SAN ANTONIO– Aviator, Brooks City Base’s newest apartment complex, celebrated its grand opening Thursday with a ceremony and “passport tour.” Partly re-purposed from the barracks of Brooks Air Force Base, the apartment homes range from studio to 3-bedroom layouts and include contemporary amenities such as a recreation room with billiards and ping pong.
Following a ceremony hosted by singer and Fox San Antonio and WOAI-TV personality Erica Gonzaba, guests toured the unique, modern spaces while sampling food from different countries from Thailand to France, a nod to Brooks’ history as an international Air Force base.
Once slated for demolition, the old barracks for enlisted personnel and students received a new lease on life when Brooks’ leadership chose instead to make them a model for adaptive reuse. The apartment’s leasing office used to be the dining hall, while the pavilion located at the apartment once held meetings for the servicemen and women.
“Though Brooks is no longer a military base, that history is what makes us unique,” said Leo Gomez, President & CEO of Brooks. “As we grow into a thriving, mixed-use community, we are preserving pieces of that legacy while meeting today’s needs, turning these buildings into places where folks can once again live, work and play. We are immensely proud of the Aviator project and think it’s going to create a lively new community here at Brooks.”
Philip Elmore, now Director of Facilities and Campus Landscape Maintenance for Brooks, lived in the barracks in the 1990s when he was a Medical Administrative Specialist at the School of Aerospace Medicine.
“To see these buildings come full circle is really exciting. What better opportunity than to turn these barracks into residential housing?” said Elmore.
Elmore arrived to Brooks Air Force Base in 1989 and was assigned to the dorm on the second floor, where he shared a bathroom with three other men. A roommate from Guam kept the room at tropical temperatures, Elmore recalled. When he drives by today, Elmore still remembers the space where he used to park his first new car, the buildings where he sat in meetings and waited in line at the dining hall.
Elmore served for 10 years before separating and joining Brooks as a contractor, and then later as an employee. Whether as a soldier or a civilian, Elmore has worked in every single building on the campus. He’s been able to watch Brooks transition from active military base to the robust community it is today.
“It’s exciting and emotional,” said Elmore. “The whole revitalization is awesome and brings a smile to my face.”
Built in partnership with 210 Development Group and the PPA Group, Aviator has 280 units with rent ranging from $667 to $1,500 per month. Residents can enjoy community features such as BBQ/picnic areas, bike racks, fitness center, bocce ball court, game room, pool, and covered parking. The units include high ceilings, all the necessary appliances, hardwood floors, large closets, patios, and washer/dryer hookups.
At the grand opening event, guests were invited to take an international “passport tour” where they visited various foreign locations such as France, Italy, Thailand, Mexico, Fiji, Puerto Rico and Hawaii. Each location served food from the region prepared by local chefs.
Connie Gonzalez (210) 878-9336