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San Antonio city council approves $17 million grant for new Spurs training facility and multipurpose development

The San Antonio Spurs' Human Performance Center is a $510 million project with mostly private funding that will include a public park near La Cantera.

SAN ANTONIO — The San Antonio City Council signed off on giving the Spurs a big tax break on its new development.

The resolution passed 9-1 on Thursday, and allows the San Antonio Spurs to get $17 million in tax incentives for its planned Human Performance Campus on the city's northwest side, near Fiesta Texas.

The project has the mayor, city councilmembers and the Spurs organization excited about this new collaboration.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg, speaking after the meeting, said the project will be transformative for the city.

"When you can incorporate not only emerging industries here in San Antonio that are job creators and creating jobs for local San Antonio residents...the term 'catalytic' absolutely applies to this development," Nirenberg said.

The 500,000-square-foot Human Performance Campus will include a new practice facility, research institute, an outdoor plaza and a nearby park.

Credit: Spurs Sports and Entertainment

The council approved the move in a 9-1 vote. Councilmember Clayton Perry was absent from the meeting. 

The entire project is slated to cost $510 million. Spurs Sports & Entertainment also secured $15 million in funding from Bexar County in August.

City Manager Erik Walsh tells KENS 5 if the Spurs develop this property spending up to $246 million, they get a rebate on property taxes amounting to up to $17 million.

“It’s not the city writing a $17 million check," he said. "It’s really incumbent upon (the Spurs) developing and doing the things they talked about today."

RC Buford, CEO of Spurs Sports & Entertainment, says this will be an opportunity to grow and collaborate with research leaders from around the world here in San Antonio.

“Our hope is we bring thought leaders together that might not have been together before and create innovation and opportunity that will benefit much more than just a sports team,” Buford said.

According to the Spurs, the project could create an estimated 1,700 jobs. Buford says the campus accomplishes goals beyond basketball.

“This was a much bigger, bigger opportunity for us to really gravitate and grow with our community. And so, this became bigger than a practice facility a long time ago,” Buford said.

The 22-acre park is already being developed, but the practice facility will likely be the first piece of property to be built.

“We’re ready to go,” Buford said.

Councilmember Jalen McKee-Rodriguez was the only 'No' vote, stating he was concerned with the development being built over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

"To be clear, I am certain that this development will bring wonderful opportunities for the San Antonio area, and I am proud to have such a great community partner in the Spurs. However, I have strong concerns for the environmental impacts of this development," McKee-Rodriguez said in a statement. 

Nirenberg says the city and county collaboration on the project ensures the project meets aquifer protection and water quality standards along with increasing the amount of tree canopy.

“That’s good for the environment, that’s good for habitat that protects not only air quality, but also protects our (military) bases,” he said.

Councilwoman Ana E. Sandoval voted to support the facility and released this statement on Friday: 

“I was initially not ready to support a tax abatement agreement in an area of the city that already has booming development. San Antonio faces many challenges; it is hard to justify expenditures like this unless they address the most pressing issues our City faces, including climate change."

But she said in working with the Spurs organization, she and other city leaders were able to come to agreements that make the project more sustainable and supportive of the workers who build the campus.

“With those commitments, I was happy to support the agreement. Now, all San Antonio residents own a piece of the Spurs,” she said.

An announcement on a groundbreaking date for the Human Performance Campus hasn't yet been announced.