After quickly filling the first building in their planned Project Tech complex, Port San Antonio officials are looking to construct a second facility to draw more companies to the Southwest Side campus.

The port, spanning 1,900 acres at the former Kelly Air Force Base, broke ground on the first offices for the tech campus in April 2017. The $20 million, 90,000-square-foot facility opened the following spring.

It’s the largest office space built at the campus in years and intended to attract companies that support industries at the port, said CEO Jim Perschbach. An assortment of military, aerospace, defense and other government contractors have operations at Port San Antonio.

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Soon after the building opened, defense contractor Lockheed Martin announced it would be the first tenant to move in. Cybersecurity companies LGS Innovations, which was acquired by CACI International Inc. earlier this year, and CNF Technologies later followed. A fourth tenant has signed a lease but has yet to announce its move, Perschbach said.

It’s “pretty unusual,” he added, for a new building to spoken for so rapidly. Port officials frequently get calls from companies interested in coming to the campus, Perschbach added, but there’s not enough space.

The second building officials are pursuing would be nearly twice the size. They’ll present the port’s board of directors with an initial concept next week.

Architects, engineers and others designing the building would then come up with a proposal that would go to a construction contractor to assess the cost and timeline. Like the first facility, the new one would be financed with a commercial construction loan.

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Perschbach said he would like the second building to be ready for leasing in the next year and a half.

“We’re growing quickly here,” he said. “We’re getting a lot of interest from companies and researchers.”

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Plans for the first Project Tech facility caused some local head-scratching initially, said Amber Austin, vice president for CBRE.

“San Antonio isn’t really known for building (speculative) buildings,” she said. “We’re getting there.”

But the port’s success in leasing the first building was a sign of the strong demand from cybersecurity firms. Companies want to be close to their clients, and they’re competing with other technology firms for workers. Newer, nicer facilities can help attract and retain employees, Austin said.

The port is working with American Triple I Partners, a firm started by former Mayor Henry Cisneros and others, to evaluate a separate facility that could host technology events and training programs and showcase work being done at the campus.

Dubbed the Innovation Center, it would also serve as a home for local inventor David Monroe’s San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, an existing institution at the port with exhibits and artifacts about the city’s technology history.

Perschbach said American Triple I isn’t working on the latest Project Tech facility.

madison.iszler@express-news.net



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