See how much Alamo Ranch has changed Far Westside San Antonio

In 2020 alone, a wave of subdivisions behind Alamo Ranch Marketplace and beyond led to population growth rates of 325% and 298%. Nowadays, we know Alamo Ranch as the place where you can find Target, Chick-fil-A, Mama Margie’s, and one of Santikos’ biggest movie theaters, Casa Blanca.

This is the Culebra Road as we know it today.

William Luther / Staff

Head down Alamo Ranch Parkway, you can find new retail centers popping up outside growing subdivisions, including a fairly new HEB.

The area looked quite different 17 years ago. Save for a Jim’s Restaurant on the corner of Culebra and 1604, most knew that driving past that would only lead you to Taft High School, the Cordi Marian Sisters, and miles of country leading you right to the shores of Medina Lake.

On the left, is a Google satellite image from 1989, and on the right is Alamo Ranch in 2020.

On the left, is a Google satellite image from 1989, and on the right is Alamo Ranch in 2020.

Screenshot courtesy of Google Timelapse

MySA dug through the archives to look at some of the key moments that brought Alamo Ranch to where it is today.

Press play below to see a time lapse of Alamo Ranch’s growth.


Cordi Marian Sisters sold off about 160 acres of their land to area developers.  New homes can be seen encroaching on their complex behind the statue of Jesus.

Cordi Marian Sisters sold off about 160 acres of their land to area developers. New homes can be seen encroaching on their complex behind the statue of Jesus.

JOHN DAVENPORT / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

Cordi Marian Sisters saw it coming – circa 2005

If anyone saw the boom of housing coming, it was the Cordi Marian Sisters, who sold about 160 acres for $ 2 million to Alamo Ranch developers Walt Busby and Brad Galo of Galo Properties around 2005.

New homes in the Alamo Ranch area were merely slabs in 2006.

New homes in the Alamo Ranch area were merely slabs in 2006.

Express-News File Photo

Hill Country Retreat – 2006

Michigan-based Pulte Homes started with 1,600 acres for the Alamo Ranch subdivision near Loop 1604 and Potranco Road, not far from the Del Webb Hill Country Retreat, an upscale retirement community, according to Express-News archives.

New roadways had to be created as developers started on some of the first subdivisions being built around Hill Country Retreat.

New roadways had to be created as developers started on some of the first subdivisions being built around Hill Country Retreat.

Express-News File Photo

At the time, Dale Kane of San Antonio-based First American Realty told the Express-News that builders planned 5,000 homes per year to reach 70,000 homes by 2016.

Construction crews were just getting started on Alamo Ranch Marketplace in 2006.

Construction crews were just getting started on Alamo Ranch Marketplace in 2006.

Courtesy of EMJ Corporation

900,000 square feet of retail – 2007

In 2007, developer Archon Group had just laid out plans for the Alamo Ranch Marketplace – 900,000 square feet of retail development on 120 acres off Loop 1604 and Culebra Road.

In 2006, Alamo Ranch Marketplace was all dirt.  Construction crews were just getting started.

In 2006, Alamo Ranch Marketplace was all dirt. Construction crews were just getting started.

Express-News File Photo

Construction crews started turning dirt in September 2007 with plans to open the first phase of stores in 2008.

Alamo Ranch Marketplace was just aa few shell buildings in 2007.

Alamo Ranch Marketplace was just aa few shell buildings in 2007.

JOHN DAVENPORT / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

Alamo Ranch Marketplace first opened in 2008.

Alamo Ranch Marketplace first opened in 2008.

JOHN DAVENPORT / SAN ANTONIO EXPRESS-NEWS

Alamo Ranch Marketplace – 2008

Alamo Ranch Marketplace opened its first stores, including Ross and Target, in 2008.

A few hundred people wait in line outside the July 4th, 2013 opening of the area's first Steak 'n Shake.  The first 150 people in line receive free food for a year.

A few hundred people wait in line outside the July 4th, 2013 opening of the area’s first Steak ‘n Shake. The first 150 people in line receive free food for a year.

Michael Knoop / San Antonio Express-News

Steak n ‘Shake craze – 2013

Steak n ‘Shake opened its first location in San Antonio at Alamo Ranch. People lined up outside the building to be one of the first 150 people in the store, earning free food for a year. The burger shop has not been doing as well as once hoped.

This would kick off the opening of other restaurants like Dunkin ‘Donuts, Raising Cane’s Chicken, and In n’ Out.

TxDOT began construction on the Loop 1604 to State Highway 151 flyover in 2015.

TxDOT began construction on the Loop 1604 to State Highway 151 flyover in 2015.

Express-News File Photo

The flyover – 2015

More homes mean more traffic. TxDOT began construction on Highway 151 at Loop 1604 flyover. The flyover turns into Alamo Ranch Parkway, leading people working in San Antonio back to their Alamo Ranch homes. It opened in 2017.

Santikos Casa Blanca Theater off Alamo Ranch Parkway off 1604 opened in 2016.

Santikos Casa Blanca Theater off Alamo Ranch Parkway off 1604 opened in 2016.

Kin Man Hui / San Antonio Express-News

Santikos moves in – 2016

Santikos opened the Casa Blanca movie theater in 2016 featuring 16 all-laser projection screens and 16 bowling lanes with a full-service bar and kitchen.

HEB opened a new store in San Antonio at Alamo Ranch in 2017.

HEB opened a new store in San Antonio at Alamo Ranch in 2017.

Courtesy HEB

HEB does more – 2017


HEB already had a store at Culebra and 1604, but in 2017 it opened a store on Alamo Ranch Parkway. Now the area past this store is one of the fastest growing in Bexar County.

Cars navigate the intersection of Culebra Road and Westwood Loop in the Far West Side beyond Loop 1604, where traffic is a constant complaint.  Three census tracts in the area had Bexar County's fastest population increases from 2010 to 2020 - one of them grew 468 percent.

Cars navigate the intersection of Culebra Road and Westwood Loop in the Far West Side beyond Loop 1604, where traffic is a constant complaint. Three census tracts in the area had Bexar County’s fastest population increases from 2010 to 2020 – one of them grew 468 percent.

William Luther / Staff

Leave a Comment