The 105 year-old Playhouse San Antonio is going through a period of figuring out how it will evolve over the next 100 years. A gift of property, deeded to the Playhouse on May 10, gives it an opportunity to dream beyond what its limited footprint can offer.
The property is a vacant multi-family apartment house on an 8,000-square-foot parcel of land at 725 W. Ashby Place. While Bexar County has set its tax valuation at $179,880, its market value is closer to $250,000, making it one of the largest gifts to the Playhouse from a family donor in recent history.
Leaders of the Playhouse, the longest running theater in San Antonio, began discussing the possibility that John R. “Rick” Aleman, owner of the property, donate it to the theater several years ago, said George Green, Playhouse CEO and artistic director since July 5.
The idea went dormant until Green and board members took Aleman to lunch a couple of months ago.
“He obviously checked the box,” Green told the Rivard Report.
Aleman, a lifelong San Antonian, had obtained the property with an eye towards expanding his family’s business operations. The headquarters of the business, named Selrico for his and his wife Christina’s children, Richie and Selena, is located next door in a former residence.
“Once we decided against expanding our offices,” Aleman stated in a news release, “we looked for other ways to utilize the property. I have been a lifelong fan of the theater, probably because I don’t have any of that type of talent myself! The proximity of the property to the theater made our decision an easy one.”
Selrico Services, which Aleman founded, provides food, construction, facilities maintenance, and other infrastructure support services to businesses and the private sector worldwide. It provided disaster relief after hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and has mobilized teams for NATO and United Nations disaster relief missions worldwide. Also, it manages custodial care of the Alamodome, Historic Market Square, La Villita, and the San Antonio Public Library System.
Green said The Playhouse will undertake a feasibility study for the property then begin to raise money for a new structure.
“We definitely want to build a strong conservatory academic program,” Green said. “Being able to create some kind of studio activity, maybe additional rehearsal space, would be very advantageous for us. We also have a need for administrative offices.”
“It’s all going to boil down to how the feasibility study plays out, and we’ll start setting our ducks in a row to start capital campaigning for that purpose.”
As The Playhouse also needs housing for visiting actors, he said he hopes this gift will encourage others in the community to donate property.