Alamo Plaza Renovation

The Texas General Land Office announced Wednesday that it has reached an agreement with tenants to vacate two buildings on Alamo Plaza by Oct. 31, paving the way for the construction of a new Alamo museum.

The agreement removes what had been a major impediment to the development of a museum and visitor center in three state-owned buildings on the west side of Alamo Plaza. The project is the centerpiece of a nearly $400 million public-private transformation of the historic mission and battle site.

Terms of the agreement were not released.

The 100,000 square foot museum is slated for completion in 2026. But Phillips Entertainment had leases to operate Tomb Rider 3D Adventure Ride & Arcade, The Guinness World Records Museum and Ripley’s Haunted Adventure that ran beyond that date – until in 2027 for part of the Woolworth Building, and until 2028 for the Palace Building and the adjoining part of the Woolworth. The company has leased the pitches since 2002, according to the Land Office.

“We are delighted to have been able to reach a mutual agreement with the General Land Office regarding the future of some of our Alamo Plaza businesses,” the company said in a statement sent by its chairman and chief executive, Davis Phillips. .

Other businesses at the north end of the Woolworth Building, just west of the square, included a Jimmy John’s restaurant.

Alamo Plaza, with the Alamo in the lower left corner, is visible in this 2015 aerial photo. The white marble cenotaph is visible to the right of the image in front of three buildings belonging to the Texas General Land Office.

Photo from personnel file
People walk near Ripley's Haunted Adventure across from the Alamo in this 2018 photo.

People walk near Ripley’s Haunted Adventure across from the Alamo in this 2018 photo.

Photo from personnel file
Rosemary Borchardt, visiting from Alaska, takes photos during a 2015 horse-drawn carriage ride past the building being sold to the Texas General Land Office.

Rosemary Borchardt, visiting from Alaska, takes photos during a 2015 horse-drawn carriage ride past the building being sold to the Texas General Land Office.

Contributor file photo

The two Alamo Plaza buildings that will house the 100,000 square foot museum are currently leased to Tomb Rider 3D Adventure Ride & Arcade, Guinness World Records Museum and Ripley’s Haunted Adventure. (File photos)

Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced the agreement with tenants under the management of Phillips Entertainment who occupy space on the first floor of the Woolworth and Palace buildings. The buildings are part of the historic setting of the mission-fort. The agreement “signals a historic step toward the creation of the future Alamo museum and visitor center,” the state agency said in a statement.

For years, local residents and visitors have said businesses are inappropriate for the site of San Antonio’s first permanent Spanish-Indigenous mission and the battle of 1836, in which hundreds of Mexican soldiers and Anglo defenders and Tejano Alamo were killed. Since at least 1,300 burials have been recorded in the area, portions of the plaza and land owned by the Alamo State would have been used as cemeteries from the 1700s and 1800s.

Bush highlighted the site’s ties to the 13 Day Siege and the battle for Texas independence in the announcement.

“We owe it to every Texan to protect the sacred sanctuary of freedom and independence. Our goal is to tell the story of the battle of 1836 and showcase Texas’ bravest defenders who gave their lives for freedom Bush said. “This agreement is a significant step forward in restoring respect and dignity to the sacred lands of the Alamo.”

Officials from the Land Office, the City of San Antonio and the nonprofit Alamo Trust, which form the three-party partnership leading the Alamo’s transformation, plan to preserve the 1882 Crockett Building and the Woolworth Building from 1921 as part of the new museum complex.

A curator has recorded scans of the historic structures, “so that we can determine exactly how much we can save on the historic buildings of Crockett Block, which we are passionate about,” Alamo Trust executive director Kate Rogers told the Texas Historical Commission last week. .

The architects are also working on a conceptual design and placement within the row of historic buildings for a 4D theater and coordinating exhibit design with a team led by Patrick Gallagher, the project’s program manager.

Under the agreement, which took effect Jan. 21, the tenants will cease operations by Sept. 1 and move in by Oct. 31.

Phillip said his attractions will continue to operate elsewhere in San Antonio outside of the historic Alamo footprint. The company has two Extreme Escape locations on the North Side, as well as the Buckhorn Saloon & Museum, Texas Ranger Museum, and The Amazing Mirror Maze downtown. He plans to soon open a “Texas/San Antonio-themed retail business” called Viva SA.TX on the south end of the plaza.

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Gregory M. Roy