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New Innovation Center should heighten Port San Antonio’s tech profile

AEC Tech Innovation

New Innovation Center should heighten Port San Antonio’s tech profile

The facility will include a 2,500-seat arena and serve as new home for the city’s S&T museum.


By John Caulfield, Senior Editor | September 18, 2020

The new Innovation Center at Port San Antonio is seen locally as a critical addtion to this tech campus. Renderings: Port of San Antonio/RVK Architects

Within weeks, construction is scheduled to begin on a $60 million, 130,000-sf mixed-use Innovation Center that is located on the 1,900-acre Port San Antonio technology campus in Texas, which straddles the former Kelly Air Force Base.

That campus is home to over 80 public- and private-sector employers, and supports more than 14,000 direct jobs in the fields of aerospace, defense, cybersecurity, robotics, and advanced manufacturing. The industries at the Port generate $5.6 billion in annual regional economic activity.

This Center “will strengthen our community’s ability to collaborate even further in our shared vision to continue raising San Antonio’s global profile as a home for tech innovation,” predicts Ron Nirenberg, San Antonio’s Mayor.

 

The layout of the Innovation Center shows how its different elements intersect.

 

FLEXIBLE SPACE FOR EDUCATION AND IDEA EXCHANGE

The Port San Antonio Board of Directors approved the proposed Innovation Center in 2018, and okayed its construction on August 13, 2020. The Center will include high-tech incubator space with communications and broadcast technology, an R&D lab, and a 2,500-seat arena for various technological events, product launches and so forth. The retractable seating and the space can be configured for different uses.

The building will be the new home of the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, and that area will showcase current technologies as part of educational programs and to help companies demonstrate innovations to prospective buyers. The Center will include integrated classrooms and meeting space for K-12 and college-level professional development programs that, the board has mandated, will be supported by profits from the Innovation Center.

The building will also feature a 24-hour electronic gaming area and full-size food hall that offers catering support for the Center’s events.

 

The Innovation Center will include an expansive food court.

 

INVESTING IN KEY INFRASTRUCTURE

New York-based American Triple I Partners is the developer on this project, which is scheduled for completion in 2022. American Triple I is a 30% equity investor in the redevelopment of Terminal 6/7 at New York’s JFK International Airport. It is also lead infrastructure equity investor in Texas A&M University’s new En-Med Campus in Houston.

“We must invest in key infrastructure that will enable urban centers like San Antonio to continue to thrive and attract the best talent to work, to be educated and to start businesses,” says Henry Cisneros, the former HUD Secretary who is American Triple I Partners’ chairman and cofounder. “The Innovation Center will serve as a model for other cities to leverage their assets into diverse economic engines and incubators for new ideas.”

Jim Perschbach, CEO of Port San Antonio, says American Triple I was “instrumental” in the realization of the Innovation Center, which he calls “a truly effective and cost-efficient Public Private Partnership.’

The Building Team includes RVK Architects (designer) and Sundt Construction (GC). Branch Banking and Trust (BB&T), which is now called Truist, is providing debt financing for the project.

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