Spurs Sports & Entertainment is planning a major project on the city’s Northwest Side — which could include a state-of-the-art training facility for the San Antonio team, a biotechnology research institute, a public park and commercial and medical office space.
When it’s completed, the $510.8 million campus could house team facilities and research, restaurant, retail and commercial space, totaling more than 500,000 square feet, according to a presentation Tuesday to Bexar County commissioners.
Funding and research partnerships to build the roughly 50-acre campus at the northwest corner of Interstate 10 and Loop 1604 are still being ironed out. The majority of the money will come from private investors, but the Spurs owner is also seeking public dollars from the city, county and federal government.
“The Human Performance Campus is an exciting part of our collective future — for our city, our community and Spurs Sports & Entertainment,” SS&E chief executive R.C. Buford said in a statement. “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.”
County commissioners on Tuesday gave staffers the go-ahead to negotiate a $15 million deal to buy 22 acres from US Real Estate Limited Partnership, an entity associated with USAA Real Estate.
The land would become a public park and is being developed now. Entities affiliated with the Spurs would manage it at their expense, according to county staffers.
The campus would be built at a major intersection and near the University of Texas at San Antonio, the Shops at La Cantera and Six Flags Fiesta Texas. An estimated 1,700 full-time employees would work on the campus.
After a briefing on SS&E’s project, commissioners zeroed in on the Spurs’ recent management shakeup, which has fueled concerns about the team’s future in San Antonio.
Renderings of the “human performance campus” and park.
Courtesy of Spurs Sports & Entertainment
Austin billionaire Michael Dell recently bought 10 percent of the team and Sixth Street Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm, bought 20 percent. Half of the Spurs’ 22 investors were bought out, and two more sold some of their shares.
The Spurs also announced the promotion of Peter J. Holt from chairman to managing partner, giving him extensive authority over the team. Dell, Sixth Street and the Holt family now collectively own more than 70 percent of the franchise.
“It would be soul-crushing for this community to lose the Spurs,” said Commissioner Trish DeBerry, whose North Bexar County precinct includes the proposed campus site. “While we’re willing to make this investment, I need some kind of commitment from you all that you are here in San Antonio for the long haul.”
Spurs general counsel Bobby Perez told DeBerry, “This is our collaborative vision over many, many months and many years.
“This location becomes our home and our place that we’re putting our flag in the ground for decades, and so with this support, we believe this answers that question,” he said.
Commissioner Tommy Calvert — whose precinct includes the county-owned AT&T Center on the East Side, the home of the Spurs — said keeping the NBA team in San Antonio was important to the county.
“I can assure you that this court will be more helpful than any other pathway that the Spurs have in terms of getting the retention of the institution in San Antonio,” Calvert said. “We will work together as a team to make that continued home in San Antonio.”
Commissioners said the campus also would further research and investment in public health, including physical and mental health, and provide more green space for residents.
“Public health is going to continue to be a critical issue for this community moving forward,” said DeBerry, who later cited obesity, heart disease and diabetes as systemic problems. “As we look at the opportunity to leverage community partnerships associated with this human performance institute, I want to encourage you to do that.”
Details are still sparse on which organizations and researchers would have a presence at the campus. The Spurs currently practice at a 37,800-square-foot facility near the South Texas Medical Center that opened in 2002.
The development would involve “local partners, state-of-the-art health care, diagnostic research, next-generation biomedical research in partnership with professional athletes, amateur athletes, and the public at scale to generate innovative solutions for human performance,” according to the presentation to commissioners.
The park would include hike-and-bike trails integrated with the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System, the largest dog park in the county, pavilions, parking, restrooms and parking for food trucks and events.
SS&E is also discussing funding with the city and U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar. The Laredo Democrat, whose district includes a portion of San Antonio, has “identified an appropriation” for more than $2 million that is part of a larger bill, Spurs officials said during the meeting.
It was unclear Tuesday how much the Spurs will seek from the city.
SS&E plans to break ground on the campus in October. The San Antonio Express-News first reported in 2019 that team officials were meeting with city and county leaders about the campus.
USAA Real Estate, the developer of the nearby Shops at La Cantera, owns the campus site.