With Project Tech Paying Off, Port San Antonio Looks To Double Down | Texas Public Radio

With Project Tech Paying Off, Port San Antonio Looks To Double Down

Mar 8, 2019

Lockheed Martin cut the ribbon on its new cyber security facility at Port San Antonio on Monday. The facility will host 100 workers in the Port’s Project Tech building, supporting clients like the 24th and 25th Air Forces as well as NSA Texas. Their activities could range from surveillance, electronic warfare, and other offensive and defensive operations.

“Effective today, we are open for business to support our customers that are here at Joint Base Lackland, excited to begin to get to work to support their missions,” said Deon Viergutz, vice president at Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed was the first tenant for the Port’s Project Tech building, taking 15,000 square feet of labs and secure office space. Lockheed was followed by CNF Technologies, and with one lease outstanding, the building is on the cusp of being filled.

At $20 million, the 90,000 sq. ft. Project Tech was the biggest new build the Port had made in years, and when it opened last May, Port staff marketed it as a new chapter for the 1,900-acre campus, which is best known for its connection to the military. It was a place where digital security could meet legacy Port assets like aerospace and defense.

Port San Antonio and Lockheed Martin officials cut the ribbon on their new cyber facility.
Credit Paul Flahive / Texas Public Radio

Now, the Port may double down and expand on the strategy. Last week, the Port’s board voted to approve a pre-development deal with American Triple I Partners LLC to figure out how.

“At the end of 120 days, what we are looking to have is the plans for what the building should look like, a sense of who the operators and participants are going to be and a sense of what it should cost,” said Jim Perschbach, Port San Antonio president and CEO, about the deal.

Included are a second Project Tech building, as well as building a new Innovation Center out of one of the Port’s recently constructed warehouses that measures 130,000 square feet.

The Innovation Center will include the San Antonio Museum of Science and Technology, which already lives on the campus. It will house a makerspace for youth and co-working space for industry to collaborate, an industry showroom and an arena for gaming.

Credit Port San Antonio

The popularity of e-sports has surged in recent years, drawing tens of thousands in person to arenas and millions more online. Last year, the city of Arlington voted to invest $10 million into an e-sports arena.

In the end, Port officials hope to attract the innovators as well as encourage the pipeline of talent that will feed their industries. They are trying to create something that 150,000 kids a year come through, while making it a place where innovators want to spend their time. One goal is to attract innovation events like those of the Air Force and Defense Department that award big contracts for early research and prototyping.

“We’re not aware of anything like this, with all these component pieces as a system being developed anywhere,” Perschbach said. “This is something of a prototype in and of itself.”

Paul Flahive can be reached at Paul@tpr.org or on Twitter @paulflahive.