The San Antonio International Airport served more than eight million passengers, including more than 400,000 international passengers. The U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) introduced its Trusted Traveler Program with the installation of its Global Entry Kiosks and an enrollment center to better serve the international passengers at the airport. Based on seat capacity, the airport became the 10th largest United States gateway to Mexico.
Completed by the Aviation Department, the Stinson Municipal Airport Master Plan assessed the need for future facilities anticipated to meet demands over the next 20 years.
In June 2012 the Center City Housing Incentive Policy (CCHIP) was adopted. In its first full fiscal year of implementation, the Center City Development Office (CCDO) executed 13 CCHIP agreements that provide for 1,050 new housing units that are planned or under construction within the inner city. These projects represent approximately $160 million in private investment. Total incentives of $10,155,350 include: $3,160,655 in fee waivers; $6,366,695 in real property tax rebates; $248,000 in low-interest loans; and $380,000 in forgivable loans. In addition to the CCHIP, the Center City Development Office also administers the Inner City Reinvestment Infill Policy (ICRIP). It processed 377 ICRIP applications that provided more than $2 million in City fee waivers to inner City projects.
The Center City Development Office also oversees the Brownfields Program that has funded $186,000 for assessments and environmental surveys for 16 properties. Thanks to the program, the City obtained $59,000 in state funding for two projects and assisted more than 130 property owners with environmental issues. The program has leveraged $26.2 million in investments and facilitated the construction of 222 new housing units.
In line with the Downtown Framework Plan’s recommendation to strategically dispose of City- owned property, the Center City Development Office initiated three Public Private Partnerships (P3): Dwyer Building, Mission Drive In, and the Red Berry Mansion. The P3’s will facilitate the redevelopment of the center city and identify compatible developers for the sites.
A new City Code chapter, which consolidated the City’s various non-discrimination provisions, was developed by the Office of the City Attorney. It expanded the protected categories to include sexual orientation, gender identity, and veteran status; revised outdated terminology; and required most City contracts to comply with this policy. The Non-Discrimination Ordinance was adopted by the Mayor and City Council on Sept. 4, 2013.
The City’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) enjoyed a banner year. There were 857,206 group room nights booked surpassing a goal of 850,000. This represents 557 meetings for future years, which also results in 565,000 delegates visiting San Antonio. There were 700 accounts serviced in FY 2013, which represented more than 700,000 visitors. These events generated $26.4 million in positive media value for San Antonio as a leisure and meetings destination, and more than 4.9 million online engagements* (including website visits) and 301,000 Facebook followers, each measuring interest in travel to San Antonio. The CVB received more than 600 million advertising impressions, a 23.4 percent increase over 2012.
A new, award-winning leisure website in English and Spanish was launched by the City and was the first among CVBs to integrate content changes based on user-customization technologies along with social data at www.visitsanantonio.com.
“Unforgettable,” a campaign led by the CVB, included the development of new print and online creative work to showcase the diversity of San Antonio. It will be launched in FY2014.
The CVB also launched the Certified Tourism Ambassadors (CTA) program and was the first destination to certify more than 1,000 individuals in the first year. San Antonio has the highest number of current, active CTAs in the nation.
In addition, the City worked with BioMed SA and the Economic Development Department (EDD) to book the Genetics Policy Institute 2014 World Stem Cell Summit where more than 1,200 people are expected to attend.
San Antonio became a citywide playground with the first ever Kidcation Week. There were more than 70 partners that offered family-focused deals and events throughout the week. The campaign generated 57 million advertising and earned media impressions. Online agents with Southwest Airlines Vacations, Tourico Holidays and Hotels.com all reported that their Kidcation Week promotions were successful with Year Over Year (YOY) growth in room nights, Average Daily Rate (ADR) and hotel revenue.
Festival People en Español’s second year resulted in an increase in attendance to 40,000 over the Labor Day weekend. The City generated more than 60 million in marketing impressions for this event.
The Convention Sports and Entertainment Facilities (CSEF) Department hosted more than 655,000 visitors who attended 312 events held at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Design development was completed for the Convention Center expansion project.
