42 thoughts on “Visuals of ‘Reimagined’ Alamo Plaza Emerge

  1. Yes, the shade is vital. To design the site for only one use is disruptive. (Meaning a historical site.) Alamo plaza is also used as a gathering place for many occasions, including an impromptu Friday night visit by a family, a refreshing walk first thing in the morning, heading for coffee, and parade functions. The expression of this design seems to limit the use of the plaza rather abruptly. ENhancing it’ s use as a public place seems to be a worthy companion goal.

    • We need shade! Locals and tourist alike will be unimpressed during the hot hot San Antonio summers. More green spaces, with trees to enhance the beauty of San Antonio!

      • I saw an artist ‘ design ? 1995 to redesign the entire plaza to a beautiful parklike design imitating the original Alamo . lots trees , bushes including the entire true perimeter . walls too. everyone will want a respite from the hot texas heat. until I visited , didn;t know you had 90 degrees days from april to October .

    • The Cenotaph will be preserved and moved to a new location.

      A cenotaph is an empty tomb or a monument erected in honor of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere. It can also be the initial tomb for a person who has since been reinterred elsewhere.

  2. For what is essentially a half-billion investment, this is more than underwhelming to me. While only a portion of that will be public monies, it still seems like a high figure for what is a basic, beige concept.

    Also, many residents have expressed contempt for the distasteful “touristy” entertainment shops directly across from such a significant historical site, but they were placed there because of the ability to generate revenue from what essentially a bait and switch: come to the Alamo, spend a lot of money on culturally irrelevant and mindless stuff right across the street because, well you’re here now so what’re you gonna do? You came all this way and your kids are saying how much this sucks.

    The point is, there doesn’t seem to be enough “big picture” detail, and maybe that’s forthcoming, but if you relocate your entertainment district, is there a negative impact that hasn’t been properly forecast yet? Now if people are still underwhelmed, do they just go home? Never visit again?

    Finally, if this does turn out to be a success and increases traffic to the Alamo, what is in place to address parking? SA can make strides to be urban all day, but it’s still Texas, and don’t forget they pulled out from fully-funded light rail. I’m not advocating for an increase in parking, but just want to know what the city considers its strategy to address that? People cheap out in SA and hate to pay for parking, so is SA finally making them suck it up (the way ATX, HTX and DTX have?) and spend, or are there plans for adjacent parking options as well?

  3. I hope it does not turn out like the Main Plaza revamp project . Main Plaza was a vibrant Plaza where local citizens gathered and enjoy the beautiful fountains. Today the new design leaves much to be desired and his no longer the busy citizen hub that it used to be. How unfortunate that architectures, designers, and politicians who thought they knew better destroyed this beautiful Plaza. Let’s hope that this does not happen at the Alamo Plaza which is today a vibrant gathering place for visitors and citizens alike.
    Eliminating plaza the trees for starters if a step in the wrong direction.

  4. What is going to happen at Houston Street? Will it be closed off with a glass wall? If so, will a ghetto develop in that last dead-end block? And how will people get to/from the Emily Morgan; will it go out of business because of being isolated from downtown?

    Will the main gate be the ONLY entrance to the complex. If so, what happens when hundreds or thousands of visitors are trying to rush out because of a fire, mass shooting, bombings, etc.?

    Will the grounds be open early and late hours so that visitors who cannot come during the daytime can enter and take photos in the evening/early morning?

  5. Waste of money and waste of space. Why are they moving the Alamo Cenotaph?
    Where’s all the green space? Why are they pulling out the big oak trees? Ozzy Osbourne urinated on the Cenotaph 35 years ago and was banned for a year. So the city can just put millions of dollars to move a memorial that commemorates the falling soldiers who fought at the Alamo? Shameful that the city care about putting some damn shopping mall rather then historical significance of the Alamo.

  6. I think this is a terrible idea all around. Sometimes I walk downtown and sit by the gazebo in Alamo Plaza when I feel the need to experience a modicum of vibrant street life, The plaza, as is, is one of the better looking and feeling urban spots downtown.I get that Ripley’s, etc. may not be the best fit across from the Alamo, but purposely creating another dead space…a purely tourist destination…and losing another north-south street through downtown seems really tragic to me. I understand that the Alamo is a tourist destination, but I don’t think that carving up the fabric of downtown so that people won’t be disappointed with the size of the Alamo is a good trade off. There will be no remotely vibrant street level urban environments left in the downtown of a city of nearly 2 million residents. I think it will decrease the quality of life of actual SA residents.

