San Antonio: Houston Developer Announced Partnership with GrayStreet on Lone Star Brewery
Feature Illustration: The structures shaded in reds, yellows and purple indicate the use, scale, position and concept design of projects in Phase I of the proposed Lone Star District. Courtesy: GrayStreet Partners.
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — A Houston-based developer announced a partnership last week with GrayStreet Partners of San Antonio that promises to redevelop the 32-acre Lone Star Brewery compound in Southtown.
This would be the fourth development group in the last two decades to attempt a resurrection of the South Side landmark. But with market conditions increasingly attractive regarding Southtown gentrification, chances are excellent, however, that this team will succeed.
Midway–the developer of Houston area attractions such as the 2 million-square-foot CityCentre and the 20-acre mixed-use Buffalo Heights–is backing GrayStreet on a concept for Lone Star that is loosely patterned after the Pearl Brewery district.
The Phase I concept site plan, a 12-acre development by GrayStreet Partners and Midway.
There are some differences in that the partners want a development that makes better interactive use of its proximity to the San Antonio River by having a park on the riverbank that will offer recreational activities; the development would feature elements that tie into the character of Southtown; and there would be a stronger presence of national retail chains.
A Midway website blog describes the concept as, “Complementing its unique setting in the heart of the local arts scene, amidst historic neighborhoods, unique landmarks and walkable public spaces, the project’s 32 acres of carefully designed, multi-phase, mixed-use development will revitalize the site into an authentic community gathering space, welcoming a wide variety of tenants, local residents, workers and visitors of all ages and diverse cultures.”
Lone Star District, as the development is to be known, is within the Southtown Arts District, known for its vibrant art and restaurant scene, including Blue Star. The area is also among the most desirable residential areas in the city, with five vibrant neighborhoods: King William, Lavaca, Lone Star, Collins Garden and Roosevelt.
The master plan for Lone Star District includes a new street system and divides the project into 11 segments.
Midway and GrayStreet Partners plan to develop the 1.8 million square foot complex over a 10-year period, however, they hope to start construction on Phase I (a 12-acre site facing Lone Star Boulevard) later this year. Phase I is to include 50,000 square feet of retail, food and beverage activities, about 100,000 square feet of office space, and an apartment mid-rise building with 250 units.
“Centered on the site’s historic core, Phase One will feature a curated mix of residential, office, retail, restaurants, bars and entertainment venues,” Midway stated. “Renovated historical buildings will remain alongside new construction to create an environment that is unique and differentiated from other local offerings. The walkable environment will encourage an active, al-fresco lifestyle with Southwestern-style open-air plazas, pocket parks and dynamic outdoor programming. Thoughtfully designed with multiple points of entry, Lone Star District will also provide greater connectivity for pedestrians and bikers to surrounding neighborhoods.”
Concept rendering of the retail, restaurant/bar center of Lone Star District Phase I.
The multi-phase master plan calls for redevelopment of the existing historic buildings, as well as about 15 acres of vacant land at the south end of the compound.
GrayStreet Partners acquired the land May 1, 2020 through bankruptcy court from the previous owner/developer for $14.45 million. At the time, GrayStreet managing partner Kevin Covey said that will their intent was to create a mixed-use development it was too early to provide details.
Since July 29, 2020, GrayStreet has been working with the Development Services Department on a new plat that conforms to the master plan they envision for the site. That process is still under review.
The partners have assembled a development team that includes Lake|FlatoArchitects, OJB Landscape Architecture, and WGI Engineers.
Lone Star Brewery closed the 32-acre compound in 1996. When it was in operation, Lone Star was not just a brewery. Many community and corporate social events took place there over the decades, because the company constructed an amphitheater with waterworks south of the brewery–amenities that complemented the Lone Star Buckhorn Saloon and Museum. After the brewer closed, the Buckhorn relocated downtown to 318 E. Houston St.
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.