Numerous conventions were secured and hosted in the Convention Center, including the Festival People en Español, Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod Youth Gathering, Dish Network, Society of Petroleum Engineers, International Roofing Expo, National Science Teachers Association, International Reading Association, International Society for Technology in Education, Baptist General Convention, American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, U.S. Paralympic Valor Games, Vision Forum Christian Film Festival, Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Expo, American Idol auditions and America’s Got Talent auditions.
More than one million people visited the Alamodome over 138 event days. In addition, the Alamodome celebrated its 20th anniversary and conducted an economic impact study showing $1.7 billion in total impact in the past decade, supporting more than 18,000 full-time equivalent jobs and resulting in worker’s earnings of more than $570 million.
The highly successful University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Roadrunner football program held its second season home games at the Alamodome. The Roadrunners are scheduled to play its home football games in the Alamodome through 2035. The contract ensures the Roadrunners will continue to host contests in the 65,000-seat facility throughout the next two decades.
Other events that the Alamodome hosted included the George Strait concert, which set a single event attendance record with 73,000 attendees; the City's first Major League Baseball Exhibition Game entitled “Big League Weekend” with more than 75,000 attendees over the two-day event; a World Light Middleweight Boxing title fight featuring Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Austin Trout with more than 40,000 attendees;and the second season of the San Antonio Talons Arena Football team. The facility featured improved technology with an enhanced WiFi system and a Distributed Antenna System (DAS).
The EDD secured 3,632 total new and/or retained jobs and $302 million in investments in FY2013. Some of the project highlights included the following:
Vanguard expanded its presence in San Antonio with a new IT service center operation to retain 45 jobs, and create an additional 80 jobs and invest $8.5 million.
San Antonio welcomed OCI Solar Power, Inc. to its Green Technology industry community. OCI owns and operates solar power plants in North America, specializing in projects from 2 to 20 megawatts in size. OCI located its headquarters in downtown San Antonio and created 76 jobs.
OCI partnered with Nexolon America, LLC who will supply the solar panels to build a 400 megawatt solar energy project. Nexolon plans to build a manufacturing plant at Brooks City-Base, invest approximately $115 million and create 404 solar panel manufacturing jobs.
HVHC Inc., which owns Visionworks and Empire Vision Centers, Inc., established its headquarters in San Antonio in 1988 and currently employs more than 350 at its headquarters in downtown San Antonio. In FY2013, HVHC created its manufacturing operation in District 6 with approximately 600 manufacturing jobs and invested approximately $25 million in the new facility.
A collaboration between the EDD and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF) expanded the Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) program in San Antonio. In FY2013, the BRE program visited 85 companies and helped address infrastructure and other issues. Those visits resulted in the recruitment, retention and expansion of 12 companies and the creation of 1,966 jobs. Some of the companies visited by the BRE team in 2013 include Boeing, DPT Laboratories, CGI Federal, Delta Risk, Avanzar Interior Technologies, and Hill Country Bakery.
The Department also continued the implementation of the Small Business Economic Development Advocacy (SBEDA) Ordinance, which leverages the City’s purchasing power to encourage the use of small, minority and women-owned businesses (SMWBEs). As of August 2013, 41 percent ($97.3 million) of payments on contracts awarded under the current SBEDA Ordinance went to small, minority and women-owned businesses, which represents a 20 percent increase from the previous fiscal year. During FY2013, the Department processed more than 250 goal-setting packets.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the City partnered with the Asocación de Empresarios Mexicanos to host the NAFTA 20 Summit at the Westin La Cantera. Approximately 450 people attended the event while federal-level representatives from Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. participated in panel discussions and presentations on the growth opportunities within their respective regions.
The EDD continued its partnership with the Brookings Institution to develop a plan to increase the region’s exports. As part of that program, the Department convened the San Antonio Export Working Group to provide guidance on the plan’s development. Their aim is to grow San Antonio’s exports and increase the number of businesses engaged in exporting as a mechanism for generating jobs and investment. The Free Trade Alliance of San Antonio will coordinate implementation of the strategy with help from the newly-formed San Antonio Export Assistance Team (SEAT). In FY2014, the Working Group and the SEAT will develop a long-term implementation plan.