  7. This is absolutely awful. Stunningly bad. I hope a groundswell of public opinion can prevent these ruinous plans from being implemented. The Alamo is currently the heart of the city. To wall it off and remove it from the city will only reduce its relevance. Who on earth wants a big expanse of concrete nothingness? Who wants modern glass walls that serve no and are complety inauthentic anyway? The lack of shade and reflected heat will be torture in the Texas summer heat. The current flower beds and trees provide shade and a place to sit. It is nice to be able to buy an ice cream when it’s hot. It is nice that the Alamo leads directly to the river walk. Ihe Alamo provides a beautiful backdrop for the city’s many parades and events, but this will no longer be the case when it is walled off. The current traffic flow is inoffensive, and stopping it will decimate that part of downtown. Where else should the monument to the Alamo’s dead be other than at the Alamo? Please do not spend hundreds of millions of dollars making the Alamo, and San Antonio, immeasurably worse.

      • Public safety element appears to be a real concern– a wall with one door access…that seems undeniably ill-planned, not to mention anxiety-inducing. The “concrete nothingness” is hard to deny, though some may try to tout its historical value. On the point of safety alone, I think a solid argument can be made that this needs to be reconsidered. Also hoping for groundswell of opposition.

    • I’m all for removing everyday traffic, but walling the plaza off behind glass will effectively steal the Alamo from our community and hand it to the tourists.

      We need to send a message.


      • I do not agree with this plan but I think it’s important to remember that the Alamo does not belong to San Antonio. It belongs to all of Texas.

    • Absolutely agree. And if the housing being developed to the near north and near south begins to impact downtown, increasing the population, the demand for retail infrastructure, avenues, etc. will increase. Very shortsighted to destroy a commercial block (Alamo Plaza) with so much beauty and potential. One experience: My newlywed wife and I rolled into San Antonio first time in 1982. We drove right into downtown and spent a couple of hours walking around. We laughed that the Alamo was smaller than we expected, then turned our attention to the Menger, the gazebo, spent our time admiring huge old live oaks, grackles, poked around the shops (still dime stores, etc.) across from the Alamo, strolled the Riverwalk. We were utterly charmed. Then we stayed (from Portland, Or), bought a house, raised two kids, and have been here for the last 35 years. It’s beautiful the way it is.

  8. I don’t think constructing a grassless soccer field in the middle of downtown is a good idea. This is insulting.

    Did somone fail to inform the architects that this is in South Texas. It. Is. Hot.

    Just call Lake Flato. They’ll do it right.

  9. I think they’re making a mistake taking away the existing trees and have such a large plaza area where there is no shade. Texas summers are brutal. Spring and Fall can often be very hot also. Shade is needed. Just having it around the perimeter by the glass wall is not enough.

    I don’t live in San Antonio so can’t speak to how closing off the streets would affect the downtown area but if they do enlarge the area around the Alamo, they should leave the existing trees, Cenotaph, and plant more trees, install fountains, flowerbeds, etc. This will provide much needed shade, and places to sit.

    Don’t like the glass walls either. It’s too modern. If they want to designate where the original walls were, build a low wall out of stone. It would fit in with the historic appearance of Alamo Plaza better than glass walls. A low wall would also not restrict the view and provide seating as well.

  10. Overall, I like the direction of the new visuals but removing the trees would be a bad move and I don’t think the glass walls are a good choice. Whatever direction takes hold, it will create a heated debate among Texans that is for sure.

  11. While I am for a restoration of the Alamo to it’s original size, this plan in it’s current visualization is both a travesty & a waste of money. The Cenotaph needs to remain where it is. A simple plaque where the defender bodies were burned over on E. Commerce would be more cost efficient than moving & risk possible damage to the monument in the act of moving it to where far less people would bother to go see it. Removing trees & the gazebo from the plaza is asinine! Glass walls to instill the feeling of the original size of the Mission de Valero is ludicrous! The birds that call these trees home could become casualties flying into the proposed glass walls. Other sites in Texas have been recreated to resemble their historic origin & there is no dispute that the Alamo is the crown jewel of Texas history & should absolutely not be represented as envisioned in this plan. Recuerden El Alamo!

