The projects approved on May 6 under San Antonio’s 2017-2022 Municipal Bond program include a big piece of infrastructure that will accelerate redevelopment efforts at Port San Antonio as it continues to move forward with plans to create thousands of news jobs.
The 1,900-acre site of the former Kelly Air Force Base is already home to an array of employers in the aerospace, cybersecurity, advanced manufacturing, defense and global logistics sectors.
Many organizations at the Port have been hiring new employees as they expand their operations.
Furthermore, several of the logistics firms at the site power regional industries such as energy, retail, auto manufacturing and construction.
Industries at the Port directly employ 12,000 workers and generate over $5 billion in economic activity each year for the San Antonio community. Employees at the Port commute each day from throughout the region, including adjacent counties.
Yet about half of Port land remains to be developed. Additional strategic site preparation and infrastructure will directly support the retention of jobs and significantly advance redevelopment activities that grow employers along those target industries. To advance those priorities, the Port, its customers and various public partners have numerous capital projects underway.
The municipal bond adds $24 million to these redevelopment priorities. The funding will be dedicated to much-needed drainage infrastructure. The main component of that work entails building a drainage channel that connects existing water detention ponds along 36th Street with an existing channel on the south of the property which flows into Leon Creek.
This drainage project is essential to further grow the Port’s platform. There are already 10 million square feet of usable commercial and industrial spaces at the Port, and today those facilities are near full occupancy. Construction of drainage infrastructure will enable the preparation of hundreds of remaining acres for the development of new buildings. Those spaces will in turn allow for expansions by employers and the creation of thousands of new jobs and the addition of billions of dollars to the region’s economic activity.
Since beginning to redevelop the former Kelly Air Force Base over 20 years ago, the Port has invested over $200 million of its own funds in property redevelopment. This includes contributing to road, utility and drainage infrastructure; upgrades and retrofits of former military facilities; and construction of new job-creating properties.
The upcoming drainage project comes at a time of important new opportunities.
Conceptual rendering of Port San Antonio’s upcoming facility to host additional cybersecurity and other advanced technology operations.
This spring, the Port launched Project Tech—a development in the heart of the property to support San Antonio’s capacity to attract and grow additional cybersecurity and other advanced technology employers. Upon full build-out, that complex could accommodate approximately 3,000 additional jobs—significantly adding to the 1,000 cybersecurity experts already present at the Port.
Acreage of the Port’s industrial airport can support expansions by aerospace and manufacturing employers.
At the Port’s industrial airport, the organization and partners that include the City of San Antonio and the Economic Development Administration have prepared nearly 200 acres for upcoming development of facilities that can accommodate aerospace and manufacturing operations. This strategically important land is one of only three locations in Texas where large hangars and aircraft repair workshops can be built alongside a major runway.
Operators of East Kelly Railport support the region’s energy, construction, manufacturing and retail industries.
And at the Port’s Kelly Railport, over 100 undeveloped acres remain. The upcoming drainage project will benefit that part of the campus as well, allowing for the further growth manufacturing employers and logistics operators that support industries throughout San Antonio.