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Technology & Entrepreneurship

Mariachi Music And Confetti Kick Off Port San Antonio's Big Expansion


Port San Antonio launched an aggressive push for cyber security Wednesday. The former Kelly Airfield broke ground on "Project Tech," a large-scale office space expansion designed to accommodate and entice cyber security and other high tech firms.

Port CEO Roland Mower says they have seen more and more cyber security companies like IOMAXIS, IPSecure, Fidelis and others taking space in the last 18 months, all to be near government cyber security customers like the Air Force's 24th and 25th Air wings that focus on cyber warfare.

"Proximity to those customers is important for particularly DoD [Department of Defense] contractors, so having that proximity and the ability to collaborate on those solutions is important," says Mower.

The 90,000 sq. foot building the broke ground on Wednesday is Phase One of what could be as many as 6 buildings, and it looks to capitalize on this interest in being close to current government contracts. The hope is the building is more attractive to military and private cyber security contractors  because of offering options like SCIFs (Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities). 

CyberSecurity San Antonio head Will Garrett says as the government looks to the private sector for cyber tools, it's important to have a building like this one.

"This facility will provide a house for the commercial sector and the military to interact in a way that we just don't have the infrastructure for today in San Antonio," says Garrett.

A confidential 2014 Deloitte study on the San Antonio cyber security industry highlighted a lack of commercial SCIF and other spaces where military and defense contractors could co-locate. 

Port Officials say the new building is their first in a decade and will increase their office space offerings by nearly a third.

Credit Paul Flahive
Judge Nelson Wolff Throws Out A Pitch as part of groundbreaking

The groundbreaking was flanked by a large mariachi band and narrow pitch of Astro Turf where elected officials like Mayor Ivy Taylor and Judge Nelson Wolff threw out ceremonial first pitches. Confetti shot off in celebration as a jackhammer pierced pierced the asphalt.

It is a lot of spectacle says District 4 Councilman Rey Saldaña, but he thinks it is warranted given the impact Project Tech could have on his district and the city

"If we were putting our bets down on manufacturing of old types of robotics that weren't going to bring new jobs to this city, I'd be less optimistic. I'd say we need less spectacle," he says.

But Saldaña is confident in the "bullish" build-it-and-they-will-come approach of the Port.

According to Port officials they are in talks with several companies interested in this kind of space. 

The building has an estimated price tag of $20 million. City Council votes to fund $1.5 million next week.