Further empowering the business community, the City continues to support the Business Empowerment Plan in collaboration with the Alamo Colleges (ACCD.) The Plan consists of the Mentor Protégé and Bonding Assistance programs and includes seminars and individual counseling. At the end of the fiscal year, 81 small businesses have participated in the Business Empowerment Plan: 72 within the Mentor Protégé Program and nine within the Bonding Assistance Program.
City Council created the San Antonio Economic Development Corporation (SAEDC) in 2010 to help spur the development of innovative companies and bring high-paying jobs to the city. The SAEDC can make equity investments in companies with a focus on growing the bioscience and healthcare industry. In FY2013, InCube Labs, one of the SAEDC investment projects, helped create two additional life and science companies in San Antonio by the names of Theracle and iBridge Medical. In addition, SAEDC, along with others in the community, helped land the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit in San Antonio.
The EDD helped to organize and lead several foreign trade missions throughout the FY2013. During each visit, City delegates met with representatives of companies interested in expanding in the U.S. and hosted seminars to showcase the City as an attractive option for corporate investment. Trips completed in FY2013 included:
In November 2012, Mayor Julián Castro participated in a trip to London focused on technology and energy. Delegates met with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the equivalent of the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury. A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was also signed with the UK Trade and Investment to support two-way business development.
In January 2013, delegates explored the education and bioscience/health care sectors in Delhi, Hyderabad, and Chennai, India, one of San Antonio’s Sister Cities. Representatives discussed issues including bio-healthcare joint ventures, vendor-supplier networking, and future collaboration on investment prospects.
In September 2013, delegates visited Bilbao, Seville, and Madrid, Spain to meet with representatives from some of Spain’s largest companies. An Invest in San Antonio seminar was held and attracted more than 80 businesses. The EDD’s Small Business Office hosted the NetWorks IT event at Geekdom, a collaborative coworking space in San Antonio. The event connected local SMWBEs within the information technology industry with large IT distributors, such as HP, CISCO, Hewlett Packard, and IBM. In addition, the Texas Department of Information Resources provided informational sessions regarding business opportunities within statewide cooperative purchase agreements. Local agencies, such as the San Antonio Water System and CPS Energy, also provided information on how to do business with their respective agencies.
In 2013, the SAEDF also completed its strategic plan, “Forward San Antonio.” The plan provides recommendations, goals, and strategies for advancing San Antonio’s economic development efforts. The strategy places an emphasis on San Antonio’s economic development and business support organizations and is founded on the notion that sustained economic success is based on a unified vision and cooperative approach by all of the economic development organizations.
The City’s Department of Human Services (DHS) was one of five national recipients of a Bloomberg Philanthropies and Living Cities’ Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund grant to open Financial Empowerment Centers. In March 2013, DHS, in partnership with Family Service Association and United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County, opened two Financial Empowerment Centers. Financial counselors provided approximately 2,000 one-on-one counseling sessions to more than 800 San Antonio residents to help them reduce debt, improve credit scores, increase savings and access safe banking products.
Through a public relations initiative launched by the EDD, positive media coverage was garnered for company relocations and expansions, and helped build an online presence for the Department.
With the completion of $3.7 million of capital improvements along the River Walk, the Downtown Operations Department also marked the completion of Phase III of improvements for the River Walk Capital Improvements Master Plan. The work included ADA and aesthetic improvements, and reconstruction of the river barge ticket office.
In partnership with the Downtown Alliance, the City implemented the renewal process for the Downtown Public Improvement District (PID). The Downtown PID was extended for a 10-year period to supplement City services in the downtown area by offering maintenance, landscaping, and information services to downtown visitors. In addition, the Downtown PID will implement business recruitment and retention efforts with the promotion of downtown San Antonio.
The Downtown Operations Department coordinated more than 600 rentals for special events at Alamo Plaza, HemisFair Park, Travis and Milam Parks, and the River Walk. Rentals increased by 20 percent in part thanks to an additional wedding location on the southern portion of the River Walk.
With an ordinance passed by City Council, the Finance Department implemented a Local Preference Program, "Local SA," that grants contracting preferences to local businesses for personal property, professional and nonprofessional services and construction services.
