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Texas Research Park land sale to fund major economic development plan
October 26, 2015

Texas Research & Technology Foundation President York Duncan

W. Scott Bailey, Reporter/Project Coordinator
San Antonio Business Journal

The Texas Research & Technology Foundation has come up with a grand plan for boosting San Antonio’s biotech industry. The nonprofit will look to sell off roughly 800 acres it controls at the Texas Research Park west of Loop 1604 and use revenues generated from those transactions to support the development of more early-stage life science and technology companies.

“We believe we will be able to sell all of these properties in the park for somewhere between $40 million and $60 million,” said Texas Research & Technology Foundation Chairman Jim Dublin. “The goal is to sell the property over a five-year span so that we can create a perpetual fund. It may take less time.”

Indeed, TRTF has already closed on one transaction, selling the 76-unit Pawel Village apartment complex and 12.5 acres of real estate to a California investment group. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“The fund we createfrom the sale of these properties will be unique. Because this will not be an investor fund, we can perform differently. We can be geographically selective,” Dublin said, explaining that the plan will be to invest in San Antonio start-ups and young companies currently located elsewhere but willing to move to the Alamo City.

TRTF President York Duncan said there is already serious interest in at least two additional parcels of land at the research park as development activity continues to expand further west of San Antonio.

“We will probably see more of the life science ventures than anything else. We want to encourage the growth of that sector,” Dublin told me. “There are tremendous opportunities with the jobs, technologies and intellectual property. All of that could be very good for San Antonio. Because we will have a unique, community start-up fund, we can continue to feed that.

The TRTF has some skin in the investor game already, having created T3DC, which has funneled $500,000 into five local companies, including StemBioSys Inc. Duncan said that infusion has sparked additional interest from other backers as the companies have since collectively raised about $20 million in additional funding. The expectation is that a much larger investment fund will create far greater impact.

“This is about economic development,” Dublin said about the plan to leverage real estate deals into the creation of a new fund that could help grow more San Antonio companies.

W. Scott Bailey covers health care, tourism, sports business, economic development; he also plans and edits some special reports.

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