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Photo courtesy of AC Hotel

A hotel boom is underway in the Alamo City. As of the second quarter of 2022, 46 projects featuring 5,116 guest rooms were in the planning or development stages in the San Antonio area, according to a new report published by hospitality data provider Lodging Econometrics.

San Antonio ranks 21st in the U.S. for hotel construction.

Dallas leads all U.S. regions, with 173 hotel projects with 20,707 guest rooms in the pipeline. Big D is followed by Atlanta, Los Angeles, New York City, and Nashville, the report says.

“While some might expect Miami or New York City to lead the U.S. in terms of the number of hotel projects underway, that distinction actually belongs to Dallas … ,” says The Points Guy travel blog, which points out that Dallas has led all U.S. locations in hotel development for four consecutive quarters.

Elsewhere in Texas:

  • Houston ties for seventh place, with 94 projects featuring 10,247 guest rooms
  • Austin ranks 10th, with 80 projects featuring 10,306 guest rooms
  • Fort Worth-Arlington ranks 15th, with 65 projects with 8,005 guest rooms

Brian Hughes, managing director of JLL Hotels & Hospitality, tells the travel blog that “a heavy trend of corporate and population migration to Texas” has lifted hotel performance in the state as the COVID-19 pandemic wanes.

Another plus, it says, is Texas’ business-friendly tax structure. This draws companies to the state, which then feeds demand for hotel rooms to accommodate business travelers.

“Encouraged by 2022’s upward trend in hotel performance, owners, management groups, developers, and investors are moving forward with development plans as evidenced by increasing counts at every stage of construction,” Lodging Econometrics says.

Courtesy of Port San Antonio

San Antonio computes 80 percent growth in tech jobs from 2021-2022

Plugged in

San Antonio’s stature as a hub for cybersecurity is boosting its profile as a hub for tech employment.

A new report from Dice, an online platform for tech professionals, shows San Antonio ranked sixth among major U.S. cities for the growth of tech job postings from the first half of 2021 to the first half of 2022. San Antonio registered an increase of 80 percent.

At No. 5, Houston was one notch above San Antonio, with an 83 percent growth rate for tech job postings. Dallas appeared at No. 15 on the list, recording a 58 percent growth rate for tech job postings. Austin failed to make the top 25 in this category.

Orlando, Florida, topped the list, boasting a 111 percent growth rate for tech job postings.

Dice notes that Austin and Dallas sometimes overshadow San Antonio in terms of tech employment. But it emphasizes San Antonio’s increasing importance as a hub for cybersecurity innovation.

A report from Tech Bloc, a citywide initiative aimed at growing San Antonio’s tech sector, shows the local IT industry generates an annual economic impact of nearly $11 billion, up 27 percent from 2010. Meanwhile, the number of IT companies in San Antonio jumped 36 percent from 2015 to 2020.

Much of that growth is being driven by the cybersecurity sector. San Antonio is home to more cybersecurity professionals than anyplace else in the U.S. other than Washington, D.C. Thus, San Antonio has adopted the identity of “America’s Cyber City.”

“The alignment of education, industry, and government within cybersecurity, and the ability to collaborate across these sectors, presents the city’s most significant opportunity for industry development,” Business Facilities magazine observed in 2020.

Business Facilities traces the roots of San Antonio’s cybersecurity presence to 1948, when the Air Force established its Security Service operations in Alamo City.

“To further develop San Antonio’s cybersecurity dominance, we’re focused on talent development tailored to industry needs in the cybersecurity industry,” Tom Long, managing director of the greater:SATX economic partnership, told the magazine. “It’s a strategy gaining attention and investment from cybersecurity operations large and small, as well as large corporations with significant internal cybersecurity hub operations.”

Photo courtesy of San Antonio Board of Realtors

San Antonio home prices rise and sales fall in latest real estate report

Real Estate Report

San Antonio home prices went one way, while sales went the other in July 2022. The latest report from SABOR shows a 15 percent year-over-year increase in the area's median home price; meanwhile, there was a 15 percent year-over-year decrease in home sales.

In July, the San Antonio median home price clocked in at $341,600. The average area home price hit $389,486, up 12 percent from a year ago, but down from the all-time high of $405,891, which was recorded in June.

“Though the average and median price of a home continues to rise, this is the fourth month in a row we are seeing a decrease in home sales,” said Tracie Hasslocher, SABOR chairman, in a release.

“3,333 homes were sold in July, a decrease of 15 percent from July 2021. To close the month, there were 5,114 new listings and 9,068 active listings, both an increase from last year. However, there was a 12 percent decrease in pending sales.”

