The burgeoning Port San Antonio lays out growth plans

Expansions would accommodate cybersecurity, aerospace, and defense tenants, and help commercialize technologies.

March 10, 2019 |

A rendering of an Innovation Center that would be part of a larger expansion of the Port San Antonio, which has become a platform for connecting cybersecurity and digital innovations with leading global industries. Image: Port San Antonio and Gonzalez/Mogas Architects

The 1,900-acre Port San Antonio campus, immediately south of the country’s seventh-largest city’s downtown, is home to over 80 public- and private-sector companies and 13,000-plus workers in such fields as aerospace, defense, cybersecurity, robotics, and advanced manufacturing. The campus’ annual economic impact exceeds $5 billion.

In 2015, the Port—located at the former Kelly Air Force Base, which closed in 2001—revealed plans to focus its economic development on the goal of creating 5,000 new jobs by 2020. On February 27, the Port’s Board of Directors authorized its CEO Jim Perschback to negotiate development plans with American Triple I Partners to advance its strategic objectives.

The goal is to “leverage our Port’s unique platform and partnerships to physically and virtually connect the region’s large and well-established nature industries with the region’s innovators, and facilitate commerce and collaboration between then—leading to the development of new technologies that also have applications on a national and global scale and, as a result, drive regional economic growth,” reads the “Tech Port San Antonio” proposal that Port San Antonio presented last month.

The initial phases of the predevelopment agreement would support recent expansions by a growing number of cybersecurity firms moving onto the Port’s campus.

Port San Antonio would convert and enlarge a 130,000-sf industrial facility on its campus for an innovation center and office space for cybersecurity and defense tenants. It would also like to add a space for industrial fabrication. Image: Port San Antonio 

 

The Port is considering a fitout of an existing flexible 130,000-sf industrial facility for an Interim Innovation Showroom and Education Center. The building—which could be expanded to 200,000 sf with the addition of a second floor—would include on its first floor a 36,000-sf 1,500-seat-capacity Technology Arena, a 49,000-sf expansion of the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, a 30,000-sf Industry Showroom, and 42,000 sf of coworking and maker spaces.

The predevelopment agreement also envisions150,000-sf of cybersecurity offices for a Security Operations Center, and shared/rentable space for commercial and defense operations, built to meet Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities (SCIF) standards.

The first building of the complex is already nearly fully leased by cybersecurity company tenants such as CNF Technologies and Lockheed Martin

Improvements in one building on campus would add an arena, museum, and coworking space. Image: Port San Antonio

 

The predevelopment agreement foresees the creation, by 2021, of a 120,000-sf industrial fabrication and laboratory space with about 15,000 sf for open and segmented offices. The remaining, divisible space would offer multiple bays ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 sf. The Port suggests that this building could be located to provide tenants and users with access to the Port’s industrial airport.

The Port plans to pursue the establishment of an “Other Transaction Authority” to facilitate the commercialization of technologies developed through the innovation center and regional innovators, and to provide the government with rapid access to R&D and prototyping. 

America Triple I Partners is a New York-based investment advisor focused on infrastructure private equity. Its Chairman and Co-CIO is Henry Cisneros, the former San Antonio mayor who under President Clinton was Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development He also cofounded CityView, an investment management and development firm dedicated to urban living. American Triple I Partners is affiliated with the investment bank Siebart Cisneros Shank & Co. Its team includes William Thompson, who for eight years was New York City’s Comptroller.

Sundt Infrastructure Development is expected to support the investment group during predevelopment.

Following a 120-day predevelopment period established by the memorandum of understanding, during which additional design and feasibility research will be conducted, the Port and Triple I could formalize separate agreements for phased construction of the two projects.

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