Mayor Nirenberg backing Sunken Garden Theater renovation plan as vote nears

The redevelopment plan calls for expanded seating and a protective rooftop. There would also be improved facilities for event guests and performers.

$25M request down to $5M: Brackenridge Park Conservancy wants council to increase bond money for Sunken Garden Theater

Editor’s note: This story was published through a partnership between KSAT and the San Antonio Business Journal.

San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg has put his support behind a plan that could funnel as much as $62 million in public and private funding to renovate the Sunken Garden Theater.

“I want to see the plan succeed,” Nirenberg said. “There are going to be layers of funding that need to be activated.”

Backers contend the landmark makeover is needed to rescue the more than 90-year-old midtown venue from disrepair and to win back entertainment business that’s bypassing San Antonio for other Texas cities.

The Brackenridge Park Conservancy is spearheading the plan, in the works prior to the pandemic. Nick Hollis, president of the conservancy, said backers are hopeful the city will contribute $25 million toward the improvements, which could include $5 million in municipal bond money.

The conservancy also hopes to get $25 million from Bexar County. The balance would come from the private sector.

“There will be private sector fundraising that’s needed. There is going to be city and county collaboration that’s required,” Nirenberg said, noting that some of the public support could come from Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone funding.

The redevelopment plan calls for expanded seating and a protective rooftop. There would also be improved facilities for event guests and performers.

The hope is that the improvements would help San Antonio win back some of the entertainment business that’s been bypassing the market in favor of other Texas cities with more competitive facilities. But Conservancy officials note that the scope of their plan could change based on feedback from City Hall.

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