May 24, 2002
Tapped out

The 116-year-old Pearl Brewery in San Antonio has been closed for a year, and despite its prime location just north of downtown on the San Antonio River, no one has stepped up to buy the property.

Trinity University, my alma mater, is just north of the brewery on US 281. We'd drive past it every time we went downtown. What made the Pearl Brewery distinctive was the enormous Pearl Beer can that stood atop one of the buildings. There was a campus-wide scavenger hunt once in which that beer can was the biggest prize, but not too surprisingly no one bagged it. It wasn't exactly the sort of thing you could strap to the roof of your car, after all.

I'm sad to see this piece of my past fade away. San Antonio has grown and developed quite a bit since I was there in the mid-80s. 281 between Trinity and Loop 410 was once basically empty. There was a big abandoned rock quarry just east of the freeway, bordering the ritzy Alamo Heights and Olmos Park neighborhoods. (San Antonio must have been quite the rock quarry city in its day, since the Trinity campus is built on another one.) It's now a strip center. Every time I go back I'm amazed at how many things are there now that weren't then.

I do hope someone does something decent with the Pearl property. The Riverwalk, built mostly on Henry Cisneros' watch, has been quite the boon for San Antonio, so even with the large price tag attached I don't think this will go unused forever. There's money to be made there, and someone's going to figure out how make it.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on May 24, 2002 to The great state of Texas

Im a UTSA graduate architecture student getting ready to begin my master's thesis. I have recently become interested in the Brewery and its social context. I will be endeavoring a thesis on the modernized public spaces that should be rooted in a community's historical fabric. Any information on future developments for this property? Just curious. It seems to be at a prime location and I believe it is worthy of further investigation.

amy martinez
UTSA graduate student

Posted by: amy on May 6, 2004 2:27 AM