According to data provided by SABOR, the San Antonio trends mirror the Texas market as a whole. Home sales across the state dropped 15.4 percent last month, compared to July 2021, while the average home price grew 10 percent and the median home price climbed almost 13 percent.

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This national survey says Texas is a great state for business

A Great State

As San Antonio and the rest of Texas continue to welcome out-of-state businesses, there’s some affirming news from a new poll. More than half of non-Texans believe the Lone Star State is a good place to launch a business.

The survey, conducted this summer by Austin-based Crosswinds Media & Public Relations and Asbury Park, New Jersey-based Rasmussen Reports, a conservative-leaning polling company, found 53 percent of non-Texans had a positive perception of Texas as a place to do business. Only 23 percent of adults outside Texas had a “bad” or “very bad” view of the state’s business environment, while 24 percent said they were unsure.

The survey questioned 845 American adults who don’t live in Texas.

Thomas Graham, president and CEO of Crosswinds, says the survey results demonstrate that “the brand of the Lone Star State remains strong.”

In recent years, a number of out-of-state companies have been lured by that brand as well as the business climate in Central Texas. High-profile examples include Tesla, who relocated its headquarters to Austin in 2021; DeLorean, who selected Port San Antonio for its global HQ; and Chem-Energy Corp, who sidled into San Marcos with the promise of creating upwards of 400 local jobs.

The poll from Crosswinds and Rasmussen was completed around the same time that CNBC released its ranking of the best states for doing business. Texas landed in fifth place, down one notch from its perch in CNBC’s 2021 study. A day later, CNBC put out a list of the worst states to live, with Texas appearing at No. 2 behind Arizona.

CNBC notes that skilled workers are flooding Texas, even though the quality of life here raises questions. The new arrivals “are finding limited childcare options, a stressed health care system with the highest rate of uninsured, new curbs on voting rights, and few protections against discrimination,” the cable TV network declares.

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A version of this story originally appeared on our sister site InnovationMap.com.

Photo by benedek/Getty Images

San Antonio ranks among 10 hottest markets for relocating homebuyers

Influx of outsiders

Drawn by relatively low home prices, buyers increasingly are flocking to the San Antonio metro area.

Among more than 100 major metro areas, San Antonio ranked as the ninth most popular destination for homebuyers moving to the area compared with homebuyers leaving the area, according to the Redfin real estate platform.

Redfin’s report suggests 5,335 Redfin users relocated to the San Antonio area in the second quarter, compared with 4,356 during the same period last year.

“Homebuyers are seeking out less expensive locales like Tampa and San Antonio, partly because the surging cost of housing and … goods is limiting their ability to buy homes in many U.S. cities,” says Taylor Marr, deputy chief economist at Redfin.

Miami topped Redfin’s list of the most popular migration destinations in the second quarter of this year. Dallas-Fort Worth landed at No. 10.

Redfin’s report indicates 4,964 Redfin users relocated to Dallas-Fort Worth in the second quarter, compared with 7,458 during the same period last year.

During the second quarter, 42 percent of Redfin home searches in the San Antonio area came from outside the region. The leading source of those searches? Buyers from the Austin area. For Dallas-Fort Worth, the same figure was 25 percent, with buyers from Los Angeles contributing the most search activity.

It’s no surprise that Austin-area buyers are hunting for homes in the San Antonio area. In June, the median sale price for a home in the Austin area was $537,475, the Austin Board of Realtors says. In the San Antonio area, the median price stood at $348,200. That’s a difference of nearly $190,000.

Photo by benedek/Getty Images

San Antonio's average home price surpasses $400,000 for the first time

Real Estate Report

Local home prices are heating up in the hot housing market, hitting a new milestone in June. The latest monthly report from San Antonio Board of Realtors reveals that the average San Antonio metro home price surpassed $400,000 last month, for the first time ever.

The area's average price has been inching toward this milestone for months, sitting at $399,370 in May and $395,847 in April. In June, it reached $405,891, up 18.1 percent year-over-year and up 1.6 percent from the previous month.

Meanwhile, SABOR reports that the median price clocked in at $345,000 — up 20.2 percent from a year ago, but actually down slightly from a May 2022 all-time high of $347,530.

And though prices were up significantly, sales cooled down. "San Antonio area saw a 9 percent decrease in home sales, compared to this time last year," SABOR says. But with 3,036 sales pending at the end of the month, the market could be in for a hot July.

