The old Fire House No.7 as seen from Alamo Street Eat Bar. Photo by Iris Dimmick.
The old Fire House No.7 as seen from Alamo Street Eat Bar. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

If you’ve spent any time hanging out at Alamo Street Eat Bar, chances are good you’ve looked across the street and wondered, “What’s going on with that cool old building?” That cool, old building is Fire Station No.7, built in 1924.

And it could be yours – if you have the cash.

The Fire Station No. 7 building is “retired,” and the City of San Antonio is currently taking bids on the property until May 27. Taylor Browning’s recent story and photo gallery of local artist Vincent Valdez’ home and studio in a converted fire station on the Westside, retired Fire Station No. 15, provides an excellent example of the potential for such a building.

“It’s an iconic building and it will be the entrance to the ‘hood,” said Debra Maltz, of Centro Properties. “I’d like to get a look inside.”

Fire House No.7 at 604 S. Alamo St. Photo courtesy of the City of San Antonio.
Fire House No.7 at 604 S. Alamo St. Photo courtesy of the City of San Antonio.

The City’s invitation for cash bids states “proposals that include retail, office, museum or similar commercial use will be given greater consideration.”

It’s easy to daydream about what the building could become. A bike shop? Coffee shop? A restaurant or bar? Neighborhood parking is tight. What do you think would fit best in the retired Fire Station No. 7? Post your answer in the Comment section below or on the Rivard Report Facebook page.

Other retired fire stations are now being used as law offices, apartments, and bail bond companies, said SAFD Public Information Officer Christian Bove. Old Fire Station 19 – still owned by the city – is District 1 Councilman Diego Bernal‘s office.

The Spanish Colonial revival style building at 604 S. Alamo St. has been appraised at $797,000. *Wince* Then again, the price makes sense given the building’s historical significance, its uniqueness, and its stellar  location on South Alamo Street. Its’s walking distance to Hemisfair Park, the coming H-E-B Flores Market, and all the neighborhood nightspots. The building marks the gateway into a thriving Southtown from downtown. The triangular lot is about 4,700 square feet and the building itself is three stories, including a basement, that totals 5,315 square feet.

Historical photo of Fire House No.7 at 604 S. Alamo St. in its heyday.
Historical photo of Fire House No.7 at 604 S. Alamo St. in its heyday.

That puts the appraised value at $150 a square foot. The selling price is likely to be higher, as in $1 million or more.

Fire Station No. 7 started as a volunteer company in 1885 as Mission Hose Company No.4 and has held several designations since then, according to the King William Association (KWA). The current building is the third structure to be built on the lot. Local legend has it the building is haunted by dutiful fire fighters.

Amy Johnson, a local firefighter’s wife, writes for the KWA: “During my visit to the (San Antonio Fire Department Museum), I had the honor of meeting retired firefighter Lee Zalesky, who happened to spend his early years in the department at old Station No. 7. Zalesky described how they used to call it ‘The Rock,’ because it stood alone like an island when it was surrounded by Lavaca and the former Water Street, before the days of Hemisfair Park.”

The building stopped operating as a fire station in 2005 and the new Fire House No. 7 at North St. Mary’s and Florida Streets opened in 2006. When the Fire Department Museum was looking for a home, No. 7 was considered, but ultimately was found to be too small for the project. While the old Fire House No. 1 on Commerce Street was under construction, the former No. 7 building was used as a workshop from 2007-12.

Sealed bids, which must include a conceptual plan for development of the property, must be received by the Office of the City Clerk at City Hall before 4 p.m., Tuesday, May 27, 2014. Bidders may submit, by mail or hand-delivery, only one signed original bid form, which must be complete and free from ambiguity. The city posting does not offer any information on site visits.

Image courtesy of the City of San Antonio.
Image courtesy of the City of San Antonio.

*Featured/top image: The old Fire House No.7 as seen from Alamo Street Eat Bar. Photo by Iris Dimmick.

Related Stories:

Attention to Detail: A Studio Visit with Vincent Valdez

UPDATED: Boehler House/Former Liberty Bar Move Denied by HDRC

Broadway / Midtown / SoBro: What’s In a Name?

River House: Rooms with a Museum Reach View

Iris Dimmick

Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and workforce development. Contact her at iris@sareport.org