The CPS Energy Headquarters at 145 Navarro St.
CPS Energy's current headquarters at 145 Navarro St. Credit: Scott Ball / San Antonio Report

CPS Energy will put tens of millions of dollars in downtown real estate on the market as it prepares to move into its new headquarters in 2020.

At its September meeting on Monday, the utility’s board of trustees voted to declare its current downtown campus as surplus property, along with a service center on San Pedro Avenue.

“That will enable us to start marketing them and getting ready for sale so they can be sold by the time the headquarters is finished,” said Carolyn Shellman, CPS Energy’s chief legal and administrative officer.

Employees currently working at the utility’s downtown campus will move to the new headquarters at 530 McCullough Ave. when that site opens in 2020, Shellman said.

The downtown campus properties that will be sold include:

  •  The utility’s headquarters at 145 Navarro St.
  • The garage and office space across Navarro Street from the main headquarters.
  • The Tower Life garage adjoining the main headquarters. CPS Energy and the Tower Life building’s owners each own half of the garage.
  • A parking lot on Navarro and Villita streets surrounding the Mexican Consulate (but not the consulate itself).
  • Villita Assembly Building, the circular event space on Presa and Villita streets.

These properties add up to more than $46 million in assessed value, according to Bexar Appraisal District data, though this might not reflect actual market value.

The board also approved the surplus property designation for CPS Energy’s Northside Customer Service Center at 7000 San Pedro Ave.

Shellman said the site hosts a call center for sales and service calls and a walk-in service center, both of which will be moved to the new headquarters.

The new headquarters for the municipally owned electric and gas utility is currently under construction at the former AT&T building on McCullough Avenue. CPS Energy’s board approved a $150 million construction contract in October 2017.

CPS Energy’s board had already declared as surplus property its former operations center at 326 E. Jones Ave. next to the San Antonio Museum of Art.

Utility officials had announced in 2015 they would convey about half of the property that’s now a parking lot to the art museum, while putting the half that contains the former operations building on the market.

Museum officials have said they are planning to expand into the riverfront property site by adding green space and a sculpture garden.

On Monday, CPS Energy trustees also approved an agreement with CBRE Group, a commercial real estate investment firm, to serve as a broker for the properties. Utility officials had issued a request for proposals for a broker and narrowed their selection from eight respondents.

“We feel like it’s probably going to take 24 months to get the kind of offers we need on those pieces of property,” Shellman said.

All final sales will have to be approved by the CPS Energy board.

Brendan Gibbons is a former senior reporter at the San Antonio Report. He is an environmental journalist for Oil & Gas Watch.