Built in 1883, the Pearl Brewery is one of San Antonio's most visited landmarks. Brewery owner Silver Ventures turned to Joeris General Contractors to update the property and its aging structures.

Photo by Nick Simonite
Pearl Brewery.
Photo by Kemp Davis
Pearl Brewery.

Working on the project from June 2009 to June 2012, the Joeris team added a five-story, 210,000-sq-ft parking garage to the brewery site, which also includes office space, retail storefronts at street level and apartments and condominiums on the top two floors.

Included in the construction was an expanded facility for the local campus of the Culinary Institute of America.

"The Culinary Institute Building has a valet level that was below grade approximately 1 foot above the water table that required special attention to waterproofing and means of creating a workable surface," says Jason Adam, project manager at Joeris General Contractors. "The finish out of the Culinary Institute was a heavy MEP project that required lots of coordination between the trades, engineers and architects both in the above ceiling areas and on the roofs."

This building also houses the central plant for the majority of the campus, "so attention had to be paid to the piping and installation of equipment in order to allow for future expansion," Adam says.

The most recent phase of the project was a three-story, 75,000-sq-ft mixed-use shell building that also included the construction of retail space and a new road.

"Having a high-density, downtown setting and an occupied campus with students, tenants and customers present at all times, along with existing historic structures, utilities and challenging drainage situations" presented a number of challenges to the construction team, Adam says.

The contracted scope included renovation work consisting of the restoration of the historic conveyor and removal of existing foundations and piers in the area. Many of the old brewery's original features were also recycled and reused.

Given the site's location on the San Antonio River and the fact that new construction took place between existing historical and occupied structures, the laydown area was limited and jobsite cleanliness was crucial.

During excavation the team hit the water table at 13 ft below grade, and with the water level 1 ft below the basement level of the new garage structure, water had to be continually removed while concrete was formed and poured.