Renovation to La Villita will not affect Fiesta, SA chef says

'NIOSA is not going anywhere,' Chef Johnny Hernandez says

By Bill Barajas - Reporter, Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - San Antonio residents will gather Tuesday afternoon to share their opinions on the planned renovations to La Villita and Maverick Plaza.

The new $12 million renovations will include three new restaurants with cultural significance, chef Johnny Hernandez told KSAT.

"That's my commitment to really bring restaurants to La Villita that have a significant part of our heritage. Whether it's German, Spanish, Native American, Mexicano, that's what we want there," Hernandez said.

Construction is set to take place later this year but according to Hernandez, it will not have an effect on one of San Antonio's biggest parties.

"NIOSA is a very special celebration that happens at La Villita and NIOSA is not going anywhere. We are working with the conservation society to make sure that we add to that experience," Hernandez said.

The public meeting will be held at the San Antonio Central Library from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

In January 2018, KSAT.com obtained several renderings and additional information of the planned renovations.

RELATED: La Villita to get $12 million redesign in first major face-lift in decades

Crews will tear down the limestone walls currently encasing the plaza and will add three restaurants with menus by San Antonio's top chefs, Hernandez, Elizabeth Johnson and Steve McHugh.

According to a map outlining the redesign, Faville House will be converted into a native Texas/Spanish heritage restaurant by Johnson. Gissi House will be redesigned to include a German restaurant by McHugh, and a new building will be constructed at the corner of North Nueva and South Alamo streets that will house Hernandez's Mexican restaurant.

Johnson's restaurant, Acequia, is the only restaurant concept to be named. 

Each chef currently owns one or more San Antonio restaurants. Johnson is the owner of Pharm Table. Hernandez is the brain behind La Gloria, Burgerteca, The Fruteria and other local joints. McHugh owns Cured at the Pearl.

While the restaurants are some of the more notable additions to Maverick Plaza and La Villita, other renovations include the repaving of King Philip, Villita, Old Alamo streets and Maverick Plaza and the construction of an outdoor demonstration kitchen and kiosk to accommodate increased programming.

Metered parking will also be added to the area.

The city of San Antonio and Grupo La Gloria will put together weekly cooking demonstrations, invite mobile vendors, plan monthly harvest markets, program for cultural events and six to eight annual signature events that celebrate local culture, artisans, food, brewers, vintners and distillers.

The project will run on the following schedule:

  • January 2018 to December 2018 - Design of public improvements and restaurants
  • January 2019 to January 2021 - Construction of public improvements to include the construction of South Alamo, complete streets project
  • July 2019 to January 2021 - Construction of restaurants 

According to a release, the three restaurants will create 210 jobs and generate approximately $514,000 in sales and mixed beverage taxes over the next 10 years. 

The Inner City Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone will fund the $4.4 million of the $12 million project. The Inner City TIRZ will also contribute $600,000 to enhanced programming over seven years, beginning in 2019.

Copyright 2018 by KSAT - All rights reserved.