UTSA has conditional approval to sell or lease ITC to the City

Front of Institute of Texan Cultures building with international flags flying
Photo by Gordon Schults

UPDATE

Feb. 22 – The UT Board of Regents voted to allow UTSA conditional approval to enter into talks about selling or leasing the Institute of Texan Cultures property to the City.  Despite the speculation about the Spurs possibly returning to Hemisfair, no one is speaking on the record about the particulars.

Jan. 30 – Yet another reason to come together to repurpose the Texas Pavilion (Institute of Texan Cultures building):  the design influence of architect Willie Pena, one of the few prominent Mexican American architects of the 20th century.  He served as an unnamed partner with the firm of Caudill, Rowlett, & Scott, which designed the building.  This letter to the State Board of Review documents the significant connection between the Institute of Texan Cultures and Mexican American Civil Rights.

Jan. 13, 2024 – the State Board of Review approved the nomination of the Texas Pavilion (Institute of Texan Cultures building) to the National Register of Historic Places.  Nine speakers traveled to the Galveston meeting to support the nomination in person, while UTSA opposed it. The board’s approval is the first step in the nomination process. It is now up to the State Historic Preservation Officer to send the nomination on to the National Parks Service for final approval.

MEDIA COVERAGE

Likely site for new San Antonio Spurs arena could be sold or leased to the city – San Antonio Express-News, Feb. 22, 2024.

UTSA gets ‘conditional approval’ to sell or lease Hemisfair property to city – San Antonio Report, Feb. 22, 2024.

Commentary: Trailblazing Hispanic architect left out of Institute of Texan Cultures storySan Antonio Express-News, Jan. 30, 2024.

¡Que Viva Willie Peña!, courtesy of Dr. Sarah Zenaida Gould, MACRI Executive Director.

Learn more about one of the most prominent Mexican American architects of the last century, William Merriweather Peña (1919-2018).

“On the Record,” Jan. 18. 2024 – KLRN

Society member Betty Bueche discusses the building’s potential with Randy Beamer (after interview with Councilman Pelaez).  Betty is the former Director of Bexar County Heritage and Parks Department, the first woman Park Superintendent for Texas Parks and Wildlife, and a recipient of Texas Historical Commission’s Ruth Lester Lifetime Achievement Award.

Institute for Texan Cultures seeks designation that might save it – Texas Public Radio, Jan. 16, 2024

Society President Kathy Krnavek and Executive Director Vincent Michael speak to Jack Morgan about the advantages of National Register designation for the building’s future re-use.

National Register listing for Institute of Texan Cultures site gets state OK. What does that mean?San Antonio Express-News, Jan. 16, 2024

State board approves historic listing for Institute of Texan Cultures – KSAT-12, Jan. 16, 2024

Group seeks historic designation for ITC amid UTSA’s objectionSan Antonio Report, Jan. 13. 2024

 

THANK YOU TO OUR SUPPORTERS

On Behalf of the Conservation Society of San Antonio:

Thanks to all of you for your energy and commitment over long months to this cause.

The presentations in Galveston were excellent.  We are so grateful for those who saw us off from the Texas Pavilion/ITC building on Friday.

So many thanks to all who wrote or submitted statements online – it was an overwhelming show of support and a testament to all those who got the word out to their members and friends. The count we heard was 47 written letters and roughly 200 received via e-mail!

BACKGROUND

The Texas Pavilion (Institute of Texan Cultures or ITC) is one of HemisFair ‘68’s largest and most distinctive original buildings. Built as a permanent structure by the State of Texas, it has served as a museum of diverse Texan cultures for over 50 years. It meets National Register criteria for historic and architectural significance. The draft nomination is currently available online.

The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) plans to move the museum to a location closer to the Alamo. They want to sell the ITC building. The Conservation Society’s only concern is the future of this iconic Hemisfair building – and the National Register can help the next owner preserve and reuse it!

Listing on the National Register of Historic Places allows a developer to take advantage of preservation tax incentives worth 45% of all rehab costs! That means a $50 million project costs the developer only $27.5 million!  The nomination does not, however, prevent demolition.

The former Texas Pavilion, designed by the Houston firm of Caudill, Rowlett & Scott, anchors the east end of Hemisfair Park, making HemisFair one of the least altered of the post-WW II world’s fair sites.  Let’s help keep it that way!

PUBLIC COMMENT

Any comments received by the Texas Historical Commission after Jan 12th will still become a part of the record when the nomination is sent on to the National Parks Service.  Submit written comments via email to: nr@thc.texas.gov.  Thank you for your continued support!

Supporters rally at the Texas Pavlion/Institute of Texan Cultures building.

This image is copyrighted.

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