The Alamo Is Trying To Eminent Domain This Man’s Bar to Make Way for Museum Honoring Alamo Defenders
For the past 12 years, Vince Cantu has owned and operated the Alamo-themed Moses Rose’s Hideout bar, just a few blocks from its historical inspiration in downtown San Antonio, Texas. For six of those years, Texas government bodies undertaking a massive expansion of the Alamo grounds have been telling him the same thing: sell us your bar, or we’re going to come and take it.
Tomorrow the San Antonio City Council is set to vote on an ordinance authorizing the use of eminent domain to seize Cantu’s bar. It’s a drastic move, which the city, the state, and the nonprofit Alamo Trust (which operates the site) all claim is necessary given Cantu’s repeated refusal to sell his property at a reasonable price. His obstinance puts the entire $400 million Alamo expansion in jeopardy, they say.
Cantu, meanwhile, says he’s eager to participate in the expected economic success from adding a new Alamo museum, visitor center, and shops. The efforts to cut him out of the coming downtown boom by seizing his property are both unjust and laced with historical irony, he says.
“This was not run-of-the-mill eminent domain ‘we’re going to put a pipeline or a road through this property,'” he tells Reason. “This is property on the grounds of Texas liberty. This is blood-stained soil that we fought against this very thing, this whole idea of a government coming in and taking away your way of life.”
When Cantu purchased the building that is now his bar, it had been vacant for eight years and was in rough shape physically. Its primary virtue was its location just a block from the historic Alamo Plaza and within walking distance of the San Antonio Riverwalk.
With an eye toward its potential, Cantu poured the money he’d made from selling the last bar he owned into creating Moses Rose’s Hideout—named after the likely apocryphal legend of the one Alamo defender who deserted the fort instead of fighting and dying with the other defenders.
“With very little money I got it painted and passed city codes and got it open. All my first customers were homeless people. A homeless guy on a guitar was my live entertainment,” he says. “It was probably a couple years before I was breaking even.”
But the investment paid off, and those first lean years gave way to a booming business.
As Moses Rose’s was becoming a downtown fixture, the various government entities and nonprofits with a stake in the Alamo were also plotting a business venture of their own. In late 2015, the City of San Antonio, the Alamo Endowment Board, and the General Land Offi
Article from Reason.com