Economic Development Director Rene Dominguez.
Rene Dominguez, the City's director of economic development, has been named chief operating officer and president of the Texas Research & Technology Foundation. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

Rene Dominguez, the City’s director of economic development, has been named chief operating officer and president of the Texas Research & Technology Foundation, according to a Friday press release.

In his nine years at the helm of the City’s economic development department, Dominguez oversaw tax break agreements with companies such as Hulu, USAA, and Credit Human Federal Credit Union.

In February, Dominguez helped secure an economic incentive deal for his future employer. The Texas Research & Technology Foundation (TRTF) can receive millions in economic incentive dollars as the organization builds a 110,000-square-foot complex in the former Merchants Ice Building at 1305 E. Houston Street, thanks to a deal reached with the City.

“Rene’s extensive background in economic development gives him the expertise and qualifications to drive strategic prioritization and accountability within our organization, with a laser-focus on operational excellence,” said Randy Harig, TRTF’s CEO. “The TRTF Board and I have tremendous confidence in Rene’s ability to align TRTF/VelocityTX’s world-class innovation hub with industry-leading operational practices to assure proper execution of our long-range vision.”

TRTF, a nonprofit devoted to steering economic development toward emerging technologies, purchased the long-abandoned Merchants Ice Building in late 2017 and has been working on designing the complex and funding its construction since.

The Merchants Ice project will become the flagship facility of TRTF subsidiary VelocityTX, a business incubator for biotechnology companies. The 5-acre project on the near Eastside will be completed in four phases, the first of which is expected to bring more than 660 jobs to the area, according to a press release. The foundation has a stated vision of developing the 175 acres near the facility into an innovation district supporting work in the areas of life sciences and technology.

San Antonio-based nonprofit BioBridge Global will be the anchor tenant of the development and establish its 21,000-square-foot biomanufacturing center there. The space will allow BioBridge subsidiary GenCure to scale its production of adult stem cells for use in clinical trials and eventually treatment of conditions as broad-ranging as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, traumatic injuries, and acute lung injuries.

“Working with an organization that supports entrepreneurs and the entire innovation ecosystem represents a major opportunity and professional goal,” Dominguez said. “TRTF’s vision and mission is compelling and exemplifies a critical opportunity for the economic growth and success of our city. I am incredibly motivated to help lead the organization into its next phase of innovation, which is tied to a game-changing urban redevelopment project.”

Dominguez will begin his new post on Aug. 12. According to the release, Dominguez will be responsible for executing the foundation’s vision while overseeing the operations of the organization.

JJ Velasquez was a columnist, former editor and reporter at the San Antonio Report.