Brooks City Base Evolving Name to ''Brooks''
Brooks City Base will now be known simply as “Brooks” in an effort to align the development’s name with its identity as an up-and-coming San Antonio community with a vision as big as Texas.
Since the closure of Brooks Air Force Base in 2002, Texas, Bexar County, City of San Antonio leaders and the Brooks Development Authority board have transformed the 1,300-acre property into a thriving mixed-use development with more than 30 businesses, apartment homes, a hospital, a full-service hotel, a medical school, K-12 charter schools, event venues, retail and dining options and a soon-to-be-open 43-acre park.
But in a 2015 survey conducted by Baselice & Associates, 52 percent of San Antonio residents said they thought Brooks was still a military installation. Tenants often field calls asking if the apartment homes are only for military families, or if they need identification to get on campus, said Brooks President & CEO Leo Gomez. With 750 acres available for future development, Gomez wants to make sure Brooks is sending the right message to the San Antonio community and beyond.
“We’re not an island anymore,” Gomez said. “There are no fences, no guard shacks. We’re open for business.”
After the base closed, Brooks initially adopted a mission to become a research and technology center. But as times changed, leadership adapted. Today, the Brooks mission is to be an economic engine for San Antonio by building a mixed-use community that will attract large employers.
Though many people already refer to the development simply as “Brooks,” the board approved, this month, to make the name change official to help clear up any misconceptions in the wider community. Digital and social assets have been migrated to “Live Brooks” and signage will soon reflect the change.
Though Brooks is no longer a military base, its stewards have paid homage to its history in design motifs and names such as the Aviator and the Kennedy apartment homes and FLYTE gathering space, and in the thorough restoration of the Sidney Brooks Memorial Gravesite and Hangar 9, the oldest wooden aircraft hangar of its kind in in its original location.
“Our history and legacy is part of what makes us unique,” said Manuel Villa, Chairman of the Brooks Board of Directors. “But at the same time, we want people to know that we have evolved into a place that’s buzzing with life, a place where everyone is welcome.”
Before making the change, Brooks officials discussed it in focus groups with current and potential residents and businesses, as well as in town hall meetings open to the public. Tenants say they are pleased with the new direction.
“When Brooks first opened to the public, the military presence created a marketing advantage. Now, rooftops, retail, jobs and access are the selling point,” said Dan Markson, Senior Vice President at the NRP Group, which runs the Kennedy apartment homes. “The name evolution clarifies the essence of today’s Brooks.”
With a newly-opened, full-service hotel on campus, it’s especially important that locals know Brooks is a great place for visiting family and friends to stay while exploring San Antonio. Villa added, “You don’t need your ID to get on campus, but the bartender may ask for it when you order a signature Paloma cocktail at Nineteen 17 Bar & Restaurant.”