SAN ANTONIO — The battle to buy a bar on the grounds of the Alamo is likely heading to court. On Friday, the Alamo Trust says it issued its final offer of $5.26 million for the Moses Rose’s Hideout.
In a tweet, owner Vince Cantu says he cannot accept their “unfair offer.” Last month, Cantu set his asking price at $10.5 million.
“I have been willing to sell my property to the Alamo Trust, but unwilling to negotiate under the threat of eminent domain, on the battleground of Texas Freedom. No land should be forcibly taken by the government ever again on this sacred battlefield,” Cantu wrote.
“Using eminent domain on the grounds of the Alamo we think is just un-Texan,” Cantu told KENS 5 he doesn't believe the Alamo Trust's latest offer was calculated fairly.
The back-and-forth between the bar owner and the Texas General Land Office, the Alamo Trust, and the City of San Antonio has not led to a deal since negotiations started nearly three years ago.
"They’ve called me in the press dishonorable and lack of good faith and so many other things that are not true, saying I refused to come to the table when they never really invited me,” Cantu said. The Alamo Trust said in its statement on Friday that Cantu made "multiple refusals to discuss the sale of his property."
The Alamo Trust says its final offer represents more than 2.5 times the $2.1 million valuation of Cantu’s property, “despite no legal obligation to do so.”
“It is our hope that Mr. Cantu accepts this extremely fair offer based on thorough analysis of his property and business and clears the way for the construction of a world-class Visitor Center and Museum fitting of the site’s comprehensive 300-year history and all those who lived, fought and died at the Alamo,” Kate Rogers, Executive Director of the Alamo Trust said.
The release says if Mr. Cantu rejects the latest offer, all parties will appear before a court-appointed panel of three special commissioners (uninterested Bexar County property owners) who will hear testimony and determine the valuation.
Under eminent domain law, the property isn’t valued at its current use but at its highest and best use. It's unclear how long the court proceedings could last, and the Alamo Trust wants to start construction on its new Visitors Center and Museum this summer.
Cantu says he's been willing to sell his property outside of the guise of eminent domain.
"I’m looking to make a deal here that honors where we’re standing which is the cradle of Texas liberty, where the defenders fought for freedom and independence, against a big government overreaching like this," Cantu adds.
The Alamo Trust says if Moses Rose's stays put, a 4D theater won't fit on site, the Upper North Paseo would become a narrow corridor, and the current location of an electrical vault would have to be moved.