Strategic plan supports regional job growth and strengthens connections between technology employers, the community and global opportunities.
SAN ANTONIO, Texas, — Port San Antonio has taken another important step in advancing a vision that is growing a big platform where advanced technologies collaborate and create good jobs for the region while competing in a multi—trillion—dollar market for cybersecurity and digital innovations.
Following approval by its Board of Directors on February 27, the Port will enter into a pre—development agreement with American Triple I Partners, LLC. Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding (MOU), the two entities will refine plans to build an innovation center in the heart of the 1,900—acre campus—a concept the Port first proposed in 2018. Sundt Infrastructure Development will join and support the Triple I team during the pre—development process.
They will similarly advance plans to add a second facility at the Port’s Project Tech complex. That new building would provide additional state—of—the art office space to house defense and private—sector cybersecurity and other advanced technology employers that serve both the region’s large military operations and a growing commercial clientele.
Following the 120—day pre—development period established by the MOU, during which additional design and feasibility research would be conducted, the Port and Triple I could formalize separate agreements for phased construction of the two projects.
“Thousands of San Antonians today have very deep connections to our property as the site of the former Kelly Air Force Base, where generations of families built good lives thanks to the jobs created in support of military aviation,” said Port Board Chair Chris Alderete. “The planned innovation center and expansion of our cyber facilities open new doors of opportunity in the century ahead. For generations, people in our community have been praised for their hard work ethic and spirit of innovation. As we realize these development plans in the months ahead, we look forward to creating new and exciting places where our people’s talent can be further showcased and connected with a world of exciting opportunities.”
“The future belongs to innovators, and in an increasingly connected world, innovations are grounded in making essential physical and virtual connections,” said Port President and CEO Jim Perschbach. “Our planned facilities are designed to do exactly that: connect people to educational paths, connect people to employers and connect those employers to important global opportunities. In today’s world, those opportunities are in the digital space——from securing networks and critical infrastructure to increasing productivity across a spectrum of mature industries such as transportation, medicine and advanced manufacturing. All of these sectors have deep roots in San Antonio and all can come together and participate in our growing innovation ecosystem at the Port.”
“The continued transformation of the Port into a national tech center is critical for the economic competitiveness of the next generation of San Antonians,” said David Cibrian, CEO of American Triple I Partners. “The Port’s Board and management team is executing on a vision that makes our city a national thought and action leader in cybersecurity, research and development, engineering, and high—tech education. American Triple I is committed to supporting the Port as it amplifies the intellectual and human capital of San Antonio, a city which is already home to recognized technology and cyber innovators.”
The proposed innovation center would provide a unique and comprehensive platform to strengthen connections between the San Antonio community, educators and technology employers. It would also serve to showcase new technologies developed in San Antonio and provide a platform to market them to buyers throughout the nation and around the world.
The innovation center would bring five different components under a single roof.
Current plans are for the innovation center to be housed within an existing 130,000—square—foot shell building completed as a flexible industrial facility in 2018. The property is located on the northeast corner of Billy Mitchell Blvd. and 36th St. at the Port.
According to the initial conceptual plans which Port San Antonio developed and has shared in several public forums in recent months, the innovation center space would be comprised of five key elements:
- Co-working / maker spaces — A large space on the east side of the building would allow different employers from IT and other technology sectors—as well as universities—to work side—by—side in the development of the next generation of innovations. That area could be configured to meet the needs of different users and projects, supported by adjoining classroom and meeting / conference spaces.
Co—working/maker space area
- Technology arena / conference center — The west section of the building would be comprised of a large multi—purpose state—of—the art arena with capacity for up to 1,500 people. It would include large video monitors and retractable / movable seating to serve different functions and users. It would be a key attraction for young people, since the space could host electronic gaming and other technology competitions such as robotics and drone racing. The same space could also serve the defense community and other employers as a place uniquely suited for technology demonstrations, conferences and trade shows. Educators could access the space as well, hosting activities such as cybersecurity competitions.
A 1,500—seat technology arena could have multiple uses, including electronic gaming competitions (shown above) or be reconfigured to support technology industry conferences and presentations, among other uses.
- Technology museum — The central part of the building will enable the growth of the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology (SAMSAT). The organization first established its preview center at a different 15,000—square—foot facility at the Port in 2016. Since that time, and in partnership with SASTEMIC, area schools and other educators, it has attracted thousands of students to the Port campus and has become a key partner in delivering STEM-focused programming. The planned expansion of the museum at the new innovation center would also enable involvement by additional tech— and education—focused organizations, such as the San Antonio Airpower Heritage Foundation and the Airman’s Heritage Foundation.
Technology museum and industry showroom.
- Industry showplace — As an extension of the museum, a large portion of space would be accessible to the general public and showcase new technologies developed in the co—working area, elsewhere on the Port campus or throughout San Antonio. In addition to enhancing the museum experience, the showroom would play a key role in the community by allowing industries to connect directly with potential buyers around the world
- Amenities — Given the large number of visitors and many activities that the innovation center could host simultaneously, it will create robust demand for amenities. A section will be dedicated for food service providers and retailers.
The second project outlined by the MOU would entail further planning for a new technology office building elsewhere on the campus. This effort builds upon the success of the first facility launched at the Port’s Project Tech complex, which was completed in mid—2018. The first 90,000—square—foot phase was created to support expansions by the growing number of cybersecurity firms moving onto the Port campus in recent years. Many of them support the 24th Air Force / Cyber Command headquarters, located within a few hundred feet on the east side of the property, as well as other military cybersecurity and intelligence operations in the region.
The Port and Triple—I will also undertake further planning that could add a second building at the Project Tech complex. Shown above is the first facility, which was completed in 2018 and is home to a growing number of cybersecurity operations.
Within weeks of completing the first building, Lockheed Martin Cybersecurity Solutions became its first tenant in 2018, followed by San Antonio—based CNF Technologies later in the year.
Like the innovation center, the Port and Triple I will collaborate during the 120—day pre—development phase to further gauge demand and refine design concepts for a second building at Project Tech.