City approves incentive scheme for Spurs’ training center and research campus
San Antonio City Council on Thursday approved a deal with the San Antonio Spurs organization to contribute up to $ 17 million in tax refunds for a new Far North training facility and development project -Where is.
Chapter 380 Economic Development Grant Agreement with Spurs, Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) includes a 60% 20-year tax refund and a five-year payback period to support the construction of a research facility on Human Performance (HPRC) of $ 510 million in total and other public and commercial spaces.
The development is led by SS&E, in partnership with Dallas-based real estate services firm Lincoln Property Company, and will include half a million square feet of restaurant, retail and commercial space, including state of the art Spurs Performance Center, a research institute, outdoor plaza and retail space and medical office.
It was billed as a gathering of thought leaders and local institutions for a “next generation” training environment that will benefit both professional athletes and the community.
“This is an incredibly important project, I believe, for our city, our county and our community,” said Spurs CEO RC Buford. “We believe that what we can develop in design and research, and overall by the people we can bring together on this campus, will have an impact on humans and humanity.”
Under the terms of the city’s agreement, SS&E is required to invest at least $ 246 million in the project and create 15 new full-time jobs with an annual salary of at least $ 50,000. City officials estimate property and sales taxes for the project and job creation over 25 years to be $ 39 million.
In August, Bexar County Commissioners approved a $ 15 million contribution to the project and accepted the donation of a 22-acre public park space next to the HPRC. At the time, Bobby Perez, executive vice president and general counsel at SS&E, said the development team planned to start construction this fall.
The project is to be developed at La Cantera, a 1,200 acre former rock quarry located at Loop 1604 and Interstate 10 owned and developed by USAA Real Estate. The large undeveloped land is considered a “catalytic project site” in the UTSA regional center plan, adopted by council in October 2019.
“This is unlike anything we’ve done before, as we introduced and were able to negotiate development standards as part of an incentive deal,” said city manager Erik Walsh.
The developer is committed to improving water quality standards and tree preservation ordinances, although the site has acquired rights and is not subject to these codes. The Spurs organization plans to work with the SA Ready to Work program, offer college internships and side programs in high school, and spend $ 1.3 million on public art at the site.
The development will also include a public park that the basketball franchise plans to donate to Bexar County and manage through a deal similar to the one the Spurs organization has with the AT&T Center and Toyota Field.
City staff recommended approval of the deal and most council members voted in favor of the proposed project and all of the incentives.
“We’ve built a long-standing tradition here in San Antonio that stretches back almost 50 years, five championships and a sixth ring that we’re pursuing, and what we do is support the silver and the black,” he said. said District 3 Councilor Phyllis Viagran.
District 8 City Councilor Manny Pelaez noted the development’s proximity to South Texas Medical Center and Camp Bullis, both in his district, and the fact that Spurs already operate a training facility in the area. .
He also stressed that Spurs are only part of the overall project that will attract institutions and experts in health and human development. “There are going to be a lot of other companies and players involved here who are going to contribute to the success of this project, and that shouldn’t be ignored either,” Pelaez said.
But District 2 city councilor Jalen McKee-Rodriguez said he could not support the proposal due to environmental and economic concerns.
“On the one hand, I very much appreciate all the efforts made to ensure the best possible deal, and on the other hand, I am rather opposed to the incentive for economic development during the [Edwards Aquifer] charging area, ”McKee-Rodriguez said. “I have to say that the Spurs have been an incredible and incredible community partner on the East Side and in the city and I have no doubt that they will continue to be – incentive or not.”
McKee-Rodriguez also said he was “not necessarily impressed” by the promised salary levels which are less than 100% of the region’s median income ($ 55,900 for a three-person household).
District 9 City Councilor John Courage said he believed economic development should pay off, but would support the deal because it funds infrastructure development that the city would normally pay for.
“What we’re saying is that this group is going to install the streets and sidewalks and the necessary drainage and infrastructure at their own expense over the next 25 years and the city is just going to pay them back with the taxes they pay us. “, Courage said.
Calling the agreement a great model for a public-private partnership, District 5 Councilor Teri Castillo said she believes it is important to ensure that whenever such an important project is presented to the council, it offers benefits to each district.
City started talks with Spurs about a project focused on human performance research a few years ago, and not just for professional athletes, Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. The work of the center will also focus on the recovery of soldiers and first responders, he said.
“This kind of work is revolutionary, it’s catalytic, it’s something that’s needed all over the world and having San Antonio, which has its own leading place in the world in this research, is something that we should continue to lean. “