  12. It’s despicable that the city and state are using the sacrifice of those who fought for and defended the sovereignty of our state to make tourist money. It’s a memorial, not a meal ticket, and to allow it to be treated as such is shameful!

  13. To leave the Cenotaph where it is, within the proposed “working courtyard” of the above design, would draw more solemn reflection on what happened at the Alamo. Like a Catholic “Stations of the Cross”, this could be the 13th station that points to the eventual 14th station detailing how the 1836 Alamo event lead to San Jacinto and Texas Independence.
    Plus we could save a lot of money by not moving the Cenotaph.
    And that working courtyard sure is gonna be South Texas-hot in August! More trees there, please. Y’know, like some cottonwood trees from the namesake of the place.
    How about a smaller cenotaph within this working courtyard for the indigenous peoples, with surrounding markers detailing their lives and influence?

  14. Closing the street off is a great idea. More pedestrian traffic and less vehicular traffic makes for a great urban environment. BUT removing those oaks and leaving a bland empty desert slab of land is ridiculous. These designers don’t have a clue. This is a total disaster.

  15. I can understand honoring the site’s long history before That Battle. But history has continued–Alamo Plaza is important to those who live in San Antonio & others who enjoy visiting your beautiful city.

    The glass walls will just make it easier to charge admission to the entire site–even though that’s not the current plan.

    Back to the drawing board.

  16. Oof – so bad. What everybody else says. Save a bundle and just get some bollards and close Alamo Street (Houston to Commerce) and Crockett (Alamo to Bonham) to traffic this year – it has long been suggested by planners / preservationists. Maybe Bonham (Crockett to Houston), too. Re-paint these street segments a neutral color (the design reveal suggests beige). First see what people do with the space without traffic and respond to that.

  17. If this eyesore is approved, I won’t be visiting – and neither will my out of town guests. No trees + no shade = No Biditors. Ripley’s is starting to look better after seeing this.
    I have an ancestor listed my name on the Cenotaph , and I think that gives me the right to shout NO WAY!!!

  18. Devastatingly awful. Alamo Plaza is one of the great successful urban spaces of San Antonio, more-so than Main Plaza.

    I’m all for the removal of the Ripley’s and other tourist traps across the street and turning that row of buildings into a museum, but the rest of the site plan is just awful. Walling off the plaza is not the answer.

    The plaza is just that – a plaza, a place that should be connected to the urban fabric for people to gather, not walled off. The Alamo is not a fortress anymore and shouln’t be turned into one again given the urban fabric of downtown around it – it will never work, and I feel like a wall will keep more people out and away from the Alamo.And the glass is an especially cheesy idea and not to mention ugly as sin.

    And the acequia? Blocking the view of the museum with that cheesy landscaping job? I think it might be cool to have a some kind of water feature running through this area to honor the original acequia, but don’t block the view through the plaza and maybe even make it clean and simple and modern looking so as not to detract from the Alamo itself.

    I can go into detail about a whole host of other things wrong with this plan…the dirt/gravel/whatever floor of the plaza, the removal of the arcades to the right of the Alamo, the trees to the north…

    As a SA native I hope this plan is either vastly changed or completely abandoned. It would break my heart to see this implemented as currently designed and I think it would be a disaster for the city.

  19. I suppose I am in the minority here, but I think the proposed rendering is a vast improvement from the current condition of the site. I understand that more trees and shade will be necessary, but it sounds like they are trying to preserve the open space in front of the Alamo for bleachers, tents and other facilities that will be used for events. Adding trees and shade would be an easy fix. Putting grass on the plaza would make it look nice, but there is no way to keep it alive throughout the summer months or with the anticipated foot traffic. Notice that the outside areas in the rendering contain native plants that use a low amount of water and can handle direct sunlight.

    I like the idea of outlining the original boundaries of the mission as much as possible, although I believe a portion of the original footprint would be inside the federal building across the street. This outline helps to give the visitor an idea of the scope of the original structure. Also a great idea to put a waterway along the side.

