USAA announced Wednesday that the San Antonio-based insurance and financial services company is planning to vacate its downtown offices by the end of the year. 

The 500 employees who work in the company’s two office towers will soon move back to the sprawling headquarters campus in Northwest San Antonio, according to a spokesman. 

“Like many companies, the pandemic and a shift to hybrid and remote working have changed our real estate need as we have ample space for current and future employees in our Home Office campus,” stated USAA CEO Wayne Peacock. “San Antonio has been our headquarters for 100 years, and we will continue to grow here, bring in new talent and be a good corporate citizen in the San Antonio community.”

Over the last several years, USAA has already exited more than 10% of its real estate footprint nationwide, which amounts to 1 million square feet of office space, said the spokesman. In so doing, the company has saved about $31 million a year. 

In San Antonio, the move brings to an end the welcome migration of some USAA functions into the center city and its growing tech district starting in 2013. 

That year, USAA Real Estate Company acquired One Riverwalk, located at 700 N. St. Mary’s St., moving about 200 workers to the River Walk office building.

Four years later, the company also purchased the adjacent 28-story Bank of America Plaza at 300 Convent St. and moved several IT departments that formed an “innovation team” into four floors of the building. Throughout 2018, several hundred more USAA tech workers flooded into the building.

Later that same year, City Council approved an incentive package for USAA as it planned to bring another 1,500 jobs to San Antonio and spend at least $70 million in building and garage improvements at its two downtown office towers. 

At the time, city officials described the package, which included a tax abatement and the eventual move of 2,000 USAA employees downtown, as “an economic leadership move.”

A city spokesman said the loan agreement that was part of the incentive package was mutually terminated in February 2022 with USAA repaying both the $4 million loan and the abated taxes that totaled more than $56,000. No penalties or interest were applied to the prepayment. 

A year ago, USAA announced plans to sublease portions of its 19-story Convent Street office building as the pandemic-era trend toward remote work was reshaping the city’s office landscape.

“The pandemic and then also the recession that we’re kind of entering into is hitting every large corporation differently, and I don’t think that USAA is immune to it,” said Charles Woodin, CEO of the tech incubator Geekdom. “We have a close relationship with USAA and even though they’re leaving the buildings that they had purchased downtown, they’ll always have a home in downtown with Geekdom.”

USAA owns its headquarters building at 9800 Fredericksburg Rd., a 5 million square-foot building and expansive campus it has occupied since moving from its office building at Broadway Street and Hildebrand Avenue in 1976.

It’s unclear what USAA Real Estate Company’s plans are for its downtown office buildings. 

“These are two of the premier office assets in downtown San Antonio, and we look forward to sharing our vision for the buildings in the near future,” said Samira Bitar, managing director of corporate communications at the USAA Real Estate Company.

USAA’s downtown cohort primarily worked in the company’s tech, corporate responsibility and chief financial officer departments. 

Many of them have been working a hybrid schedule since the pandemic waned, with some weekdays spent working from home, and that will continue, said a spokesman. 

Disclosure: USAA and Geekdom are financial supporters of the San Antonio Report. For a full list of business members, click here.

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Shari Biediger

Shari Biediger is the development beat reporter for the San Antonio Report.