One of several proposed art concepts for the San Pedro Creek Improvements Project.
This rendering shows how various art components could interact with San Pedro Creek. Credit: Courtesy / Muñoz & Company and San Antonio River Authority

The City’s Historic and Design Review Commission approved by consent agenda separate projects affecting the San Pedro Creek and the former Malt House restaurant on Wednesday.

Local design firm Muñoz & Company sought a certificate of appropriateness as part of the plan to reimagine the San Pedro Creek between Fox Tech High School and the old Stockyards as a linear park.

Work to improve the creek channel began in late March.

Workers trench the San Pedro Creek widening the area resulting in a four inch deep flow upon project completion.
Workers widen the San Pedro Creek to create a four inch deep flow upon project completion. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

The commission’s decision gives final approval to landscaping, wayfinding signage, and site elements, including lighting and pedestrian access elements, such as railings and stair and terrace detailing.

According to City staff, Muñoz & Co. proposed a landscape program that involves “generous areas of aquatic, riparian, and upland plantings to improve water quality and habitat and to provide shade.”

Nobody at the HDRC meeting spoke on this matter prior to the commission’s vote.

Bexar County Commissioners Court in May tapped local artists Adriana Garcia, Katie Pell, Alex Rubio, and Joe Lopez to create tile murals for the part of the creek that extends from a tunnel inlet close to Fox Tech to Houston Street.

This segment of the creek improvement is slated for completion in May 2018.

HDRC also gave final approval for designs on a 7-Eleven gas station and convenience store to replace the historic Malt House at 115 S. Zarzamora St.

The designs gained preliminary approval from the commission in April.

The final design will incorporate original features of the 1940s Malt House, including some of its signage, canopies, and community gathering areas.

Many Westside residents and local preservationists first fought to prevent demolition of the former restaurant, saying it was landmark dining and communal place in the neighborhood.

But City staff found that preserving the present structure would be an economic hardship on the property owner. HDRC granted conceptual demolition approval in October.

Since then, residents rallied to compel 7-Eleven to at least preserve some of iconic exterior parts of the Malt House into its new gas station/convenience store.

Members discuss keywords that are used to describe the legacy of The Malt House.
Designers and residents discuss keywords used to describe the legacy of The Malt House. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

City staff did ask for the canopy design be simplified and that the sloped roof edge be eliminated. City staff also emphasized the importance of 7-Eleven installing a painted sidewalk on the apron of its proposed new curb along South Zarzamora Street.

7-Eleven will return with a separate request for final approval of a signage package, including new freestanding, wall-mounted, and window signage.

No one spoke for or against the final designs at Wednesday’s meeting. A timetable for demolition of the Malt House has yet to be announced.

Edmond Ortiz, a lifelong San Antonian, is a freelance reporter/editor who has worked with the San Antonio Express-News and Prime Time Newspapers.