On December 3, 2013, the city of San Antonio in partnership with private property owners launched the open downtown pop up shop retail program to activate vacant storefronts by offering retailers a short-term no-cost lease during the holiday season.

Since its inception, the program has temporarily activated 14 vacant storefronts with over 60 local vendors. The program has been successful at creating activity and engaging the community along Houston Street and in St. Paul square.

Cities around the nation have inquired about the program for redeveloping retail and activating their center city. The open program was featured at the Newaukee empty storefronts conference in June, received an Ida merit award in September, and received best public/private partnership at Centro’s downtown’s best awards.

This summer, we expanded the program to city-owned spaces in an effort to further reduce retail vacancies in our downtown area. The open program currently has two active pop up tenants operating under 90 day temporary leases. Eye Candy Boutique, a women’s clothing and accessories boutique, opened at the Houston street garage (531 Navarro) in August 2015 and will remain open through mid-November. Kandi Factory, also featuring women’s fashions, just opened at La Villita in building 7 and will be open through January 2016.

This holiday season, we will continue expansion of the open program with additional pop up shops at la Villita, Houston Street, Travis Street and potentially other locations. The holiday pop up shops will be open from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m. on downtown Tuesdays and Saturdays starting December 2nd and continuing through December 29th.

Downtown residents, visitors, and workers will all have an exciting opportunity to support local entrepreneurs and help authenticate downtown as a vibrant urban space for long-term investment.

More information can be found at

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