonio sits on the Balcones Escarpment.

The primary source of drinking water for San Antonio is the Edwards Aquifer. Impounded in 1962 and 1969, respectively, Victor Braunig Lake and Calaveras Lake were among the first reservoirs in the country built to use recycled treated wastewater for power plant cooling, reducing the amount of groundwater needed for electrical generation.

Climate

San Antonio's weather is alternately dry or humid depending on prevailing winds, turning hot in the summer, mild to cool winters subject to descending northern cold fronts in the winter with cool nights, and comfortably warm and rainy in the spring and fall. Only a few freezes occur each year and snow is rare.

In San Antonio, July and August tie for the average warmest months with an average high of 95 degrees Fahrenheit (35 C). The highest temperature ever to be recorded was 111 F (43.8 C) on September 5, 2000. The average coolest month is January. The lowest recorded temperature ever was 0 F (-17.7 C) on January 31, 1949. May, June, and October have quite a bit of precipitation. For the last 135 years, the average annual precipitation has been 29.05 inches (73.79 cm), with a maximum of 52.28 inches (132.79 cm) and a minimum of 10.11 inches (25.68 cm) in one year.

Demographics

According to the 2000 U.S. Census, San Antonio had a population of 1,144,646, ranking it the ninth-most populated San Antonio in the country. Due to San Antonio's low density rate and lack of significant population surrounding San Antonio limits, the metropolitan area ranked just 30th in the U.S. with a population of 1,592,383.

The median income for a household in San Antonio is $36,214, and the median income for a family is $53,100. Males have a median income of $30,061 versus $24,444 for females. The per capita income for San Antonio is $17,487. 17.3% of the population and 14.0% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 24.3% of those under the age of 18 and 13.5% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line.

Attractions

San Antonio is a popular tourist destination and Real Estate destination. The jewel of San Antonio is the River Walk, which meanders through the downtown area. Lined with numerous shops, bars, and restaurants, as well as the Arneson River Theater, this attraction is transformed into an impressive festival of lights during the Christmas and New Year holiday period, and is suffused with the local sounds of folklorico and flamenco music during the summer, particularly during celebrations such as the Fiesta Noche del Rio. Also based along the River Walk is the newly restored Aztec On The River, the only surviving exotic-themed movie palace in Texas.

The Alamo, located nearby, is Texas' top tourist attraction, while the River Walk is the second most visited attraction.

The downtown area also features Cathedral of San Fernando, The Majestic Theatre, HemisFair Park (home of the Tower of the Americas and the Institute of Texan Cultures), La Villita, El Mercado, the Spanish Governor's Palace, and the historic Menger Hotel. On the northern side of the Alamo complex, beside the Emily Morgan Hotel, is the San Antonio Cavalry Museum, which features cavalry artifacts and exhibits and is frequented by local re-enactors.

The Fairmont Hotel, built in 1906, is in the Guinness World Records as one of the heaviest buildings ever moved intact. It was placed in its new location, three blocks south of the Alamo, over four days in 1985, and cost $650,000 to move.

The Alamo, San Antonio's most famous attraction.

The holiday season on the River Walk

The Torch of Friendship sculpture

San Antonio's historic River Walk extends some 2 miles, attracting several million visitors every year.

San Antonio's downtown area

The Tower of the Americas characterizes San Antonio's skyline

The historic Bexar County Courthouse

The San Antonio Convention Center

The San Antonio Botanical Garden

San Antonio Missions National Historical Park

SeaWorld San Antonio

Aztec On The River Theater

Other places of interest include the The Woodlawn Theatre, the San Antonio Zoo, the Japanese Tea Gardens, Kumamoto En, Brackenridge Park, the missions of the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the Museo Alameda, the San Antonio Museum of Art, the Witte Museum, the Marion Koogler McNay Art Museum, SeaWorld San Antonio, Six Flags Fiesta Texas, the Texas Transportation Museum, and Splashtown San Antonio. Visitors can also experience something of the cowboy culture year round, they can see the 40-foot (12 m) tall cowboy boots at North Star Mall.

Beyond taking in the sights and sounds of San Antonio, tourists can sample some of its world famous Tex-Mex cuisine at the many fine restaurants located throughout San Antonio. Mexican restaurants are abundant in virtually all parts of town, and most - except for those in the Far North and some of the Uptown enclaves like Alamo Heights - are relatively inexpensive. Some outstanding examples of Tex-Mex eateries include Jacala, on West Avenue on the near Northwest side, La Hacienda de Los Barrios, on the North East side, and Los Barrios, on the near North side of town.

