Metro Spotlight: San Antonio, Texas
A Sizzling Southern Sensation
A s the seventh largest city in the U.S., San Antonio offers a variety of reasons for businesses to consider expansion or relocation, including a thriving economy, reliable and affordable utilities, a qualified labor pool, a low cost of living and an excellent quality of life.
In 2008, Forbes ranked San Antonio as the second most “recession-proof” city in America, citing such factors as the city’s solid employment figures and growing industries. The local economy is a healthy mix of business services, biomedical technology and research, a diversified manufacturing sector, a rapidly growing information technology industry and a thriving military community.
San Antonio also is home to a thriving bioscience and healthcare community. With an annual economic impact of more than $15 billion and 113,000 employees, it is the city’s number-one economic generator, according to an economic impact study of the sector. San Antonio recently welcomed Medtronic’s Diabetes Therapy Management and Education Center, which will employ nearly 1,400 people. The Texas metropolis beat out Kansas City for the project.
A 2006 economic impact study also indicated that the manufacturing industry accounted for a $14.4- billion economic impact as local manufacturers employed more than 52,700 people to produce everything from specialty medical products and pharmaceuticals to concrete, steel and automotive parts.
San Antonio’s IT industry was bolstered in 2008 when Microsoft Corporation built a $550-million data center in the city’s far Northwest side, along with seven additional data centers from other companies. In 2009, Rackspace’s 1,470 employees are settling into the company’s new headquarters at the renovated 1.2-million square-foot Windsor Park Mall.
The city has a strong military presence with a $13.3-billion annual economic impact and jobs for more than 190,000 people across Lackland Air Force Base, Randolph AFB, Port San Antonio (formerly Kelly AFB), Brooks City-Base (formerly Brooks AFB) and Fort Sam Houston, which is slated to be transformed into a hub for all military medical and training research by 2011.
San Antonio’s locally owned and operated utility companies, CPS Energy and San Antonio Water System (SAWS), offer reliable electricity, gas and water with rates among the lowest in the United States. The city’s low energy costs are one of the key factors that led the Boyd Co. to select San Antonio among the top 10 cities in the U.S. to locate a secure corporate data center. CPS Energy maintains excess generating capacity of more than 18 percent, and the San Antonio area has an expansive fiber network consisting of more than 10,000 fiber sheath miles and more than 700,000 fiber strand miles.
San Antonio offers a qualified workforce of more than 900,000 people. In addition to this labor pool, more than 125,000 students are preparing to enter the workforce from the 13 colleges and universities in and around the San Antonio metro area.
In 2008, MSN Real Estate ranked San Antonio among the top five “Most Livable Bargain Markets” among cities with a population of at least 500,000. According to the National Association of Realtors, the median sales price of a single-family home during the first quarter of 2008 in San Antonio was $149,800. Lastly, according to the Council for Community and Economic Research, San Antonio has an overall cost of living that is well below the national average.