UTSA to explore Alamo area site for potential new museum

The university has entered into a memorandum of understanding with ownership of the downtown land as it considers options for the Institute of Texan Cultures.

Institute of Texan Cultures museum at Hemisfair Park

SAN ANTONIO – The University of Texas at San Antonio has engaged more than a half-dozen firms with expertise in museums, cultural institutions, architecture and real estate development to assess three long-term options for the Institute of Texan Cultures, including the development of a new ITC outside its current Hemisfair home.

While UTSA has not yet ruled out a renovation of the more than 50-year-old pavilion that currently houses the ITC or its relocation to another Hemisfair structure, the university is now exploring the potential development of a new museum near the Crockett Hotel, footsteps from the Alamo.

Such a structure could span roughly 80,000 square feet and cost north of $100 million to construct based on preliminary numbers.

Veronica Salazar, chief enterprise development officer and senior vice president for business affairs at UTSA, said while all options are still being evaluated, the site near the Crockett Hotel, currently a surface parking lot, is “very favorable.”

The university has launched a process to fully explore the Alamo area site as an option. It’s entered into a memorandum of understanding with the city of San Antonio and with 1859 Historic Hotels, owners of the Crockett property. Salazar said that will allow UTSA to conduct due diligence on the site, a process that could take up to six months.

UTSA has looked at other potential sites outside of Hemisfair including its downtown campus. But the Crocket site offers some unique bonuses, including an opportunity to try and capture some of the roughly 2.5 million people expected to visit the Alamo area annually.

“We feel that it would be a prime location,” Salazar told me.

A move of the ITC would also free up UTSA to put a key Hemisfair site near the Alamodome on the market.

“This will allow us to fully monetize the pavilion to provide a financial component for the ITC museum,” Salazar said.

You can read the full the story in the San Antonio Business Journal.

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