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San Antonio: Esperanza Peace & Justice Center to Begin Ruben’s Ice House Restoration

Feature Photo: A bird’s-eye view of Rinconcito de Esperanza, a Westside arts and cultural center. Image: Google Earth/VBX Graphic.

Posted: 10-6-2021

by Adolfo Pesquera

San Antonio (Bexar County) — The Esperanza Peace & Justice Center is about to begin construction on the next phase of its Riconcito de Esperanza development on the near Westside.

The project architect, Ronn Basquette Architect of Austin, filed a project report with the state Tuesday giving notice that construction should begin by Nov. 1 on the historic Ruben’s Ice House.

This is a renovation that will repurpose the ice house and add 1,000 square feet of new space. The new construction will be of sustainable compressed earth block and the total indoor area is 2,300 square feet.

Ruben’s Ice House is to be repurposed as the Museo del Westside. The Museo will collect, conserve, research, communicate, and exhibit the tangible and intangible heritage of the historic Westside. As a community participatory museum, the Museo will invite the community to participate in developing the museum’s exhibits and programs.

Converting Ruben’s Ice House into a museum will include the installation of an HVAC system, a fire suppressions system, new lighting that is safe for light-sensitive artifacts, and more. Construction is expected to be complete by Dec. 31, 2022.

Ruben’s Ice House, 824 S. Colorado St., was originally a 1930s era residence that became the M&E Grocery Store in 1950. The structure was expanded in 1959 and became the ice house, a business that continued until 1987.

The ice house is one of a cluster of buildings at the northeast corner of South Colorado and Guadalupe streets that Esperanza Peace and Justice Center has been reviving since 2012. Phase I involved the construction of an earthen block art studio that is now the home of MujerArtes Adobe Studio.

Phase II has an estimated cost of $3.1 million and, besides the Museo, will include an outdoor multi-purpose performance, film-screening, and event space, and the restoration of seven houses.

Concept rendering of the proposed south entrance to Rinconcito de Esperanza. Courtesy: Esperanza Peace & Justice Center.

In February, City Council approved a grant of $1.5 million that was funneled through the Westside TIRZ and is to be disbursed over three years. The ice house restoration and addition is budgeted at about $900,000.

VBX last reported on this project in an Oct. 27, 2020 article. VBX Project ID 2020-7874.


Related Images

Construction Preview
By |2021-10-06T10:11:43-05:00October 6th, 2021|Construction Preview, Feature Story|

About the Author:

Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.

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