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1948 Deed May Snag H-E-B Plan To Close Main Avenue Downtown

City of San Antonio

Update (11/8): City officials and H-E-B both told the Express-News that they are aware of the newly-discovered deed, but don't see it presenting any problems for the plan to close Main Avenue.

H-E-B released a statement on the deed:

“It is our understanding that the grantor's rights were acquired by H-E-B as a part of the Arsenal property when it was purchased in 1982.

Original Post: A neighborhood group says it may have found a way to compel the city to deny H-E-B’s request to close Main Avenue. An attorney for the group found the original deed turning the property over to the City of San Antonio.

On Thursday the Main Access Coalition delivered copies of a 1948 document deeding the "right-of-way across the San Antonio Arsenal" to the City of San Antonio. Today that "way" is known as South Main Avenue.

Main Access spokesman and attorney James Rodriguez said the deed has some restrictions that limit what the city is allowed to do with Main Avenue adjacent to the Arsenal property.

"The most interesting one is that it specifically requires the city to dedicate the property to public use," Rodriguez said. "And if the city ever abandons the property or if it’s ever used for something other than the public, the property automatically reverts back to the federal government."

The 1948 deed states it was executed by the United States government through the War Assets Administration.

Along with the deed, the group also delivered copies of the city’s ordinance accepting the "way" and accepting the conditions set forth by the federal government.

H-E-B has been in talks with the city over its proposal to build a downtown grocery store. The talks expanded to the closure of South Main Avenue, which H-E-B said it must do to build more office space and bring in more jobs.

Neighborhood groups and others have coalesced around the issue of closing South Main.

Rodriguez said copies of the documents were delivered to San Antonio City council members, the city attorney, Bexar County Commissioners, the U.S. Attorney and to H-E-B.

Have a look at the deed in the PDF below:

Eileen Pace is a veteran radio and print journalist with a long history of investigative and feature reporting in San Antonio and Houston, earning more than 50 awards for investigative reporting, documentaries, long-form series, features, sports stories, outstanding anchoring and best use of sound.