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Redevelopment plans for the former Lone Star Brewery, located on the near-Southside and west of the San Antonio River, include a movie theater, more than 100,000 sq. ft. of office space, and 2,000 parking spaces that will cater to locals and tourists alike, according to new renderings of the site.
Aqualand Development President Adam Schneider said that, if all goes according to plan, the mixed-use development will break ground next summer, with plans to open the first phase in the fall of 2018.
“Phase One will include one multi-family development, office, restaurant, and entertainment space,” Schneider said.
Christi Griggs, a principal at Peloton Commercial Real Estate, said that local, regional, and national brands will be brought in for the eateries and retail, and numerous loft-type office spaces will be scattered throughout the project on the second levels of the buildings.
“By opening in phases, the project will be mixed-use from the beginning, from day one,” Griggs said.
The Dallas office of CallisonRTKL is the architecture design group assigned to the project. David Neuhoff, CBL & Associates Properties vice president of development, said that the entities involved with the project have met with multiple neighborhood associations such as Lone Star, Roosevelt, King William, and Lavaca to discern which aspects of the old brewery are most important to them and which features they enjoyed the most before the brewery closed in the ’90s.
“Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) has been very helpful in tracking our progress and making sure we’ve got everything in order,” Schneider said.
“These are conceptual site points we’re marketing the space with, and we’re on course to make this happen,” Neuhoff said. “Of course, we still have to go through the normal process … this is not ready to start tomorrow, but we’ve been having conversations with the City and HDRC, and all seemed well.”
Surveys were sent out to the neighborhood groups, and Schneider said that the response was positive.
“Sometimes, with developers, it can be hard to go in and make a presentation to a neighborhood association, but people have been really positive because they know that if we don’t come in, (the site) will just sit vacant for another 20 years,” Schneider said.
Schneider added that the development team wants to be sure that they keep the brewery’s heritage alive.
“We’re going to keep as much of the structures as possible,” Neuhoff said. “The architecture is definitely important to keep, and we’ll bring in new things like different materials, but they will all tie together.”
The brewery’s classic color scheme of white and red will play a part throughout, and many of the iconic features such as the smoke stacks and the loading docks will be incorporated into the new design. Schneider pointed out the long, covered docks and said that they are the perfect size for pedestrian walkways, planters, and tables to be set up just outside of the restaurants.
The bones of the buildings will also remain unchanged for the most part. Schneider said that existing windows will be opened up and new ones will be installed in the same tiled style. A wall or two here and there will be removed to create larger openings and a more streamlined façade.
“We’ll take some of a roof off of one building so that it’s got an indoor and outdoor feeling, we’ll accentuate the railroad tracks that run throughout the site and we’ll really try to give people a sense of how the brewery used to operate,” Schneider said.
Neuhoff said that in addition to preserving the structures and keeping the interior features exposed, the architects are committed to repurposing materials found on-site.
“They have plans to use items from the site and put them back into the architecture, kind of like art installations,” he said.
One of the large, ground-level open spaces will be converted to what the team is calling the “Market Exchange.” Here they plan to have food stalls and a larger sit-down restaurant.
Schneider said that there will be multiple areas for gallery space, including a large, ground-level hallway and the potential for the multiple metal stacks to be opened up for patrons to go inside. Currently, there are whole walls filled with colorful graffiti. The team doesn’t plan to paint over these in case future tenants want to incorporate the murals into their office or restaurant spaces.
The redevelopment plan comes on the heels of the World Heritage designation of San Antonio’s Spanish Colonial Missions and the announcement that CPS will convert its former power plant across the river into a multi-use development called EPIcenter.
“We’re working with CPS as they begin their planning and we’re working with the San Antonio River Authority (SARA) to connect walking and biking trails to the (Lone Star) site,” Schneider said.
There will be park space in the area just off the river banks, where there is currently an empty Olympic-size swimming pool. The team plans to keep the adjacent pond, but downsize it slightly to ensure that it won’t dry out during droughts.
“We plan to drain the site’s run-off into the pond so that it stays full, and then we plan to clean it before it goes into the river,” Schneider said.
Ultimately, Neuhoff said, people just want to be reminded of where they used to come with their families, and to share the space with people who are seeing the old brewery for the first time.
“We want it to be the gathering spot it used to be,” Neuhoff added.
Top image: Rendering of the redevelopment plan for the former Lone Star Brewery: From Cannery Crossings looking east into the East Galley near the docks. Courtesy image.