Apartment construction threatens to ruin San Marcos charm


Graphic courtesy of the Cost Guys

Laura Figi, Life and Arts Editor

San Marcos is affectionately known as “San Marvelous” for a reason; people fall in love with its charm after spending time here, be it for school or work. While the city is known for its close-knit community feel, recent construction is threatening unwelcome change.

Big box apartment complex construction will ruin the charm permeating San Marcos.

The complexes, once complete, will effectively ruin the skyline, the view of Old Main and the iconic city view from the Undergraduate Academic Center arch. One of the cardinal reasons people choose Texas State over other state schools is the beauty on and off the campus.

Texas State is widely regarded as one of the most beautiful schools in Texas, mainly due to its prominence atop the hill; at the highest parts of campus, the entire city all the way up to I-35 is viewable. A massive, 15-story apartment building is convenient for the select people who live there but ruins the aesthetic for the vast majority of San Marcos residents who will never set foot in that complex.

San Marcos is filled to the brim with “luxury student living.” These apartments wind up being incredibly expensive due to their central location and excessive grandeur, leaving a majority of students unable to afford such residences.

In a nutshell, this is gentrification, albeit on a micro-scale but still catering solely to students who attend with money. Unlike older complexes—ones that have stood the test of time—these brand-new buildings have no character and fail to showcase what San Marcos has to offer; they barely skim the surface.

On top of catering to wealthy students, such complexes neglect the small but growing population of young professionals. People from San Antonio and Austin alike seek residence in San Marcos to cut living costs but as years go on, find housing affordability is waning, while growing increasingly similar in price compared to larger surrounding cities.

As for people who work in San Marcos, the affordable, non-student housing options are few and far between. Median annual household income, according to Mayor Jane Hughson, is $50,000, making affordable housing hard to find. Current construction makes the City of San Marcos more interested in catering to short-term student residents and less invested in providing for the young professionals who live here full-time.

In regards to young professionals, San Marcos is the third most expensive place to own a home in Texas. These over-the-top apartment complexes cost nearly the same per month as a mortgage payment, and if a working professional cannot afford that rate, there is no way a self-supporting student could reasonably do so either.

Because San Marcos is experiencing exponential growth, the city government is convening on how to gracefully handle new development. However, city council needs to seek additional ways to implement non-student population growth and nurture those in the demographic seeking permanent life here.

San Marcos is not solely a college town. It is important to acknowledge people are raised here and choose to stay; moving to this city is cost-effective and necessary for affordable living.

Housing is incredibly important and in demand, but it does not have to grow in such an ugly way. There are responsible ways to meet demand for housing while keeping the residents happy and the city beautiful.

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