Concept Renderings by OTJ Architects

On Sept. 17, 2021, the Brackenridge Park Conservancy announced its plans to redevelop the historic Sunken Garden Theater as a world-class outdoor performing arts venue in collaboration with the City of San Antonio and Bexar County. 

Plans include a refreshed look and feel that incorporates historically sensitive design and the implementation of first-class amenities for artists and patrons. Plans for the new Sunken Garden Theater include seating for 7,000, with the majority being fixed stadium seating under a mass timber-frame roof, grass berm for seating, enclosed stage house, expanded venue entrance, restored historic waterfall features and more. With the proposed changes to the theater, the Brackenridge Park Conservancy plans to to host diverse programming for locals and visitors alike to enjoy.

The Brackenridge Park Conservancy’s proposed plans to renovate the Sunken Garden Theater will address a deteriorating one-of-a-kind city facility and bring it back to life. The theater, originally constructed in 1930, has fallen into disrepair in recent decades. In addition to a new look and feel, the renovations to the Sunken Garden Theater would include:

  • Preservation of the historic amphitheater
  • Seating for over 5,900 reserved seats and over 1,100 lawn seats
  • VIP seating and lounge
  • Permanent restrooms, concessions, and merchandising areas
  • Redesigned landscaping
  • Expanded venue entrance
  • New enclosed stage house with improved power facilities
  • New dressing rooms for performers as well as upgraded backstage support facilities
  • Implementation of professional lighting and sound systems
  • Improved loading dock and bus parking
  • Elevator and ramp access to lawn seating
  • Professional box office

“The Brackenridge Park Conservancy believes the time is right for the reactivation of the historic amphitheater,” said Joe Calvert, BPC board chair. “The community has the opportunity to preserve the classical theater nestled into the old quarry before it deteriorates further and create a venue for all of us to enjoy—from community events to concerts and more.”

The estimated total cost of the renovation is expected to be about  $61.7 million with an economic impact of $239 million in the first 10 years. The project is also estimated to create 969 full-time equivalent construction jobs, and the theater itself would create about  171 full-time equivalent positions.

The project will be financed by a combination of public and private sources, philanthropic funds, tax credit equity and venue operations. When renovated, San Antonio will have a world-class outdoor music venue that would provide entertainment to citizens and visitors alike, thereby supporting the hospitality industry.