Its December, it’s the Holiday Season and Santa is comin’ to town! Next year, that is. And he’s “beginning to look a lot like” Amazon! This ubiquitous giant is buying up land, right here in River City. Now this does NOT come from the professionals involved in these transactions, all of whom have signed ironclad non-disclosure agreements. No one’s been naughty, no sir. City of San Antonio Legislation minutes show that Amazon bought 55 acres at US 281/Wurzbach Parkway and West Avenue for a 141,000 square foot building and lots of parking. Also, they are purchasing 61 acres on the northside of Loop 1604 at Lockhill Selma; then, another site on Foster Road for maybe a 1.2M SF warehouse; and another tract near the Union Pacific multimodal terminal off I-35, south of Loop 410. I think. These possible locations will give Amazon the ability to provide same-day service to all the San Antonio Metro area, it would appear. Watch out HEB and Wal-Mart.
This is the new face of same-day delivery retail and what will be the new normal for us for the decade to come. Perhaps, next, will be large trucks that park in your neighborhood with roofs that open so that drones can fly out and make deliveries to your doorstep. Just like Santa, but every day. Then maybe your Internet of Things will inventory your refrigerator daily, order for you, and the drone will deliver it to your door? Then Robby the Robot can deliver it from your door step to your refrigerator. Is this a Great Country, or what!? This just might have an impact on shopping malls. Local retail centers will be primarily leased by service providers whom you have to see personally. Stuff will come from Santa Amazon- will every day be Christmas?
Other prime buyers of Alamo City land are data center developers. We know about Microsoft’s huge 158-acre campus in the Texas Research Park. Cyrus One is also developing there and MS is buying more land. Then, a number of sites have sold near the NSA facility at Loop 410 and Military Drive. If San Antonio “lands” Space Command HQ then that would also be a big accelerator for all sorts of new office development and probably data center space, too. U.S. Space Command was established in August 2019 as the military’s 11th unified combatant command and is presently in Colorado. There is a lot of competition for this facility so S.A. maybe a long shot.
Covid has not had a negative impact on land prices in our fair city. The above-mentioned mega deals are going down at market prices for their parcels. We have all read that single family homes are selling like hotcakes, unless they are downtown. Home builders like Lennar and D.R. Horton are very aggressive now in buying major tracts. Horton just bought about 900 acres to add to on the Far West side. The section of Hwy 211 that will connect Potranco Road and Culebra Road will finally break ground in January, after a 15 year delay. This will open up Redbird and Stevens Ranch subdivisions with over 10,000 new home lots. Since we need a supply of about 12,000 new lots per year and this Far West region is about 1/3 of the overall San Antonio market, you can see how fast this area will continue to develop in the years to come. Also, multifamily sites are selling well. Consider that we need about 6,000 new multifamily housing units per year, and there are about 300 units on average per development, then, we need to build 20 new apartment complexes every single year to keep up with demand. Most of the folks for this growth come from our own children growing up, marrying and having their own children. About 80% of our growth is from our hometown. We also have lots of people moving here from the Rio Grande Valley, and, of course, the in-migration from California is consequential. Alas, the biggest loser in the Days of Covid? Movie theaters. How will we repurpose them? Happy Holidays, anyway!