Where I Live: Vidorra Condominiums

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By Lisa Marie Gomez and Megan Ryan Gomez

My friends rolled their eyes when I told them I was moving--again. “What the hell? You just moved last year!” True, but hear me out. My three children and I relocated to San Antonio from Brownsville in 2003 when I took a reporting position at the San Antonio Express-News. At the time, they were six, eight and 10 years old. My goal was to rent for a year, get to know the city, and figure out where to set roots.

Sunset view from the Vidorra

Since, we've moved EIGHT times.  It's been a challenge to find the right fit.

  • Move #1: Sunset Ridge Apartments, just off N. New Braunfels, 78209, perfect stepping stone at the time.
  • Move #2: Bought a house in Terrell Heights on Wellesley Street, 78209, cute house, but too small.
  • Move #3: Sold the Wellesley house, moved in to a large 4-bedroom/3-bath house with a giant, hard-to-maintain yard on Flamingo Street, 78209. Did I mention the yard was too big and hard to maintain?
  • Move #4: Bought a cute cottage just south of South Town on Tremlett Ave., 78210, as an investment. House is on the market. Any takers?
  • Move #5: Back to 78209 on Basse Road at the super chic Artessa Apartments that were Wow! both in luxury and price. Loved the location. Hated the price.
  • Move #6: A California-style condo on Burr Road, still in 78209.  Affordable,new, comfortable, a rental. Unfortunately, the condo owners sold my unit.
  • Move #7: Back into Sunset Ridge Apartments. Erin, 19, graduated from Alamo Heights High School (AHHS) and moved to Austin. Gabriel, 17-year-old junior, and Megan, a 15-year-old freshman, both at AHHS, could walk to school. That was nice, but the apartment was only 940-square-feet. Ugh!  And now, drum roll, please...
  • Move #8: Vidorra Condominiums, 215 N. Center Street, San Antonio, TX, 78202.

During Memorial Day Weekend, we moved from the comfort of 78209, where people walk their dogs, smile and wave when you drive by (even if they don’t know you) to 78202 --a.k.a. downtown San Antonio. Alamo Heights is a safe, caring community with cute houses, mature trees and a kick-ass school district. So why would we pick up and move downtown?

Exhibit A: The View

The first thing you notice when you walk in to our condo is the magnificent view. It feels like New York City, with a beautiful skyline view from my living and dining room, and the hypnotic humming of cars whizzing by 17 floors below. I was initially worried that the noise would bother me but it’s now a soothing background sound, like leaving the fan on when you sleep. Our condo is cozy, maybe 1,500 square-feet, small bedrooms with a large living room area.

View from Vidorra Condominiums

Daytime view from the Vidorra Condominiums

Megan and I spend alot of time hanging out by the salt-water pool or watching the sun set on our balcony. The kitchen, with nice granite countertops, sits in the center of the condo with a front row view of the city. I love to entertain and the space is appealing for us and our guests. The condos are built like vaults.  I can’t hear my neighbors at all, another pleasant surprise.   Only drawback: Megan’s room is not really a bedroom, it’s a study with no closet and no door. Luckily, most of her clothes are folded in her dresser. She’s using the hallway coat closet, which works just fine for now. We still need to find a solution for the door. Privacy is a big deal when you’re 15.

Exhibit B: The Neighbors

We have only met a few of them while riding up and down the elevator in the short time we’ve lived here. So far, everyone has been warm and welcoming. Case in point:  Megan and I had no plans on a recent Sunday afternoon, so we donned on our bathing suits, grabbed towels and headed for the pool. All the chairs were taken but within minutes two people offered theirs. Then we struck up a conversation and the next thing I knew, I had a margarita in hand. Just like that.

Megan had been complaining that she didn’t have any friends and never saw kids her age. Turns out we picked the right day to hang out at the pool. The lady who gave me a margarita also has a teenager who happened to be at the pool. Bingo!

Then we met another couple who has a 15-year-old son. Megan, who’s as social as I am, was in heaven. New condo now means new friends with different stories to tell. By nightfall, we all ended up touring each other’s condo and sharing a bottle of Champagne and ricotta cheesecake my boyfriend made the day before. I would say the average age is 40 - 50. Many are empty nesters who are tired of living in big houses north of 1604.

Exhibit C: Arts, Restaurants and Entertainment

Vidorra has an outstanding sky room on the 20th floor with an almost 360-degree view of downtown. I recently hosted a birthday party for my friend, Sharon Sander, and about 50 people attended. The evening was breezy, comfortable and guests really enjoyed the space and the view. This is one of my favorite perks of living at Vidorra--residents have access to this space free of charge, if you cleanup after the party, otherwise you pay $250.

Vidorra Apartments

Home sweet home at the Vidorra Condominiums

Either way, it’s a bargain.  Megan plays the flute for the Alamo Heights Band, and she’s a self-taught piano player.  She and I catch a play here and there and love attending the San Antonio Symphony concerts at the Majestic Theater. We love the idea of walking to Houston Street to listen to fine music and stopping by a restaurant along the way on the River Walk, which has become Megan’s playground. Exploring the beauty of downtown San Antonio has always been my favorite thing to do and now I get to share it with my daughter, who seems to appreciate it, too. My boyfriend, Mark Crum, and I enjoy walking over to Ruth’s Chris on Commerce Street where we ate a perfect medium rare steak and shared a nice cabernet down in the wine cellar. We languidly walked back to the condo and I couldn’t help but feel lucky.

Move #9?    Not anytime soon.

 

Photos by Megan Ryan Gomez

Lisa Marie Gomez owns her own boutique public relations firm, LMG Communications.  You can follow her on Twitter @followinglmg or connect with her on Linkedin.  Megan Ryan Gomez is a sophomore at Alamo Heights High School and plans to attend Texas A&M University upon graduation.