The Alameda Theater was set for a multimillion-dollar restoration project until the pandemic stymied fundraising efforts.
The Alameda Theater was set for a multimillion-dollar restoration project until the pandemic stymied fundraising efforts. Credit: Bonnie Arbittier / San Antonio Report

Though the coronavirus pandemic put restoration efforts for the historic Alameda Theater downtown on hold, funding from the city and county could jump-start the process once more.

The San Antonio City Council’s Community Health, Equity, and Culture Committee voted Thursday in favor of allocating $7 million in Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ) funding to the Alameda Theater project. The historic theater has been undergoing renovations since 2020, and needs another $27 million total to complete construction.

The council committee’s vote pushes the funding request to the full council for approval. Bexar County commissioners will also consider allocating $7 million to the project next month, said Veronica Garcia, assistant director of the Center City Development and Operations department.

With the city and county’s combined contribution of $14 million, the Alameda Theater Conservancy can seek a loan for the remainder, Garcia said. San Antonio and Bexar County have already contributed $9 million each, while Texas Public Radio, which is headquartered in the stage house behind the theater, committed $5 million.

The theater was built in 1949 and served as a Mexican-American entertainment venue. The Conservancy intends to continue that tradition after restoration is completed.

“The theater itself will not create new performances,” Garcia said. “Instead, it will curate the best performances, partnering with local entities in our city to do this, like the Guadalupe Cultural Arts [Center].”

Council members expressed their appreciation for the theater project and requested that the conservancy keep shows price-accessible for the community. Garcia said she heard that “loud and clear.”

“I will be happy to pose that to the [Conservancy board of directors] and see what written commitment that we can get before it goes to Council,” she said.

The city also recommends dedicating another $400,000 to meet environmental monitoring requirements around the theater, which the City of San Antonio owns, Garcia said.

Alameda Theater is scheduled to be completed in 2023, Garcia said. Once renovations are done, the theater can recoup some of its costs in the form of state and federal tax credits dedicated to historic restoration projects.

The full City Council will consider the $7 million and $400,000 funding requests next month.

Jackie Wang covered local government for the San Antonio Report.