    The Alamo is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the location of a battle that is sacred to our state history. It needs to be treated as such. This means removing the roadways and getting traffic out of the immediate area. It is also highly important to remove the carnival stores across the street and replace them with a serious museum. With the development of Hemisfair, San Pedro Creek and the Alamo site, downtown is going to become a more friendly place for pedestrians. I do think that traffic in San Antonio will continually get worse over the next two decades, and I also think that the city will start charging for all parking downtown. But the vast expanses of paved surface lots downtown need to be converted into parking garages. Public transportation needs to continue to improve so that downtown can become a place where people live, work and recreate.

    I also think it would be disrespectful to serve alcohol on site or, in a certain sense, to even charge admission. A limited gift shop is acceptable, but otherwise the state should take great efforts to remove any appearance of commercial hucksterism from the site.

    With regard to the cenotaph, I enjoy the monument and appreciate what it commemorates. After reading more about the process behind its creation, I would not be as upset if it was moved somewhere nearby.

    • It needs a lot of work still. I agree re: serving alcohol.
      But who is accountable for how the dollars are being spent. Who’s paying for all this? Who is making sure tax dollars funds are spent responsibly?
      Is it the Land Commissioner?

  20. First the Ft. Worth mayor approves a California company to come in and ruin the Stockyards. Now this? I find both disgusting. A huge waste of money (not to mention how ugly this will look) and a show of disrespect to Texas history.

  21. By all means, stabilize and preserve the historic structure, and maybe build a museum nearby, but the rest of this scheme is misguided and a waste of money. The design doesn’t work for our climate; it does nothing for the community, it blocks off one of the only north-south connections remaining through downtown, and it removes the charm and character of the current Alamo Plaza. We can do better than this.

  22. Well, it’s not our fault that they built downtown San Antonio around the Alamo. I’m Pro getting rid of all the tourist attractions and making it a museum. However, I am not liking that glass wall. It should be open for EVERYONE to access and walk through, not just one little entrance.

  23. I am not from Texas or the USA but I love the Alamo and love the plan to improve the area. I have read most of the books on this battle and visit the site whenever possible
    The tourist shops in the area atlhough necessary dishonour the site moving them is a great idea.

    The glass walls that will show the footprint of the site, the trees, showing the other history of the area are all great ideas. I also think it is important to expose the actual history of the site and the battle and not just present the legendary view of the battle.

    That being said I would prefer leaving the Cenotaph in it’s present position.

    Congrats to the city of San Antonio for taking such a progressive steps to present and preserve this area for future generations.

    • Thank you Marty, I agree! However, leaving the Cenotaph in its present location which would now be the center of a large open area, would make it the center of attention, taking the focus away from the Alamo Church. It was placed there by the Texas Centennial Commission back in 1936 because it was the best spot in an otherwise business dominated district. Locating it near the funeral pyres is appropriate, especially since that area will have a new focus.

  24. It is important to have lived here to have a better perspective than a visitor who is not from this area and comes occasionally. It gets very hot. You do not want to remove any trees. Adding trees is a good thing. Also we don’t want to have to trade the upkeep of green space for glass cleaning for a wall. Why a wall? No.no.no. It’s a gimmicky treatment that will be old tired and discolored in 20 years. This is a flash in the pan plan.

  25. Close the street to traffic and turn it into a walking platz. Leave the trees, (add more!) Gazebo, and Cenotaph. Please, please do not turn it into another sterile, barren Nothing that the Main Plaza has become. Main Plaza was a vibrant, life-filled place for PEOPLE to gather. It is now a horror. Please do not do the same to the Alamo Plaza. Architects need to know that when dealing with antiquities, less is more. Not everything can be bettered. If you must, remove the tawdry businesses that face the Alamo. Return them to the businesses of old instead of carnivals and cheap tricks. Ask SA’s oldest purveyors to set up small replicas of their 1800’s stores. Good, simple dining. Museums detailing the lives of early inhabitants. Art of the People who lived in the Mission.

  26. Everything about this plan is absolutely horrible. Removing shade trees… ridiculously horrible. A huge empty space is a trrrible idea in Texas. No one will spend any time there. Closing a street? Really? The glass wall is insulting! This is also a living and breathing city and this robs us of that experience. And hiring an outside firm add insult to injury.

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