Hemisfair News

Historic house at Hemisfair up for lease as park transformation continues

Historic Hemisfair house up for lease as park transformation continues

Kusch House Hemisfair
The Kusch House, a 19th-century structure at Hemisfair, is now available for lease. Courtesy of Hemisfair

The Kusch House, an 1880s-era building that lies at the western edge of Hemisfair’s Tower Park, is now available for leasing opportunities as officials focus on the newest phase of the downtown park’s transformation.

The Hemisfair Park Area Redevelopment Corp. (HPARC) announced on April 25 a Request for Interest process, seeking proposals from local businesses and entrepreneurs who want to expand or launch their concept in central San Antonio.

HPARC has been working to reimagine the original Hemisfair Park, which was first built to accommodate the 1968 World’s Fair. Much of the civic space between the central business district and Southtown stood underutilized for years, but private and public initiatives have been part of efforts to remake Hemisfair into a destination with family-friendly parks, green and event spaces, new apartments, and retail and dining ventures.

Interested parties may submit proposals for the Kusch House at hemisfair.org/rfi.

“With the momentum building following Civic Park’s groundbreaking, Kusch House offers an exceptional view of it all,” Hemisfair CEO Andres Andujar said. “We want to hear the small business community’s big ideas for breathing new life into this historic building and showcasing what San Antonio has to offer for all who visit, play and live at Hemisfair.”

HPARC said the exterior of the Kusch House, including windows, doors and roofing, has been stabilized and updated due in part to private donations, including a grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. Other grant funds will be use to support the build-out of the structure once a small business tenant is selected.

The 1,100-square-foot structure includes an additional 385 square feet of front and rear porch space and 550 square feet of basement area. The property also features an outdoor space for additional seating with views of the Tower of the Americas. HPARC said the areas surrounding the property contribute to one of the most active pedestrian gateways in downtown, with proximity to multiple adjacent retail spaces, parking facilities, residences as well as the River Walk and Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Hemisfair provides a flexible lease structure with tenants renting the historic homes they occupy based on a percentage of sales. Hemisfair typically draws more than 600,000 visitors annually, though the lease structure is forgiving in times of low attendance or economic uncertainty, according to HPARC. Hemisfair officials also said revenue generated by leasing such structures contributes to Hemisfair’s overall financial sustainability and helps it become an active, urban park for residents and visitors.

Where the Kusch House is concerned, HPARC hopes to see proposals from ventures focused on food and beverages, retail or health and wellness. Hemisfair follows a public procurement process for new onsite business opportunities, usually with a three-to-12-month timeline from selection to opening, pending design and construction needs.

RFI responses are due by 5:59 pm on June 10, 2022. Tours of the space are available by appointment for interested parties, and a pre-submittal conference and open house will take place at 3:30 pm on May 17.

Along with the new tenant of Kusch House, HPARC is eager to expand the portfolio of Hemisfair tenants, which currently includes Box Street Social, CommonWealth Coffeehouse and Bakery, Dough Pizzeria Napoletana, EnergyX Fitness, Lick Honest Ice Creams, Magik Theatre, Paletería San Antonio and Re:Rooted 210 Urban Winery. Bombay Bicycle Club, Künstler Tap & Brat-Haus, and Jerk Shack are among the eateries scheduled to open at Hemisfair this year or next.

In January 2022, Hemisfair also broke ground on Civic Park, an 18-month construction project meant to produce more than five acres of new public park space, including natural rock formations and water sources designed to tell the story of the region’s geologic development. Civic Park Phase I is scheduled to open by fall 2023.