Breaking News
More () »

City Council votes to use eminent domain to take downtown business for Alamo Plaza

One downtown bar stands in the way of construction that will give a massive new facelift to downtown San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio City Council on Thursday voted to use eminent domain to get over a lingering hurdle in a multimillion-dollar plan that would build a new Alamo museum and visitor center 

Moses Rose's Hideout remains the lone business that has yet to accept an offer for his business as the Alamo Trust Board of Directors looks to proceed. Owner Vince Cantu is in a stalemate with the Alamo Trust and Texas General Land Office, having rejected multiple offers since 2020. 

"[I'm] disappointed with the decision today, I think the fight for private property rights, the fight for the legacy of the Alamo defenders all went down today," Cantu told KENS 5.

Today, several members of the community including descendants of Alamo Defenders support the city's right to use eminent domain. The Alamo Trust says Cantu has been the only business owner who has failed to make a deal.

"There’s been three separate offers made in an attempt to have a productive conversation and that has not been possible,” Kate Rogers, executive director of the Alamo Trust said during the meeting.

City Council voted yes in using eminent domain for the Alamo Trust that will permit the seizure of Cantu's business, making the standoff even pricklier.

According to City Attorney Andy Segovia, the vote is specifically to start the condemnation process, which usually involves an accelerated negotiation process that could still take months.  

"We can't just take properties that are convenient for us," Segovia said. "We need to show there's a compelling public purpose for this. We don't think we'll have an issue showing that."

In its letter to San Antonio leaders, the board of directors behind the project said they have reached "a critical impasse" that puts "the future of the Alamo Plan at stake."

The Alamo Trust says it will receive significant investment from the State of Texas, which is expecting the museum to open by March 2026.

"Every day counts," Rogers said.

According to a timeline obtained by KENS 5, Cantu set his asking price at $17 million in 2020. After two rejected offers of $2 million in 2020 and $2.5 million in 2022, the trust says it appraised the property at 516 East Houston St. to get a future five-year and 10-year valuation.

They claim the property was appraised at $2.1 million and offered $3.5 million to Cantu in December 2022. He rejected that offer, too.

During Thursday's meeting, Cantu said he would entertain an offer around $8 million for the property. 

"We're walking away from generational wealth. That's worth more than today's value," Cantu told reporters after the vote.

"Mr. Cantu has been offered a more than fair price for his property, yet he continues to demand more than six times the value of his property," the letter states in part. "The Alamo Plan calls for restoring and preserving the incredible 300-plus-year history of the sole remaining structures, the Alamo Church and Long Barrack."

Related story: San Antonio could use eminent domain to take downtown business for Alamo Museum and visitor center

The board alleges that if they don't secure the space that Moses Rose's Hideout occupies, it could result in a loss of $1.7 million in revenue.

Segovia said the city has initiated condemnation proceedings several times in the past. 

Construction on the Alamo Museum is supposed to begin this summer, but its unclear if the parties will reach a resolution. The city says now that its used eminent domain, they want to accelerate the negotiation.

"Moses Rose's will die on the grounds of the Alamo, like maybe he should've done, a lot of people think," Cantu said.

Before You Leave, Check This Out