Quarry Market Shopping Center
E. Basse Rd & Hwy 281
San Antonio, TX
Submitted by: Maureen Meredith
A giant retail complex whose elements are so spread out that shoppers might as well drive between them.
This shopping center was built where a stone quarry once operated. It is a sprawling sea of parking spaces with stores flung about on the edges.The stores are so spread out that you have to drive to practically each and every one of them. With a little more thought and creativity, the developers/builders/architects could have designed a wonderful "town center" where shoppers could amble around the square(s), sip coffee on patios, and chat by the water fountain on park benches. But alas, the actual users of the shopping center weren't taken into consideration. Even though I live just a half-mile from this shopping center, I refuse to shop there because it's so user-unfriendly. Every time I see it, I lament the lost opportunities. I hope to live in San Antonio long enough to see it bulldozed one day so a new, improved development can replace it.
What Puts Quarry Market Shopping Center in the Hall of Shame?
There are high-density apartment complexes near it with some very high-end single-family residences. It's accessible by foot from these developments, but I've never seen people walking there while I've been around it. It is also accessible by bus, and obviously, by car. Car seems to be the dominate mode of transportation to it and around it.
This development is massive and intimidating. The pedestrian feels overwhelmed by the massive parking lot and great expanse of stores which feels like they're miles apart. If a person walked there from a nearby apartment, they'd actually NEED a car to get around the center to shop!
Because the shopping center is so poorly designed, shopping by car seems to be the only realistic use. The only space I've seen people just "hanging out" is the coffee shop in the Borders Book Store.
The place is so pedestrian-unfriendly and there is absolutely no "third space" provided other than the bookstore cafe. You don't see people socializing in the outside areas because there is nothing but parking spaces. You only see people as they walk from their cars to the stores, and out again back to their cars.
History & Background
This place makes minor attempts to reference the site's history as a cement quarry founded in 1880.