SAN ANTONIO — Matthew Zertuche grew up on San Antonio’s West Side in an area that’s historically Mexican-American and plagued with poverty. He took a trip down memory lane to a staple in his neighborhood known to keep kids out of trouble — Cuellar Park.
"Friends around the block, let's walk to the park, so it would just be a quick 10-15 minute walk having to run the dogs. Cooling off in the pool, being there for a couple of hours, finishing it up with games to 21 and running fives," Zertuche says. "It was great being active as a kid."
This area is full of ma-and-pa businesses, but Zertuche attended something he never thought he would near his barrio — a Smashing Pumpkins concert.
"That was the last thing I would expect. I would definitely be thinking Smashing Pumpkins would be out at the AT&T Center for sure, maybe not even in San Antonio sometimes," Zertuche says. "It was surreal, I guess."
This concert was held at Tech Port SA, which is a $70 million, 130,000-square-foot technology and entertainment facility. It also recently hosted a huge Esports competition.
This is the idea of Jim Perschbach, CEO of Port San Antonio, which describes itself as a dynamic technology and innovation campus.
"There are people who live far away from this campus who have no idea what is going on on this campus and, more importantly, that there are opportunities for them on this campus," Perschbach said. "There are people throughout San Antonio and the region."
It’s a campus that has created thousands of jobs and will also create an additional 600 jobs as it will become the global headquarters for DaLorean. Jim believes that Tech Port SA will expose folks from Zertuche’s barrio and beyond to opportunities that they never knew existed.
"You show them that they are capable of doing cyber work, they are capable of doing robotics or aviation. None of this is that hard. We are going to have flight simulators there, we are going to have robots in there, we are going to have cyber operations," Perschbach said.
Zertuche believes this will only mean great things for this historic neighborhood.
"Know that it’s going on and how big the economic growth is. A lot of people in the area are going to hopefully get some jobs out there, there’s going to be a lot of money to be made there, a lot of prime-time stuff there," Zertuche said.