Aug 3, 2023 - News

Alamo-area bar Moses Rose's will be razed for museum

Visitors gather in front of the Alamo.

Tourists in front of the Alamo in January. Photo: Daniel Slim/AFP via Getty Images

The owner of Moses Rose's Hideout reached an agreement to turn over his bar to make way for a new Alamo Visitor Center and Museum, ending eminent domain proceedings and bringing a years-long dispute to an end.

Driving the news: Officials with the city, state and Alamo Trust announced the deal Thursday.

Why it matters: The agreement means a key site in San Antonio's history will be redeveloped to attract more tourists and have stronger educational offerings.

What they're saying: "The government will soon demolish our building and begin the construction of the Alamo Museum, partially under the site of Moses Rose's Hideout, on dirt that has not been touched in over 150 years," owner Vince Cantu said in a statement shared with Axios. The bar has been open for 12 years.

  • "This agreement paves the way for the future of the historic Alamo," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said in a statement. "Every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit the Alamo to learn more about the deep-rooted history and culture of San Antonio. In just a few years, our visitors will enjoy a state-of-the-art Alamo Visitor Center and Museum."

Zoom in: If any artifacts discovered under the bar are displayed in the future museum, labels will acknowledge them as coming from the property sold by Cantu's family, he said through his attorney Dan Eldredge.

  • "This concession was the respect we needed," Cantu said.

Flashback: The City Council voted in January to authorize eminent domain to acquire the bar on behalf of the Texas General Land Office.

Catch up fast: Since 2020, the General Land Office has made at least three offers to buy the property from Cantu at a price that covered the appraised value and lost business revenue, Kate Rogers, executive director of the Alamo Trust, said.

  • But Cantu said the state's offers of around $3.5 million weren't enough, countering that at least $7 million or $8 million would be reasonable, since the bar is his family's livelihood.

The latest: Cantu, through Eldredge, declined to say what the bar was valued at in the agreement.

Context: The visitor experience at the Alamo has long been considered underwhelming.

  • Across from the 300-year-old Spanish mission sat a haunted house and a Guinness World Records Museum, which have since closed to make way for the museum.
  • For years, officials have been working to transform the plaza into a destination worthy of its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Details: Plans for the visitor center include a 4D theater, special event space, rooftop restaurant and retail space.

  • The museum is meant to tell the history of the Alamo starting as a Spanish colonial outpost through the battle during the Texas Revolution.

What's next: Cantu will vacate the bar by Aug. 15, which will keep the Alamo project on schedule, per a city news release.

  • The Alamo Visitor Center and Museum are expected to open in 2027.

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