A new training facility for the San Antonio Spurs and a Human Performance Center on the city’s far Northwest Side are part of a planned development revealed Tuesday that officials say will ensure the basketball franchise is here to stay.
County commissioners approved a contribution of $15 million toward the project and accepted donation of a 22-acre park under development next to La Cantera. The 1,200-acre former rock quarry located at Loop 1604 and Interstate 10 is owned and being developed by USAA Real Estate.
The planned Human Performance Campus will feature half-a-million square feet of restaurant, retail, and commercial space, including the state-of-the-art Spurs Performance Center, a research institute, outdoor plaza, and commercial and medical office space.
Spurs CEO R.C. Buford said the $510 million development realizes a dream he has had to assemble thought leaders and local institutions for a next-generation training environment that will benefit both professional athletes and the community.
“We’ve been working together to build a campus that would bring people from around our community, from around our region, to take advantage of the elite environment that we have — across military, across medical, across technology, across elite sports — and have a gathering place for not only research and development around human factors but also community engagement in parks, in community spaces,” Buford said.
Bobby Perez, executive vice president and general counsel of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, said the development team plans to break ground on the project in October.
Trish DeBerry, Pct. 3 commissioner, said she appreciated that the team is pursuing partnerships for the Human Performance Campus that will benefit the entire community.
“But I’m just going to reiterate, it would be soul-crushing for this community to lose the Spurs,” she said. “So while we’re willing to make this investment, I need some kind of commitment from you all that you are here in San Antonio for the long haul.”
In June, ownership of the Spurs organization changed with the promotion of Peter J. Holt to managing partner and multiple minority investors selling out to Austin billionaire Michael Dell and a San Francisco-based investment firm. The sale of shares sparked rumors last year that the Spurs were considering a relocation.
Perez said the Spurs’ investment in the Human Performance Center, together with the county’s support, ensures the team isn’t making a fast break.
“This is our collaborative vision over many, many months, and many years,” he said. “This location right here becomes our home and our place that we’re putting our flag in the ground for decades. And so with this support [from the county], we believe this answers that question.”
Judge Nelson Wolff said there’s nothing like the Human Performance Center currently in San Antonio. “And to retain those good ol’ Spurs here in San Antonio, getting $120 million out of them to invest in this, is a big step forward to doing that,” he said.
Buford said he’s seen more than 200 sports facilities around the world, “and there’s nothing like this.”
“To have this kind of a partnership with our community, and to incorporate so much of the talent that’s already here but [also] the talent that it will recruit to our community, it’s really exciting,” Buford said.
The development will also include a public park that the basketball franchise plans to donate to Bexar County and manage by agreement similar to the one the Spurs organization has with the AT&T Center and Toyota Field.
The park is nearly complete and will open by the end of the year, said a spokeswoman for USAA Real Estate. It will feature the largest dog park in the county, Perez said, and a trail system that will connect to the Valero trailhead of the Howard W. Peak Greenway Trail System.
Alex Childers, director of investments for USAA Real Estate, said the park space will be a “gem for the community” in an area fast becoming congested with development.
“We’ve taken a very long view approach to that property,” Childers said. “We could have sold it off many, many years ago and it probably wouldn’t look as good as it does today. We’ve taken the approach here specifically at this park to really have this be the anchor of this corner.”