Sports

Current teams

Sport League Club Founded Venue League championships Championship years Basketball NBA San Antonio Spurs 1967 AT&T Center 4 1999, 2002-03, 2004-05, 2006-07 Basketball WNBA San Antonio Silver Stars 1997 AT&T Center 0 N/A Hockey AHL San Antonio Rampage 2002 AT&T Center 0 N/A Baseball TL San Antonio Missions 1968 Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium 11 1897, 1903, 1908, 1933, 1950, 1961, 1964, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2007

The AT&T Center is home to the 4-time NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs. The AT&T Center is home to the 4-time NBA champions, the San Antonio Spurs. San Antonio's only top-level professional sports team, and consequently the team most San Antonians follow, is the San Antonio Spurs of the National Basketball Association. The Spurs have been playing in San Antonio since 1973 and have won four NBA Championships (1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007). Previously, the Spurs played at the Alamodome, which was built for football, and before that the HemisFair Arena, but the Spurs built -- with public money -- and moved into the SBC Center in 2002, since renamed the AT&T Center, following the merger of SBC and AT&T.

The AT&T Center is also home to the San Antonio Rampage of the American Hockey League and the San Antonio Silver Stars of the WNBA, both owned by the Spurs. San Antonio is also home to the Double-A Minor League affiliate of the San Diego Padres, the San Antonio Missions who play at Nelson Wolff Stadium on the west side of San Antonio. San Antonio also hosts the NCAA football Alamo Bowl each December. San Antonio also has two rugby union teams, the Alamo San Antonio Rugby Football Club, and San Antonio Rugby Football Club.

The University of Texas at San Antonio fields San Antonio's only NCAA Division I athletic teams known as the UTSA Roadrunners. The university recently voted on the addition of a football team.

San Antonio is also home of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, played annually in the Alamodome and televised live on NBC. The Bowl is an East versus West showdown featuring the nation's top 90 high school senior football players. The game has featured NFL stars Reggie Bush, Vince Young, Adrian Peterson, and many other college and NFL stars. The U.S. Army All-American Bowl also includes the U.S. Army All-American Marching Band, the U.S. Army National Combine, and the U.S. Army Coaches Academy, all of which take place in San Antonio during the week leading up to the game itself.

The U.S. Army All-American Marching Band features 91 of the nation's top high school senior marching musicians who perform during halftime of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. The U.S. Army National Combine features 500 of the nation's top high school underclassman football players. The U.S. Army Coaches Academy features 100 of the nation's top high school football coaches, including the coaches of each U.S. Army All-American. The Bowl and its related events are owned and produced by SportsLink, a New Jersey-based sports marketing and event management company.

Government

Further information: List of mayors of San Antonio, Texas San Antonio of San Antonio runs under a Council-Manager form of government. San Antonio is divided into 10 council districts designed to ensure equal population distribution between all districts. Each district elects one person to sit on San Antonio Council with the mayor elected on a San Antonio-wide basis. All members of San Antonio Council, which includes the mayor, are elected to two-year terms and are limited to two total terms. All positions are elected on non-partisan ballots as required by Texas law. Council members are paid $20 a meeting, while the Mayor earns $4,000 a year. Most council members maintain full-time employment in addition to their positions on the council.

The council hires San Antonio Manager to handle day to day operations. The council effectively functions as San Antonio's legislative body with San Antonio Manager acting as its Chief Executive, responsible for the management of day to day operations and execution of council legislation.

The current mayor is Phil Hardberger (an active supporter of the U.S. Democratic Party, but officially elected on a non-partisan basis). Before he took office as San Antonio's mayor, he served as Chief Justice on the Fourth Court of Appeals of Texas. The current San Antonio Manager is Sheryl Sculley.

San Antonio stretches into several national congressional districts and is represented in Congress by the following:

Senate

Kay Bailey Hutchison (R)

John Cornyn (R)

House of Representatives

Texas District 20 - Charlie Gonzalez (D)

Texas District 21 - Lamar Smith (R)

Texas District 23 - Ciro Rodriguez (D)

Texas District 28 - Henry Cuellar (D)

Growth policy

Unlike most large cities in the U.S., San Antonio is not completely surrounded by independent suburban cities and under Texas law it exercises extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) over much of the surrounding unincorporated land, including directing growth and zoning. It pursues an aggressive annexation policy and opposes the creation of other municipalities within its ETJ. Nearly three-fourths of its current land area has been annexed since 1960. In recent years, San Antonio has annexed several long narrow corridors along major thoroughfares in outlying areas to facilitate eventual annexation of growth developing along the routes. San Antonio plans to annex nearly forty additional square miles by 2009.

Involuntary annexation is a controversial issue in those parts of unincorporated Bexar County affected by it. Residents, attracted to the outlying areas by lower taxes and affordable real estate values, often see annexation as a mechanism to increase property tax rates without a corresponding improvement in services such as police and fire protection, while San Antonio regards its annexation policy as essential to its overall prosperity.

