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Old Posted Nov 14, 2015, 7:26 PM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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SAN ANTONIO │ Lone Star Brewery Redevelopment Thread

It finally seems things are getting underway at the Lone Star Brewery site. After years of talk and potential buyers who were interested in the site but ultimately did nothing, there seems to be a developer willing to revitalize the long abandoned Southtown brewery.

If all goes as planned, the urban core could be book-ended by the Pearl to the north and the Lone Star to the south.

Could the Lone Star be as game changing for the urban core as the Pearl has been?

The developer is talking about bringing back Lone Star to brew on the site in some way, adding a Texas Music Hall of Fame as well as an outdoor music venue. That plus, housing, retail and other commercial options, could lend this development to be a true gem for the urban core and Southtown.

Roughly half a year after buying 36 acres at the former Lone Star Brewery site south of downtown San Antonio, Aqualand Development’s vision for what the long-neglected area can become is taking shape. And those plans will focus on elements that helped keep the once popular destination afloat decades ago — beer and entertainment.

“We have started work on our redevelopment plans and started to clean up the site so we can bring this place back to life,” Aqualand Development founder and CEO Mark Smith said.

San Marcos-based Aqualand Development has acquired the Historic Lone Star Beer Brewery site south of downtown San Antonio and plans to transform the area into a mixed-use destination for locals and tourists.

Over the next six months, the San Marcos, Texas-based company plans to lock up the balance of the 65 acres and firm up plans for the existing buildings. Meanwhile, what is already clear as the water from the artesian wells beneath the former brewery is that Aqualand officials want to tap into as much of the area’s history as possible.

That starts with beer. And one of the more intriguing elements of Aqualand’s redevelopment plan is to return Lone Star Beer to the brewery it abandoned years ago.

“One of our main focus is to bring Lone Star Beer back. We’ve been in very high level talks with them,” Smith said.

“They are going to have a presence here. It’s just a matter of how far they want to take it,” Aqualand Vice President Mark Evans said.

Preliminary plans also call for other microbrewery establishments, as well as a new beer garden that would further reinforce the connection between the area and its brewing heritage.

Other complementary economic developments are also in the works. Among the venues Aqualand is attempting to bring to Lone Star are a Texas Music Hall of Fame and a 1,200-seat live music hall.

“There is no Texas Music Hall of Fame,” Smith said. “We want to bring one to San Antonio.”

Aqualand officials have already begun to reach out to industry leaders about the development of a new museum tied to a brewery that has long had ties to country music in the region.

Aqualand officials also have their sites on other entertainment venues, including a dine-in movie theater complex.

While the total redevelopment of Lone Star Brewery could cost more than $300 million, according to Smith, the investment could be far more astronomical were it not for the existing infrastructure, which will be renovated and repurposed.

“We’ve spent the last six months figuring out where we are with the buildings. We didn’t know,” Evans said. “We used local engineering firms who have inspected the buildings individually. There is nothing that we want to do with the mixed-use plans that can’t be supported by the buildings.”

“This is like an open canvas. This property hasn’t been touched in years,” Smith said. “This is the biggest project in the history of our company. But we believe in this. We put our money into Lone Star because we can see what it can be.”


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