City Council expected to consider East side brewery in May

Developer sees tourism, opponent questions viability

By Jessie Degollado - Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - The final plan for a proposed brewery in the shadow of the Hays St. Bridge, an Eastside landmark, has been submitted to the city in advance of the item being considered by city council in May.

Eugene Simor, president of Alamo Beer, said the plan includes the purchase of the city-owned, 1.7-acre tract for the $5 million project including cost of acquiring the real estate, plus another $2.5 million for the brewing equipment.

He said the East side needs a project that will spur on other development.

"The Alamo Brewery can and will be that project," Simor said.

He said he also has the support of the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association, although Nellie Hinton, who lives nearby, has her doubts.

Hinton, who petitioned to save the Hays St. Bridge, pointed to two other redevelopment projects in which Simor said he held a minority interest. The bridge reopened in July 2010 as a bike and pedestrian trail, at a cost of $3.7 million from private and public funds.

"The Friederich building is still sitting up on Commerce Street and Pine as an eye sore, and the Merchants Ice and Storage is still right down on the railroad tracks," Hinton said.

"It came up short," Simor said. "We weren't able to get it over the goal line."

He said there were financial situations and other circumstances that interfered, but they are still trying to revive the projects and secure funding.

As far as the brewery is concerned, Simor said his financial plan and investors support the project.

"So this will get done," Simor said.

Still Hinton said she more should have been done to create a park or affordable housing for the community near the Hays St. Bridge.

Juan Garcia, president of the Dignowity Hill Neighborhood Association, said in a statement, "the neighborhood association is clearly in support of this project and could be the catalyst to spur other development around Dignowity Hill and into other areas of the Eastside. Many if not most of the neighborhood residents are looking forward to the potential this project can bring to the area."

Simor said the brewery in Blanco where he has a contract to produce Alamo Beer has 40 employees, producing 40,000 barrels of beer yearly.

He said similar breweries around Texas also attract tourists who are welcomed to taste the freshly brewed product.

Simor said already he's heard about other developers checking for potential sites near the Hays St. Bridge and the proposed brewery within sight of downtown.

"So just the mere excitement of a brewery coming has generated some economic development," he said.

Simor said if the council approves, he plans to break ground on the project in May with a completion date one year later.

To see a full PDF of the proposed brewery and site, click here.

Copyright 2012 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.