Education

University of Texas at Antonio (UTSA) is San Antonio's largest university

Main article: Education in San Antonio, Texas San Antonio hosts over 100,000 students across its 31 higher-education facilities which include The University of Texas at San Antonio, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, and the Alamo Community College District's five colleges. Some of the private schools include St. Mary's University, Our Lady of the Lake University, University of the Incarnate Word, Trinity University, and Wayland Baptist University. The San Antonio Public Library serves all of these institutions along with the 17 school districts within San Antonio.

San Antonio is also home to more than 30 private schools and charter schools. These schools include San Antonio Academy, Central Catholic Marianist High School, Holy Cross High School, Incarnate Word High School, and St. Anthony Catholic High School.

Transportation

San Antonio International Airport is located in north central San Antonio, approximately eight miles from downtown. It has two terminals and is served by 21 airlines serving 43 destinations including three in Mexico. An extensive bus and trolley system (vehicular not rail) is provided by San Antonio's metropolitan transit system, VIA Metropolitan Transit. VIA is among the most economical large transit authorities in the nation and offers over 80 regular bus routes and four trolley routes, including express service from downtown to the West, Northwest, North Central and Northeast parts of San Antonio including UTSA, Six Flags Fiesta Texas and Sea World. VIA also offers a special service to San Antonio events, including Spurs games and San Antonio parades, from its Park and Ride locations.

Amtrak, the national passenger rail service, provides service to San Antonio at San Antonio Amtrak Station, operating its Texas Eagle daily between San Antonio and Chicago's Union Station. Amtrak also operates its Sunset Limited three times a week in each direction through San Antonio between Los Angeles and Orlando, Florida (currently truncated to New Orleans due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina). The Texas Eagle section travels between San Antonio and Los Angeles as part of the Sunset Limited. The old Sunset Station is now an entertainment venue owned by VIA and neighbored by the current station and the Alamodome.

San Antonio is served by these major freeways:

Interstate 10 - McDermott Freeway (Northwest) to El Paso, Jose Lopez Freeway (East) to Houston

Interstate 35 - Pan Am Expressway (Northeast/Southwest) - runs between Laredo, Austin, Waco, and Dallas

Interstate 37 - Lucian Adams Freeway (Southeast) - runs from San Antonio to Corpus Christi

Interstate 410 - Connally Loop - simply called Loop 410 (four-ten) by locals

U.S. Highway 90 - Cleto Rodriguez Freeway (West) to Uvalde and Del Rio. Prior to I-10 East and US 90 expressway being built US 90 traveled through the west side via West Commerce St. (westbound) and Buena Vista St. (eastbound) as well as along Old Hwy 90. On the east side it traveled along East Commerce to its current alignment.

U.S. Highway 281 - McAllister Freeway (North) to Johnson San Antonio and Wichita Falls. Southbound, it runs concurrent with I-37, then I-410 for 4 miles (6 km), then heads south to McAllen. Prior to I-37 and McAllister Fwy. being built US 281 traveled through the north side via San Pedro Ave. and the south side via Roosevelt Ave.

State Highway 151 - leads to the "Westplex" which includes Westover Hills and SeaWorld.

Loop 1604 - Charles W. Anderson Loop - simply called 1604 (sixteen-oh-four) by locals - serves as the outer loop for San Antonio, like Houston's Beltway 8. Other highways include:

U.S. Highway 87 - Southbound to Victoria along Rigsby Avenue. It runs concurrent with I-10 for 52 miles (84 km) where it goes to San Angelo northbound.

U.S. Highway 181 - Starts 0.5 miles (0.8 km) south of Loop 410/I-37/US 281 junction and goes to Beeville and Corpus Christi. Prior to I-37 being built US 181 traveled along Presa St. from downtown to its current alignment.

State Highway 16 - From Freer, it runs concurrent with Loop 410 for 17 miles (27 km) along southwest San Antonio, over to Bandera Road to Bandera.

Loop 345 - Prior to I-10 being built this was the former alignment of US 87 which goes along Fredericksburg Road, where it meets with I-10/US 87 both ways.

Loop 368 - Prior to I-35 north being built this was former alignment of US 81 north section which goes along Broadway to Austin Highway.

Loop 353 - Prior to I-35 south being built this was the former alignment of US 81 south section which goes along Nogalitos St. to New Laredo Hwy. (formerly Laredo Hwy. when US 81 was signed.)

Loop 13 - Serves as San Antonio's inner loop on the south side serving Lackland AFB, Port San Antonio, South Park Mall and Brooks San AntonioBase traveling along Military Dr. on the south side and WW White Rd. on the east side. Formerly traveled along the current alignment of I-410 on the north side before the expressway was completed.