SAN ANTONIO – The City of San Antonio and Bexar County are offering Spurs Sports and Entertainment $32 million in incentives to help create a nearly 50-acre mixed-use development on the far Northwest side.
The “Human Performance Campus” would contain a new training facility for the team; restaurant, retail, and commercial space; a “human performance research institute;” a 22-acre park; and an outdoor plaza.
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The Spurs organization estimates $510.8 million would be invested in the project over five years. Spurs officials have previously told KSAT the project will be primarily funded by private investors.
Spurs officials expect there will could be more than 1,700 potential full-time employees at the site.
“We’ve been working together to build a campus that would bring people from around our community, from around our region, to take advantage of the elite environment that we have across military, across medical, across technology, across elite sports and have a gathering place for not only research and development around human factors, but also community engagement in parks and community spaces,” SSE CEO RC Buford told Bexar County Commissioners on Aug. 10.
That was the same day commissioners agreed to commit $15 million to the project, though the form that assistance would take hasn’t been nailed down yet. In return, the county gets the park land, which the Spurs will maintain and operate - similar to their agreements for the AT&T Center or Toyota Field.
The San Antonio City Council is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to provide up to $17 million in tax rebates for the project. The Spurs would still pay property taxes under the deal, but it would get back 60% of the city’s share of the tax bill for real property improvements.
The rebates would last for up to 23 years or until the $17 million cap is reached.
The city deal would come with strings attached, though, including: at least $246 million in capital investment at the site, creating at least 15 jobs paying $50,000 or more annually, agreeing to follow the city’s tree and water quality ordinances, helping to advertise and participate in the SA: Ready to Work program, and pay $1.3 million for public art in the project.
The city’s incentives apply to a roughly 24-acre portion of the project, which does not appear to include the park.
Even with the rebates and other costs, the city estimates the project will net the city $21.6 million over the 25 years of the agreement, based on the tax revenue from the site, its construction, and job creation.
District 8 Councilman Manny Pelaez, who represents the area where the campus would be, says he has “no doubt” a majority of the city council will vote in favor of the tax rebate incentives on Thursday.
“So, for folks that think that this is just a giveaway, I’ll remind everybody there is a bloody-knuckle economic development fight, and we’re competing against other cities so that - you know, for the brainy jobs and the high-paying jobs, right? And San Antonio is lucky that we landed yet another one of these big projects,” Pelaez said.
Pelaez pointed to the economic impact of the project, including the number of jobs, as well as the prestige of having the research institute
“It is a reputational feather in our cap, as well, because this is going to be a destination for teams: athletic teams, military teams - and, like I said, firefighter, police teams - and other folks that depend on humans’ performance excellence to be able to improve their organizations. And so we’re going to be a destination for that,” Pelaez said.
SSE did not make anyone available for an interview on Monday, but a spokesman emailed a statement from CEO RC Buford, reading:
“The Human Performance Campus is an exciting part of our collective future – for our city, our community and Spurs Sports & Entertainment. Over the last five decades, San Antonio and the Spurs have developed and grown together in amazing ways. We believe this project continues that tradition and will have an impact locally, regionally and nationally.”
The City of San Antonio similarly sent a statement from City Manager Erik Walsh, reading:
“The City and Spurs Sports & Entertainment have worked closely to align this development with the UTSA Regional Center Plan adopted by City Council in 2019. The agreement creates a development standard for this grandfathered property that limits impervious cover, maintains tree canopy, and incorporates renewable energy generation and green space that protects water quality and reduces waste. Additionally, the $1.3 million investment by SS&E in public art will create further opportunities for the local artist community. The net fiscal benefit of this project to the City is more than $21 million over the term of the agreement and total benefit is more than $39 million.”