REnewSA, a multi-departmental and multi-agency collaborative, was developed by the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD) to focus community development resources in targeted geographies to return distressed properties to productive use. The department aligned $7.3 million in Federal Entitlement Grant funds with the goals of REnewSA and issued a Request for Quotation (RFQ) to identify redevelopment strategies for economically-challenged corridors and their trading areas.
The DPCD also developed the Northeast Corridor Revitalization Initiative and completed a detailed corridor assessment and market study. The Department is developing a multi-year revitalization plan with a task force based on data collected. A strong coalition of residents, business owners, financial sector representatives, and real estate professionals is part of the task force.
To better support investment in the Broadway corridor, the City merged the River North and the Midtown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ). In addition, there was $900,000.00 awarded from the Inner City TIRZ fund to two economic development projects on the eastside.
The City’s Communications and Public Affairs Department generated 5,929 regional and national media stories. Stories were published in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Dallas Morning News, Reuters, Associated Press, United Press International, Austin American Statesman and the Huffington Post:. These stories included the following:
- The Annual Martin Luther King Festivities
- Pre-K 4 SA
- City of San Antonio AAA Bond Rating
- Fiesta Celebration
- San Antonio Business Leader Profile Videos
- Animal Care Services winning the Rachael Ray $100K Challenge
- Kidcation Week
- San Antonio to host the 2014 World Stem Cell Summit
A new webpage was launched by the City that features video profiles of San Antonio area business leaders that highlight the diverse industry portfolio located in the city. The Business Leader Profile Videos include personal interviews with greatly respected business leaders, founders of major companies, and exceptional managers and CEOs. The profile videos include well-known business leaders, such as InCube Labs CEO Mir Imran, Frost Bank CEO Dick Evans, USAA CEO Joe Robles, Alamo Travel Group President and CEO Pat Stout, Rackspace Co-founder and Chairman Graham Weston, InGenesis President and CEO Veronica Edwards, True Flavors President and Chef Johnny Hernandez, Corporate Travel Partners Founder and CEO Christy Prescott, BTL Technologies President and CEO Bill “Clark” Kent, Texas A&M University - San Antonio President Dr. Maria Ferrier, and business icon Red McCombs.
Federal funding for the San Antonio region was identified and secured by the Intergovernmental Relations Department. The $33.4 million grant includes funds for transportation, housing and parks.
The International Relations Office (IRO) generated economic impact of more than $1 million as a result of hosting 67 international delegations, which included more than 900 delegates visiting the city.
In July, the City proudly hosted the 2013 Sister Cities International Conference, which drew more than 600 delegates from 29 countries to San Antonio; celebrated the 60th anniversary of the City of San Antonio’s sister city relationship with Monterrey, Mexico; and marked the 25th anniversary of a sister city relationship with Kumamoto, Japan. In addition, IRO led and/or participated in six outbound missions to the United Kingdom, India, Mexico, China, and Spain.
To determine if there were areas where the City could provide support services to Joint Base San Antonio, the Office of Military Affairs (OMA) completed a Community-Military Partnership Project. The goal was to reduce base operation support costs and make the San Antonio area a more advantageous location for military missions in an era of reduced U.S. Department of Defense budgets.
The OMA provided support for the Military Transformation Task Force which addresses military compatibility, sustainability, and partnership efforts while serving as the communication nexus with City, County, and Chamber of Commerce officials.
Recommendations by the Lackland AFB Joint Land Use Study (JLUS) were implemented by OMA to mitigate the effects of noise and light pollution on the military installation. Approximately 35 percent of the JLUS recommendations have been completed.
Global Entry Kiosks
Festival People en Español
UTSA Roadrunner Football at the Alamodome
Nexolon manufacturing plant groundbreaking
NAFTA Summit participants
Business Empowerment Plan
Mayor Julián Castro speaking at the London School of Economics
San Antonio Economic Development Foundation logo
Local SA logo
Department of Planning and Community Development logo
Business Leader Profile Videos
Sister Cities International Conference anniversary celebration
Military Affairs logo