Anybody with a taste for Shiner Bock has benefitted from the influx of German breweries that sprouted up in Texas during the 19th century. One of the markers of this industry's rise across the state, San Antonio's Pearl Brewery building, has been given a second life recently by the design studio Roman and Williams, serving drinks in a slightly more upscale fashion than it did during its heyday as one of the city's leading employers. The 1894 building, a relic closed in 2001 that until recently still contained unused brewing tanks and discarded, German-language newspapers on its floors, has been renovated and reborn as Hotel Emma, a 146-room, brick-clad boutique hotel that's helping revitalize an area of midtown and northern downtown San Antonio.
According to an article in The Spaces, the overhaul emphasized the character of the structure, from recovered tiles to industrial remnants such as brewing tanks and old flywheels, incorporating them into the design alongside period furniture and distressed wood. The redesign tapped into the same sense of historic reverence that informs the firm's other high-profile projects, including the Chicago Athletic Association revamp that opened earlier this year.
A firm called Silver Ventures, led by Christopher "Kit" Goldsbury, bought the site in 2001, and has turned what it calls the Pearl Campus development into a vehicle for neighborhood revitalization north of the city's River Walk district. Pushing ahead despite the challenges of working at a 22-acre industrial site with contaminated soils, the firm has brought numerous businesses to the riverfront area, including restaurants and a new campus for the Culinary Institute of America. This new venue, which opened last month, enters the market after the city's famed St. Anthony Hotel, which was the first fully air conditioned hotel when it opened in 1909, was renovated and revamped this past summer.
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