Pearl Brewery | Case Study
San Antonio | Texas
Pearl Brewery is a 22-acre historic and industrial site on the banks of the San Antonio River that served as a major brewery from 1881-2001. Its original Spanish-style structures were built for brewing, bottling, storage and shipping. When beer production ended in 2001, it left a void in activity near the famed Riverwalk and San Antonio College. Developer Silver Ventures purchased the site in 2002. Today, Pearl Brewery is a culinary and cultural destination set amid a tapestry of historic and contemporary structures, gardens, plazas, public pathways, open spaces and tree-lined streets. As a dynamic and evolving environment, Pearl is committed to stewardship and learning. It’s home to the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio, (CIA) restaurants, a farmers market and food events coexist with bike stores, children’s bookstores and health clubs. The Pearl Stable, a former home for draft horses in the 1880s, and Pearl Studio, a “contemporary warehouse,” provide unique places for myriad events. This historic gathering place, once renown for beer production, today is a welcoming place to eat, play and learn along the banks of the San Antonio River.
- Transform an abandoned historic site, and surrounding neighborhood, into a vibrant historic adaptive re-use destination for residents and visitors that celebrates the site’s authenticity, local culture and history.
- Determine best uses and designs for indoor and outdoor buildings and open spaces to maximize the site’s potential as a community gathering spot and revenue generator. Develop a new organizational structure for management, planning and revenue generating programming of public spaces.
- Develop a new organizational structure for management, planning and revenue generating programming of public spaces.
- A preliminary needs and analysis study of the site: Creating Viable Public Spaces at Pearl Brewery: A Preliminary Study.
- Concepts and designs public spaces for varied uses in “Village” atmosphere — such as an amphitheater, sculpture garden, public plaza, multi-use grass park, arts and craft passageway, wedding garden and open-air dining areas — to accommodate full spectrum of possible programing from civic and cultural events to large and small gatherings. These concepts capture the distinct Spanish flavor of the spaces and multi-cultural signature of San Antonio Public space entity management role, structure and services.
- Preliminary cost analysis of public space operations.
- Developing an organizational structure, management plan, programming, event programing and management, and leasing strategies.
- Site analysis of physical and infrastructure needs of Pearl’s public spaces to support public space activation. Critical to our recommendations was activating the site 24/7 through diverse uses, including securing anchor tenants focused on education and innovation, retail that serves neighborhood interests and tourists, and programming space for public activities and events.
- Strategic planning for the Pearl Farmers Market, including establishing organizational, operations, financial and management structures, marketing strategies and sustainable features.
- The vision has become a reality: Today Pearl Brewery is a place where education and learning come together with exemplary living and diverse venues for dining, commerce, culture, arts, industry, shopping and hospitality.
- It attracts a diverse target market, including students and faculty of San Antonio College and CIA, young people driving the creative economy, and tourists enjoying the nearby Riverwalk. The village includes a diversity of major and neighborhood-serving tenants such as the CIA, local coffee houses, Hotel Emma and health studios to make activate the site night and day.
- Each year, hundreds of events of all sizes are held such as a farmer’s market, children’s yoga, maker exhibits and Latin jazz.
- Programming at public spaces is generating income to offset their costs. This includes a popular farmers market that was made possible after local officials agreed to alter existing legislation to allow it with extensive collaboration involving MJMMG and developer Silver Ventures.
- Pearl Brewery has an extensive recycling program and a water-recycling program, and has implemented a popular bike-sharing program.