An effort to find middle ground between what a downtown bar owner wants for his property and how much the Alamo Trust will pay in order to move forward with its plans for a museum failed during a Wednesday meeting.

Moses Rose’s Hideout owner Vince Cantu is at odds with the Alamo Trust and the Texas General Land Office (GLO) over selling the property located next to the Woolworth Building that’s set to become a museum

An ordinance passed by City Council in January allows for the seizure of Cantu’s property through eminent domain.

On Wednesday, Cantu and his attorney, Dan Eldredge, met in a closed session with Alamo Trust officials to head off the formal condemnation proceedings.

“Mediation was unsuccessful,” Eldredge told the San Antonio Report. It’s unclear what steps will be taken next. 

The property has become an obstacle in a joint effort by the city, state and Alamo Trust to construct the $150 million Alamo Visitor Center and Museum, part of a $388 million plan to redevelop Alamo Plaza.

Eldredge said his client wants to “fight for equal treatment,” pointing to a deal the GLO made with Alamo Plaza amusement business Phillips Entertainment last year. 

“The Phillips family was paid $9.5 million to terminate their lease. [Cantu and his family] need to be treated the same,” Eldredge said. “They also would like to have, as part of their agreement, a park designated that would honor some of the other side of the story of the Alamo.”

Cantu has said he asked for $17 million for the property during previous meetings with Alamo Trust officials while the GLO last offered him $3.5 million, an amount closer to the appraised value.

On Wednesday evening, Cantu and his wife were joined at the bar on 516 E. Houston St. by representatives of national civil rights group the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). 

During the hastily called event at Moses Rose’s, the Cantus described a park they want to see built and donated as part of an agreement with Alamo Trust. 

The 400-square-foot space would be named Parque de la Paz Misión San Antonio de Valero y El Álamo, according to a document provided by Eldredge. It would include a bronze marker telling “the story of all persons who died and are buried in the mission and immediately adjacent areas.” 

The park should be “treated with the same respect and care as the present-day Alamo,” stated the document, with the design and oversight given to LULAC and recognition for the “gift” given to the Cantu family.

Citing the terms of a confidentiality agreement, Cantu and his lawyer would not say how much he asked to be paid for the property during the meetings. On Tuesday, Cantu told the San Antonio Report that he planned to bring the same $17 million asking price to the table.

He also declined to say if the park was a deal-breaker in his negotiations with the Alamo Trust. “It is something we will continue to fight for,” Cantu said.

On Tuesday, local LULAC leaders protested at City Hall on behalf of the Cantus, asking Mayor Ron Nirenberg to intervene and allow more time for negotiations before formal eminent domain proceedings got underway. 

“They’re not tenants, they’re not renters,” said LULAC spokesman David Cruz. “So for heaven’s sakes, what better place than the footprint of the Alamo to respect the Texan right of owning property?”

Alamo Trust spokesman Jonathan Huhn released a statement the same day from Executive Director Kate Rogers saying the group was optimistic that negotiations would resolve their differences. 

Huhn did not immediately respond to a request for comment following the mediation.

“All I can say is we will continue to fight,” Cantu said after what he described as a long day of negotiations. 

“The ball is in their court. I’ve got a property and a business to run and, as distracting as it all is, I’m gonna continue to try to do that and run my business and own my property for as long as I can.”

This article has been updated to clarify that the Texas General Land Office was the entity that reached an agreement in 2022 with Phillips Entertainment when property leased by the company was acquired for the Alamo Plaza redevelopment project.

Avatar photo

Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.