When the Pearl’s developers acquired the adjacent Samuels Glass Co. plant in 2015, they weren’t sure what they would do with the industrial property. 

“We are just starting to dream,” said Bill Shown, managing director of real estate for Silver Ventures, in 2018. But he promised that whatever was to come would be “very interesting and very unconventional.”

Last week, those plans became crystal clear when a subsidiary of Silver Ventures released documents asking to designate the former factory as a historic landmark and approve redevelopment plans. 

Renderings by architecture firm Clayton Korte show the 1948 plant and warehouse on 1.4 acres at Newell Avenue and Karnes Street transformed into a market with restaurants, offices, and storage for Pearl operations. 

On Wednesday, the Historic and Design Review Commission gave the green light for those plans, which include restoring the roof and doors, replacing windows, adding new entrances, and making the site more pedestrian-friendly. 

Designed by noted architect Bartlett Cocke, the wedge-shaped building was constructed in 1948 near the San Antonio River and along the curving railroad tracks of the Texas Transportation Company, owned and operated from 1887 to 2001 by Pearl Brewery. Samuels Glass Co., founded by Lawrence Samuels in 1914, had occupied the building for 65 years before moving to its new location in Northeast San Antonio in 2017.

The 1.4 acre property is located on the Southern end of the Pearl complex at the intersection of Newell and Karnes Street.

City staffers determined that the building met four of the 16 criteria necessary for historic landmark designation; only three are required. 

The commission’s approval for historic designation next goes before the zoning commission, which will then forward its recommendation to city council for approval. 

Shari Biediger

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