The Pearl complex between south Broadway and the Museum Reach of the San Antonio River is becoming even more friendly to foot traffic in 2021.
To make this happen at the former Pearl Brewery, officials are offering internal street closures; new restaurants and music venues; paid, tiered parking; and more green space with plants and water features for residents, employees and visitors.
Plans for the 1100 Springs Park, named for an old Pearl Beer advertising slogan, will eliminate parking in front of the Full Goods building. Also, Karnes Street, which runs along the proposed park to Grayson Street, will be closed to vehicles, just like Pearl Parkway.
Avenues A and B, which cut across Pearl parallel to Broadway, will remain open.
The closure of Karnes later this year also sets the stage to further develop the garage building, which once held Pearl Brewery vehicles, into “new venues that engage with the outside space,” said Pearl Chief Marketing Officer Elizabeth Fauerso.
Pearl Stable, the first edifice renovated for private events after Silver Ventures bought the property from Pabst Brewing Co. nearly two decades ago, will soon start what planners envision as an “iconic Texas music venue.”
Jazz, TX, Pearl’s first music club, is on the site of the brewery’s Bottling Department. The upper floor is the food hall.
The changes are all part of an ongoing effort to have residents, workers and guests feel like they’re part of a community.
“We want parks; we want restaurants; we want places where people interact with one another,” Fauerso said.
Pearl has become a major draw for out-of-towners and San Antonians, so making the complex more pro-pedestrian becomes vitally important, officials said.
“When you’re traveling, most people want to feel like they’re in a unique place,” Fauerso said. “They want to feel like they are where the locals go.”
However, several alterations are sparking controversy, especially eliminating more than 50 parking spaces for green space, and implementing paid parking in some areas.
While downtown workers less than a mile south of the mixed development wouldn’t blink at shelling out for parking, the nearly 3,000 spots at Pearl were established as free from the start by owner Christopher “Kit” Goldsbury of Silver Ventures and Rio Perla Properties.
However, the organization emphasizes that while some parking will go for premium fees of $6 to $10 depending on time, free parking will remain a Pearl perk.
Even paid lots will be at no expense for 30-minute-or-less stays.
LAZ Parking will manage the service. The first phase, already in place, has turned the Pearl Stable lot into more than 65 premium for-cost spaces payable through a mobile phone app. The parking garage remains free.
What’s more, garage slots of the new Credit Human headquarters and Oxbow building will be free to Pearl visitors on nights and weekends. Efforts also are underway to improve the connectivity of workplaces with the rest of the campus.
Fauerso said those structures were built without cafeterias because employees were expected to frequent Pearl restaurants or public spaces.
Two new eateries on either side of the 1100 Springs Park area will be announced later in 2021 as replacements. Il Sogno has been shuttered for some time and Green will soon be relocating to Alamo Quarry Market.
As tiered parking arrives over the next year, visitors can pick preferences based on color: red for premium, yellow for lesser-priced cost and green for free.
All handicapped spots stay at no charge.
Keeping patrons safe remains a priority during the pandemic, officials said.
On a chilly January night, moveable heaters warmed outdoor, physically distanced tables and groups of mostly young adults, who sat in circles drawn on the lawn between Southerleigh Fine Food & Brewery and the Food Hall.
Bundled up at one, Natalie Sanchez and Diana Gomez painted with watercolors and markers.
“It’s free to get in, so that’s one of the reasons I like to come,” Gomez said. While she plans to use the free parking when commuting from her home near North Star Mall, she doesn’t mind paying a little if everything else is full.
Sanchez, a Northeast Side resident, said she’s willing to fork over a few dollars “because this is a destination.”
The footprint of the development is pushing beyond the historic limits of the former brewery as Silver Ventures reintroduces adjacent properties. Those include Elmira Apartments, a 265-unit riverfront building approved by the Historic and Design Review Commission in December. At seven stories, it will include a parking garage for residents, plus retail and a coffee shop on the ground floor.
Silver Ventures, also owner of the former Samuels Glass Co. property since 2015, is expected to reveal intentions for the prime spot on the riverbanks later in 2021.