City Targets Two Troubled East Side Properties

click to enlarge The City of San Antonio ordered the Handy Stop on the 600 block of North New Braunfels Avenue shut down. - Google screenshot
Google screenshot
The City of San Antonio ordered the Handy Stop on the 600 block of North New Braunfels Avenue shut down.
The City of San Antonio this week took legal action to shut down two properties on the near East Side that authorities say are hot spots for drug use.

News broke Friday that the Handy Stop, at 627 N. New Braunfels, will be forced to close its doors in October, the San Antonio Express-News reports. The City has also filed a lawsuit seeking the closure of a private residence on the 900 block of East Crockett for one year. Police say reason behind both legal actions include crack cocaine and rampant crime.  

Handy Stop agreed to shut down after a San Antonio Police Department Dangerous Assessment Response Team, or DART, investigated the property after receiving 600 calls for police service over the past few years because of shootings, knife attacks, prostitution, aggravated assaults and drug use, according to a Nuisance Abatement Compliance Agreement first obtained by the Rivard Report.

After the City gave the Handy Stop a long list of violations it needed to remedy, including patching up bullet holes in the building, the business owners agreed to close up shop, according to E-N.

As for the property on the 900 block of East Crockett, staff with Councilman Alan Warrick's office (both locations are in his district) say it's a well-known crack house that police have been called to more than 200 times in the past three years. "Defendant has continually and knowingly maintained a place to which persons habitually go for the purposes of possession, manufacture, use and/or delivery of controlled substances," the lawsuit states. "Over the course of three years, there have been 215 calls for police service regarding the criminal activity at the single-family residential property."

Warrick said on Friday afternoon that the latest action against the Handy Stop and the private residence on East Crockett are part of a concerted effort to crack down on landlords and business owners who he says have negatively impacted progress made in the Dignowity Hill neighborhood. He said 15 properties in total have been targeted by DART teams since the beginning of the year.

"You see, the issue we have had is all the development is closer to Downtown and not on the New Braunfels corridor," Warrick said. "There's kind of a stark difference in the atmosphere."

Near the city's center, places like Dignowity Meats and Alamo Brewery have taken hold. There's been an increase in higher end apartment complexes that have cropped up. Developers are restoring vacant historic homes and selling them for hundreds of thousands of dollars. But just up the street on New Braunfels, there are hundreds of police calls for service, various shootings, some fatal, and constant crime," Warrick said.

As the district continues to try and balance development with gentrification in Dignowity Hill, Warrick said the effort to target nuisance businesses will continue on New Braunfels, pushing farther east. "Economic development is a deterrent to crime and violence, but crime and violence are a deterrent to economic development," Warrick said.

Warrick hopes new established businesses, like say a Valero, will move into places like the Handy Stop. He believes that shutting down properties where crime is a common occurrence will make companies reconsider opening up business on New Braunfels, bringing jobs for residents. "We don't want to kick [long-time residents] out," he said. "We want to give them a way to stay as the real value and intrinsic value of the neighborhood increases."


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