Conceptual rendering of the Lone Star Brewery redevelopment project.
Conceptual rendering of the Lone Star Brewery redevelopment project from 2016. Credit: Courtesy / Aqualand Development and CBL & Associates Properties Inc.

City Council unanimously approved a rezoning request for the $300 million Lone Star Brewery redevelopment project Thursday, allowing the 35-acre parcel of land to be used for a variety of commercial, residential, and entertainment uses.

With the long-vacant site now zoned as an infill development zone, the project leaders – San Marcos-based Aqualand Development and Tennessee-based CBL & Associates Properties – plan to rehabilitate it to include three multi-family housing developments each with parking, a 10-screen Cinemark movie theater, a hotel, a park connecting to the Mission Reach, and office and retail spaces.

The developers announced its first two tenants – Cinemark and popular bar/restaurant and vintage arcade Punch Bowl Social – in early October. They are currently working with local, regional, and national retailers and restaurateurs to fill the rest of the retail space, David Neuhoff, CBL vice president of development, told City Council.

“We feel like this is a great … destination spot to bring to San Antonio,” he added.

The site, which has been vacant for 20 years, was originally established in 1933 as the Sabinas Brewing Company. In 1940, it reopened as the Lone Star Brewing Company. Along with maintaining much of the brewery’s original attributes, including the color scheme, the developers plan to preserve “about 90%” of the existing brewery and cannery buildings, Neuhoff said.

“We like the authenticity of it,” he said. “We want to keep that history alive.”

Design plans for the project are pending final approval from the Historic and Design Review Commission (HDRC), but already received conceptual approval from the commission last month.

Developers anticipate starting construction in summer 2017, and opening Phase 1 of the project in late 2018.

Growth in Southtown has been ramping up in recent years, as a number of restaurants, bars, and apartment buildings have opened up. Last week, the 336-unit Flats at Big Tex, located along the Mission Reach next to Blue Star Arts Complex, celebrated its official grand opening.

Councilwoman Shirley Gonzales (D5) said the Lone Star Brewery revitalization project will keep the momentum of the “exciting things” being implemented in the area going .

“People have been waiting for a long, long time for something like this to come along in that vacant space,” she said.

Meanwhile, Council also unanimously approved initiating the process of making 11 amendments to four community plans located in the World Heritage buffer zone: the Lone Star Community Plan, the South Central San Antonio Community Plan, the Stinson Airport Vicinity Land Use Plan, and the Heritage South Sector Plan.

The amendments are a result of feedback the City gathered at a land use symposium held in February, where citizens voiced their opinions and concerns about the type of development – if any – they’d like to see in certain parts of the World Heritage buffer zone.

From April through the end of September, the City hosted several other input sessions to gauge the public’s views on the proposed land use amendments as well as sensitive development for the World Heritage Work Plan.

The zoning amendments align with what neighbors in the area hope to see as the neighborhood continues to evolve and develop due to the World Heritage designation of the city’s nearby Spanish-colonial Missions and the Alamo. Some also are simply updating existing zoning designations of certain areas to match the current use of the site.

For example, City staff proposes rezoning the area south of Hot Wells along South Presa from mixed use to parks/open space to reflect its current use as a site with the Acequia Trail and San Juan Dam on the Mission Reach.

The process for the approval of each land use designation will begin in 2017, and will have to go in front of the Zoning Commission and City Council for final approval.

Camille Garcia

Camille Garcia is a journalist born and raised in San Antonio. She formerly worked at the San Antonio Report as assistant editor and reporter. Her email is camillenicgarcia@gmail.com