Construction work began last month on a makeover of Maverick Plaza at La Villita, three years after local chef Johnny Hernandez’s Grupo La Gloria signed a 49-year lease with the city to turn it into a culinary destination.
The city is nearly finished demolishing limestone walls that had enclosed the plaza, and its fountain, said Paul Berry, a spokesman for the city’s Public Works Department, in an email. The most recent plan for its makeover, which the city’s Historic and Design Review Commission approved last year, calls for building a new fountain closer to South Alamo Street to help draw pedestrians into the area.
Hernandez had planned to add Mexican, German and Spanish restaurants to the plaza, including a microbrewery, but the plans are in flux, he said in a text message in August.
“We have begun design phase again, no announcements will be made yet on restaurants,” he said. “We hit the breaks on design back in April.”
He didn’t respond to questions seeking further information about the plans.
The city is contributing $5.8 million to the project, with Grupo la Gloria covering the remaining $7.6 million, Berry said. (When HDRC approved the plans last year, the city’s portion of the bill had been an expected $4.4 million, and Grupo La Gloria’s $7.6 million).
[ Related: Conservation Society blasts Maverick Plaza renovation plan fearing NIOSA impact | Aug. 20, 2020 ]
As part of an effort to upgrade underground utilities, the city is also conducting demolition on Nueva and King Philip streets, with work expected to continue until December, Berry said. The pavers on King Philip are being stored for later use, he said.
The $9 million reconstruction of South Alamo, which was approved as part of the 2017-2022 bond program, is still in design phase, Berry said.
“Over the last few months we have been meeting with stakeholders that will be affected by the project, to finalize the scope before we finish the final design,” he said in an email. “Once design is complete we will advertise the project and seek out bids for contractors.”
The current plan is to begin construction in spring of next year and complete it in about two years, depending on the weather, he said.
[ Related: Plan to add restaurants to Maverick Plaza draws mixed reviews at NIOSA | April 26, 2019 ]
Richard Webner is a freelance journalist covering Austin and San Antonio, and a former San Antonio Express-News business reporter. Follow him at @RWebner on Twitter