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San Antonio: Maverick Plaza Redevelopment Plans Approach Construction Phase

Feature Illustration (above): Perspective of the South Alamo entrance to the redeveloped Maverick Plaza. Image: MP Studio.

Posted: 8-3-2020

by Adolfo Pesquera

San Antonio (Bexar County) — The architect for a city project to redevelop Maverick Plaza in La Villita with three new restaurant buildings is near completion on designs.

Fisher Heck Architects is requesting the Certificate of Appropriateness for a 12-item list of changes to the plaza located at the northwest corner of Alamo and Nueva streets.

“The redevelopment of Maverick Plaza will bring new utilities into the site, repave the plaza, landscape existing and new planting beds, construct a new fountain, and add new entrance features at the corners of Nueva Street and South Alamo, and at Villita Street and South Alamo Street. New lighting will be installed in the plaza and along old Alamo Street. A new edge for La Villita will be defined along South Alamo Street through the addition of colorful punched metal panels that form a low fence within the existing tree planters,” Fisher Heck stated in its request.

VBX first reported the city’s plans to redevelop the plaza at 323 S. Alamo St. in December 2017. This is VBX Project ID 2017-AB11.

Illustrated site plan of the proposed remake of Maverick Plaza. Image: MP Studio.

The Historic and Design Review Commission will announce its decision Wednesday. The main twelve elements to be considered by the HDRC are as follows:

  1. Remove the existing limestone walls that have enclosed Maverick Plaza along Nueva and South Alamo, remove the fences that separate Maverick Plaza from other portions of La Villita, remove the existing cedar arbor, remove the existing fountain, remove and salvage the existing paving on King Philip V Street, remove the existing concrete and clay tile paving in the plaza and the old Alamo Street walkway, remove portions of low tree planter walls along Alamo Street, remove contemporary CMU addition to Faville House, and remove and relocate electrical panels throughout the plaza.
  2. Install a variety of new paving materials forming various interlocking patterns including diagonal strips and three quatrefoil patterns.
  3. Install a new fountain within the plaza that is closer to the South Alamo entrance.
  4. Install additional trees including sycamore trees within the plaza and trees along the old Alamo Street walkway. The existing twenty-two live oak trees will be preserved.
  5. Install lighting throughout the plaza to include general lighting, festoon lighting, tree lighting and entrance lighting.
  6. Perform rehabilitative scopes of work to the historic Faville House, including foundation repair and repair to the porch roof’s framing and decking, as well as the installation of a new standing seam metal roof.
  7. Construct a demonstration kitchen in the plaza for public demonstration and teaching. This structure will include public restrooms.
  8. Construct a kiosk to serve as a permanent food both.
  9. Construct two smaller kiosks (mobile) to be located near the proposed fountain.
  10. Construct new entry features with signage at Alamo St/Nueva St. corner, and Villita Street entry without signage. These elements will also include decorative panels on the South Alamo wall.
  11. Relocate the Mayor Maury Maverick Statue within the plaza.
  12. Construct screen walls along Nueva Street to hide a new transformer. Construct a screen wall near Faville house to hide back of house equipment for plaza.

Sitework illustrated. Image by MP Studio.

The Office of Historic Preservation recommends approval of the project, but with stipulations that include:

  • The proposed re-framing and re-decking of the porch roof of the Faville house should not result in a change of roof profile. The new standing seam metal roof is to feature panels that are 18 to 21 inches in width, seams that are 1 to 2 inches in height, a crimped ridge seam and a standard galvalume finish. A ridge cap is not to be used.
  • The proposed outdoor kitchen and kiosks should feature standing seam metal roofs that are 18 to 21 inches in width, seams that are 1 to 2 inches in height, a crimped ridge seam and a standard galvalume finish.

Fisher Heck’s project summary explains that this project is intended to completely rehabilitate Maverick Plaza, “renovating the central tree-lined plaza and a section of Old Alamo Street that remains to the west of the current South Alamo Street.”

This quadrant of La Villita was once completely covered with houses and commercial/industrial structures. The structures were all removed by Urban Renewal, and Maverick Plaza was created after HemisFair ’68.

In the coming months, a privately funded project will add three restaurants to Maverick Plaza. This project is associated with the World Heritage Office and the city’s designation as a World Heritage City of Gastronomy.

Image by MP Studio.

Stabilization of the Faville House:

As a part of the obligation of the City of San Antonio to the Culinary Concept Developer, the City is responsible for basic structural stability of the historic structures which will be rehabilitated by the private developer.

It has been determined that the rubble limestone foundation and the wooden front porch of the Faville House are in poor condition. The City of San Antonio will stabilize the foundation of the house and replace the deteriorated wooden framing and roof decking on the porch. To protect the new framing, a new galvanized metal roof will be installed over the porch.

No rehabilitation of the Gissi House (the other historic house in the project) will be accomplished in this project, but the house will be rehabilitated in the restaurant project.

New Structures:
This City of San Antonio will construct several small structures supporting the goals of the project.

  • A presentation kitchen will be built so that local chefs and others can teach about the foodways of historic San Antonio while preparing these foods for classes and public demonstration. Men’s and Women’s rest rooms will be included in the new building.
  • A kiosk will be built to serve as a permanent food booth that can be used during events and on a daily basis.
  • Two smaller kiosks (which are movable) will be located near the new fountain. They will serve as booths to sell a variety of items, including arts and craft. These too, will be used during events and on a day by day basis to activate the plaza.

South Alamo/Nueva Street corner entrance, illustrated by MP Studio.


adolfo@virtualbx.com

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By |2020-08-03T13:35:15-05:00August 3rd, 2020|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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