The board at the CPS board of trustees meeting. Photo by Scott Ball.
The CPS Energy board and senior executives during a recent meeting. Photo by Scott Ball.

CPS Energy has selected three out of six respondents to move on to the next stage of the public application process for the coveted contract to design and construct – or renovate – the publicly-owned utility’s new headquarters.

Each team selected is comprised of architectural, engineering, and construction firms:

  1. Houston-based construction and engineering firm Harvey Cleary, international architecture firm Gensler, and San Antonio-based Lake Flato Architects;
  2. Austin-based construction firm Hensel Phelps and Denver-based architectural firm Fentress;
  3. Tucson-based construction and general contracting firm Sundt, Ann Arbor-based architectural firm SmithGroup, and San Antonio-based RVK Architects.

Teams have until Oct. 31 to formally respond to CPS Energy’s request for proposals (RFP).

Speculation about where the new headquarters will be located has been brewing for more than two years, but utility officials – including outgoing CPS Energy President and CEO Doyle Beneby – have committed to staying in San Antonio’s urban core, preventing the cost of the project from affecting ratepayers’ bills, and “spurring economic development” in the area surrounding the new or renovated facility.

It’s unknown if CPS Energy will construct an entirely new building, purchase an existing building to renovate, or stay in its Navarro Street buildings.

“We continue to work with the landowners and developers to evaluate these options. We will release those options at a later date,” stated a spokesperson in an email announcing the RFP.

Commercial real estate sources say Beneby seemed to be leaning toward a newly constructed headquarters rather than purchasing the former AT&T towers on McCullough Avenue or renovating its existing buildings. The RFP process appears to be moving along despite Beneby’s recent announcement that he will be leaving his position at the end of September.

Korn Ferry International, a recruiting firm, is conducting a national search for Beneby’s replacement. He has not yet announced where he’ll be working next, nor has an interim president/CEO been selected.

The utility has been working with Chicago-based commercial real estate consulting firm DTZ. That firm has filed suit to challenge an Attorney General’s opinion in support of an open records request made by the San Antonio Business Journal to obtain the terms of that contract. A CPS Energy spokesperson stated last month that the utility has “no position on releasing the contract.”

According to the San Antonio Business Journal, DTZ is arguing that “releasing the information could cause the company ‘substantial competitive harm’ and that exemptions in the Texas Open Records Act for commercial and financial information are applicable.”

DTZ is not opposed to releasing how much already has been paid, but the contract would reveal how much the company stands to gain, percentage-wise, if and when a real estate deal is finalized.

*Top image: The CPS Energy board and senior executives during a recent meeting. Photo by Scott Ball.

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Senior Reporter Iris Dimmick covers public policy pertaining to social issues, ranging from affordable housing and economic disparity to policing reform and mental health. She was the San Antonio Report's...