State buys three buildings on sacred Alamo grounds

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George P. Bush, Commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, recently announced official acquisition of three of the historically significant buildings across the Alamo Plaza from the Alamo Complex: the Woolworth, Crockett, and Palace buildings.

Combined the square footage of the properties is nearly 100,000 square feet (98,557 square feet), a portion of which resides within the original footprint of the Alamo Mission compound built in 1724. This section of the compound’s wall included the headquarters where Lieutenant Colonel William B. Travis, leader of the Alamo’s defenders, penned his famous letters calling for reinforcements in 1836.

“The purchase of these buildings caps an extraordinary year in the history of the Alamo,” Commissioner Bush said. “In one year, we have upgraded the state’s management of the Alamo complex, re-established the Alamo Endowment Board with Texas titans, begun work with San Antonio on the master plan, and now with the Texas Legislature’s support the state purchased irreplaceable properties adjacent to the plaza. While there will be no immediate changes for the tenants, having the state own these buildings will help as we all work together to make the Alamo the destination that it should be.”

“The acquisition of these three buildings is a tremendous boon to the momentum of the revitalization of the Alamo Complex,” said Gene Powell, Chairman of the Remember the Alamo Foundation. “Thanks to the leadership of the Texas Legislature and the guidance of the members of the Alamo Endowment Board, the GLO successfully negotiated this acquisition, which will now become a key element of our discussions with the community about the future of the Alamo Historic District.”

The GLO’s acquisition of the three buildings does not change the current provisions of the existing leases. Members of the Cooperative Agreement are not speculating on the future use of these buildings at this time, but anticipate that the buildings will be a critical element of the master plan discussions.

“The GLO and Alamo Endowment Board are looking forward to working with their partners in the city of San Antonio on the master planning process to create a comprehensive plan for the future of the Alamo,” said Alamo Director Becky Dinnin. “It is an exciting time for all San Antonians, Texans, and all who honor the Alamo.”

This announcement marks significant step in the GLO’s historic and comprehensive effort to improve the Alamo experience to make it more engaging and educational. In October the Texas General Land Office and the City of San Antonio announced it would enter into a Cooperative Agreement with the Alamo Endowment to fund and oversee the development of a Joint Master Plan and the implementation of that plan for the Alamo Historic District and Alamo Complex.

The agreement approved by a vote of the San Antonio City Council on Oct. 15 and signed by representatives from each organization at a formal ceremony at the Alamo later that day. The master planning process will be managed by the GLO and the Endowment, in coordination with the city, and will benefit by a huge infusion of capital including $17 million previously approved by the San Antonio City Council, $31 million approved by the Texas Legislature, and an extensive fundraising effort by the Endowment.

The city and state officials expect the master plan will take up to 12 months, with the expectation that the implementation of the plan could begin on the recommendations as early as 2016.

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