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San Antonio

Groundbreaking Begins On New TPR Headquarters

Updated Jan. 9.

Texas Public Radio and local businessman and philanthropist Guillermo Nicolas announced the station’s new headquarters will officially be named the Irma & Emilio Nicolas Media Center.

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Credit Lauren Terrazas / Texas Public Radio
Guillermo Nicolas, the son of Irma and Emilio Nicolas, speaks to the crowd.

Nicolas, the son of Irma and Emilio, secured the naming rights through a major undisclosed gift as his way to honor his parents, who made significant contributions in local and national media.

“To have two Mexican-American names attached to the TPR headquarters makes a big statement about our city and the cultural unity that we enjoy,” said Guillermo Nicolas about his parents as well as the recently named Carlos and Malú Alvarez Theater. Carlos Alvarez, chairman and chief executive officer of The Gambrinus Company, pledged $2 million to the project.

Emilio Nicolas Sr. is credited with building Univision, the nation's largest Spanish language network and one of the first broadcast networks in the U.S. Irma Nicolas’ father, Raoul Cortez Sr., was also a trailblazer in network development in the mid 20th century. In 1946, he started the first full-time Spanish language radio station in the U.S., KCOR-AM 1350, and later opened the first full-time Spanish language television station, KCOR-TV, channel 41, and the first UHF channel.

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Credit Lauren Terrazas / Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg addresses the crowd.

Nicolas expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to commemorate his family. San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg also shared his appreciation for the contributions of the Nicolas family. Nirenberg referred to them as a true representation of the American dream.

“We’re naming this institution the Irma & Emilio Nicolas Media Center, which is a remarkable tribute to Guillermo’s parents, but also a testament to the promise of our country,” he said.

Also present at the event were Irma Nicolas, TPR President and CEO Joyce Slocum, County Judge Nelson Wolff, District 1 City Councilman Roberto Trevino, and newly-appointed Precinct 2 County Commissioner Justin Rodriguez.

The demolition marked the beginning of a construction project that will take one year to complete. The total construction cost will be $12.5 million, in which $7.5 million will come from the city and Bexar County, and $5 million from TPR. It's also the next phase in San Antonio’s ongoing effort to revitalize its downtown West Side – a staple of the city’s Mexican-American community.

Lauren Terrazas can be reached at lauren@tpr.org and on Twitter @terrazas_lauren

CLARIFICATION: Context was added to a quote to better reflect a statement from Guillermo Nicolas.