On the cool spring morning of the 100th anniversary of Kelly Field’s first flights, Port San Antonio and community leaders broke ground on the site of Project Tech, a state-of-the-art technology complex that will house firms supporting San Antonio’s growing cybersecurity community.

Local leaders including Mayor Ivy Taylor, Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, and City Councilman Rey Saldaña (D4) participated in the groundbreaking ceremony for the 90,000-square-foot facility in the heart of Port SA. The $20 million building, scheduled for completion in 2018, will be Project Tech’s first facility and anchor a planned office development that could total more than 500,000 square feet across 17 acres, according to Port officials.

“Superior know-how has been the bedrock of America’s growth in the past century and created the world’s largest economy,” said Port President and CEO Roland Mower during the ceremony. “By offering an innovative space that better enables like-minded individuals to work together toward shared goals in cybersecurity and other advanced technologies, we are sharpening San Antonio’s globally competitive edge.”

The first phase of Project Tech is being designed by Beaty Palmer Architects and will be built by contractor SpawGlass. Both firms are based in San Antonio. Dallas-based broker Peloton Commercial Real Estate will support marketing efforts through its San Antonio office, which is also promoting the project nationally.

“This is an exciting time for our region’s big cybersecurity community,” said Will Garrett, director of CyberSecurity San Antonio. “For nearly a decade the Port has been central to our efforts to provide a flexible and strategic platform to further grow this great industry. Project Tech will be a key asset in our ongoing endeavors to grow San Antonio as a place synonymous with full cybersecurity capabilities and as an innovation leader.”

The large military footprint in San Antonio includes Department of Defense cybersecurity operations that have attracted private-sector firms working for military clients. These companies are increasingly applying their cybersecurity expertise in the commercial sector, including aviation, medicine, finance, telecommunications, and other mature industries.

“The women and men of San Antonio have a strong track record for hard work and innovation,” said Saldaña, whose district includes the Port’s main property. “The upcoming Project Tech provides our community with yet another opportunity for current and future workers to apply their skills and ambition and connect with exciting industries that are growing regionally, nationally, and around the world.”

With more than 1,000 uniformed and civilian cybersecurity experts working for the U.S. Air Force at the Port SA campus, Project Tech will add new facilities specifically suited to meet the growing needs of these and other cybersecurity operations and complementary industries.

“A lot has been happening at the Port as we continue to serve the San Antonio community,” said Port Board Chair Victoria Garcia. “Through this unique property, we hope to facilitate the creation of great jobs that will grow our economy. We anticipate that Project Tech will serve as a gateway for bright minds to channel their talent and build their futures as innovators of today’s technologies and of technologies yet to come.”

The 24th Air Force, which is a component of the U.S. Cyber Command, has maintained its national headquarters with more than 1,000 employees within a secured perimeter on the Port SA campus. As a result, private firms such as Booz Allen Hamilton, IPSecure, IOMAXIS, Fidelis Cybersecurity, and Radiance Technologies have opened facilities at the Port to support both military and commercial clients. In addition to the 24th Air Force, these companies serve other cyber and intelligence operations in the region, including the 25th Air Force, located at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland across from the Port, and the National Security Agency’s  NSA Texas cryptologic center only a few miles north of the Port.

The state-of-the-art tech complex will house tech-sector firms at the Port close to the Department of Defense complex Lackland Annex
The state-of-the-art tech complex will house tech sector firms at the Port close to the Department of Defense complex at Lackland Annex. Credit: Courtesy image

The first phase of Project Tech will be located close to the 24th Air Force and include fully customizable spaces with state-of-the-art technology, providing private firms secure spaces for cybersecurity work. Project Tech is currently seeking support from the City of San Antonio’s capital expense funding. If approved by City Council on April 13, the $1.5 million investment would go toward public infrastructure improvements for the site.

Port San Antonio Project Tech building rendering
The new tech complex could total more than 500,000 square feet and add hundreds of new jobs at the Port. Credit: Courtesy image

“Today we applaud the tremendous success of Port San Antonio for continuing to achieve the community’s vision for it to be a job innovator in key industries,” Mayor Taylor said. “We are second in the nation in our skilled cyber workforce, but as we continue to expand our cybersecurity ecosystem with efforts like Project Tech, I know we will soon earn the title of ‘Cyber City, USA.’”

Judge Wolff noted the transformative effect that the development of Port SA has brought to the City.

“When Kelly closed nearly 20 years ago, it would have been unimaginable that the former Air Force base would find new life, and create thousands of new jobs, across such a wide spectrum of industries,” Wolff said.

“Few industries in our history have grown as rapidly and permeated the lives of ordinary citizens as cybersecurity,” said Chris Cook, director of the CyberTexas Foundation. “This new development, and the innovation community it creates, will serve as a foundation that will allow San Antonio’s ability to capture important new opportunities in the century ahead.”

Avatar photo

Iris Gonzalez

Iris Gonzalez writes about technology, life science and veteran affairs.