San Antonio has made tremendous strides toward becoming a progressive and innovative city in recent years. With the redevelopment of the Pearl, downtown, Southtown, and other areas of the city, it is clear that San Antonio has a bright future. As we look ahead in 2017, the main trend we have to evaluate is capitalizing on our advantages, and not planning for what is happening, but for what is going to happen.
Last year, the Urban Land Institute named San Antonio one of its Top 25 Markets to Watch. This year, San Antonio wasn’t even in the Top 30. The main question we should ask ourselves is what has changed in one year?
In early January, I moderated a panel discussion organized by ULI San Antonio that sought to answer this question. Although San Antonio is home to major corporate companies such as USAA and H-E-B, the city still lacks significant corporate presence. The quality of jobs in our town is another factor, but that doesn’t mean we can’t catch up and get back on top of the perch of being the top markets to watch.
The interest in investing in our city still continues to rise thanks to San Antonio’s growth potential. Individuals and families who are moving here know more about the city than those who have been here their entire lives. Building Class A commercial spaces and developing a talented, diverse workforce is one way that we, as a city, can catch up.
The city remains in a good position to continue improving its business development because of its continued economic growth, Dean Schwanke, senior vice president of case studies and publications at ULI, stated at the Real Estate Outlook/Emerging Trends luncheon. Fast-growing cities breed greater opportunity for faster economic growth and developmental impact, so this is something we must take advantage of.
Job creation and education investment further impact economic growth, both through the expansion of existing businesses and the launch of new ones. As jobs grow, companies grow; in turn, this leads to heightened demand for real estate and filling the land we have with thriving business and economics. Geekdom‘s recently released five-year impact report shows that the tech startup hub and the companies that have grown from it organically created more than 650 jobs since 2011. This is a great foundation and an amazing start – and we must begin to emulate this in our other key industries. Job creation leads to business growth, and thus to a more thriving real estate market and city.
While this may not happen with a snap of the fingers, it will happen with committed dedication to collaboration and action over the course of the next two to three years. From deep in the heart of the Southside to the far Northeast side, the promise of a rising real estate market means a greater economic outlook for the city.