Regional Highlight: Universal City
Situated just 1.4 miles Northeast of San Antonio, Universal City boasts many unique features that set it apart from surrounding communities. Universal City has always been a leader in participating in environmental and energy savings programs.
greater:SATX visited with Kristin Mueller, Economic Development Director and City Clerk for the City of Universal City.
Tell us a little about Universal City?
Since its incorporation in 1962, Universal City has been dubbed “The Gateway to Randolph Air Force Base”. Decades later, with a population just under 20,000, the fabric of the military and the City are still intertwined through its strong partnerships, land use planning, and the fostering of patriotism and community. Pat Booker Road and Kitty Hawk Road, the main thoroughfares for the City and the Base, are not only a home to a variety of businesses but provide convenient access to Loop 1604, I-10, and I-35. Because of its proximity to San Antonio, Universal City offers all the advantages of a bustling metropolitan area with the comfort of a warm, close-knit community. Often referred to as “a real-life Mayberry” by its residents, Universal City’s friendly neighbors, safe streets, great parks, and a strong sense of community spirit make Universal City a great place for residents, businesses, and visitors.
What makes Universal City unique within the San Antonio region?
Situated just 1.4 miles Northeast of San Antonio, Universal City boasts many unique features that set it apart from surrounding communities. Universal City has always been a leader in participating in environmental and energy savings programs. Specifically, the City is known for its reuse water practices, and as the first Green Power Community in the State of Texas through the use of wind power. It was the first municipality in Texas to purchase solar power and over the lifetime of the solar project Universal City’s solar use will result in the equivalent of almost 10,000 trees being planted. In addition to being a leader in clean energy, Universal City is also a leader in clean water, winning awards throughout the years for “Best Tasting Ground Water” in the state and nation.
If you could highlight one major statistic or project, what would it be?
The City of Universal City and the Universal City EDC own approximately 43 acres of land located near Loop 1604 and Byrd, the last vacant property of that size in Universal City. Currently, the City of Universal City and the Economic Development Corporation are working to adopt a Planned Unit Development and to create a mixed-use development consisting of retail, industrial, multi-family, senior living components. The public/private project is an approximate $150MM investment. The developer has been selected and infrastructure improvements are anticipated to start early 2025. Additionally, on the 10 acres adjacent to the future development, the City is working to develop a new park that will consist of a lake with fishing piers, walking trails, pickleball courts, pavilions and playground equipment. Connectivity to adjacent retail and recreational facilities is a key component of the development.
What makes your community a great place for people and jobs?
The people – hands down. Whether it is mowing lawns for their neighbors who can’t, supporting a business a little extra when it needs it the most, or volunteering hours on end to make a community event successful, the people of Universal City have the biggest hearts and always show up for one another. The strong social fabric and sense of community here is unlike anything I have ever seen. The cultural and recreational activities supported by volunteers and the local business community contribute to the vibrant pulse of Universal City. A plethora of community volunteers, businesses, and Staff work together to provide over 26 community events each year. In addition to its amazing residents and cultural and recreational events, Universal City has over 470 acres of parkland featuring the region’s largest splashpad, sport fields and courts, walking trails, disc golf, and one of the nation’s top public golf courses, the Olympia Hills Golf Course and Event Center. More significant advantages of living in Universal City are the access to employment opportunities and the affordability of housing. Residents of Universal City have excellent access to many major employers and job opportunities in the greater San Antonio metropolitan area. Universal City’s housing expenses are 33% lower than the national average, making it an attractive location to call home.