Similar sales slowdowns were seen at the county at state levels, with Bexar County's sales dropping 10.3 percent in June and Texas' sales decreasing 8.3 percent.

“Although there is a slight decrease in sales, we continue to see an increase in median and average home prices in our area,” says Tracie Hasslocher, SABOR's 2022 chairman of the board. She notes that "the area also saw a 14 percent [year-over-year] increase in price per square foot. 100.9 percent of homes sold for the list price and stayed on the market for an average of 29 days.”

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San Antonio Missions hit home run with new owners, plus more top stories

Hot Headlines

Editor’s note: It’s that time again — time to check in with our top stories. Here are five articles that captured our collective attention over the past seven days.

1. San Antonio's minor league baseball team scores new owners, including Texas sports legends. San Antonio's minor league baseball team is back to being locally owned — by some big names.

2. H-E-B unveils new line of merchandise for super fans, available exclusively at this store. Kerrville was chosen to launch the company's new line of H-E-B-branded merchandise, in celebration of its 117th anniversary and in honor of its first store.

3. San Antonio market continues to see prices going up and sales going down. San Antonio home sales dropped 19 percent from October 2021.

4. San Antonio Rodeo wrangles even more musical acts for star-studded 2023. Turnpike Troubadours joined the already impressive lineup for the 2023 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.

5. San Antonio children's theater adapts timeless children's book for the holidays. Magik Theatre celebrates The Velveteen Rabbit as a Christmas story, with inclusive special performances.

Steven Spielberg opens up personal history in The Fabelmans

Movie Review

For over 40 years, director Steven Spielberg has been delivering some of the most popular blockbuster movies of all time as well as a bevy of Oscar-quality dramas, a combination that’s unique to him. For his latest, The Fabelmans, he’s decided to go more personal than ever, telling a thinly-veiled version of his own childhood.

Sammy (played mostly by Gabriel LaBelle) is one of four children – and the only son – of Mitzi (Michelle Williams), a concert pianist, and Burt Fabelman (Paul Dano), a computer engineer. From an early age, Sammy is enthralled by the art of filmmaking, first remaking a train crash sequence from The Greatest Show on Earth, and gradually moving on to more adventurous stories.

Burt’s advancing career, which moves the family from New Jersey to Arizona to California, causes stress for various members of the family, most notably Sammy and Mitzi. Sammy must deal with anti-Semitic bullies, while Mitzi falls deeper into a mental health crisis. Sammy’s movies continually offer a respite for the family, though, giving him a creative outlet and the rest of them a chance to forget their troubles for a while.

Written by Spielberg – his first writing effort since 2001’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence – and Tony Kushner, the film is heavy on emotions but presented in a way that those feelings don’t always translate. Spielberg is no stranger to depicting fraught family situations in his long career, but in showing ones from his own family, it feels like he pulled back, not wanting the scenes to be overwrought or schmaltzy.

The result is a story that isn’t as universal as some of his other films. As the film is told from Sammy’s perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in his pursuits and various discoveries as he gets older. The mindsets of the rest of the family are less clear, even though his parents and sisters are ever-present. Mitzi’s state of mind is a concern from the start, but it’s not always treated as such by other important characters.

Just as Sammy’s movies are an escape for his family, so too are they some of the best parts of the film. Sammy figuring out the process and secrets of filmmaking is informative and often thrilling, especially if you’re a cinephile. Spielberg has been considered a master for so long that watching him revisit the days when he was learning as he went is catnip for movie lovers.

In addition to being a dead ringer for a teenage Spielberg, LaBelle is a fantastic actor. It’s no easy feat to carry a movie on your shoulders, and LaBelle makes the assignment look easy. Williams’ performance will likely be more polarizing; she employs a very mannered speech pattern that works in some situations, but not all. The film also includes memorable short appearances by Seth Rogen, Judd Hirsch, and David Lynch.

Spielberg has provided the moviegoing public with such pleasure over the years that he deserves to have a movie that’s mostly for him. The initial viewing of The Fabelmans left this critic wanting, but perhaps it will gain more traction on a second screening.

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The Fabelmans is now playing in theaters.

Photo by Merie Weismuller Wallace/Universal Pictures and Amblin Entertainment

Gabriel LaBelle in The Fabelmans

New self-guided tour showcases iconic Fort Worth Stockyards' many Hollywood ties

Tinseltown in Cowtown

A new self-guided tour showcasing the Fort Worth Stockyards’ many star-studded appearances in cinema throughout the years recently debuted in time for the 16th annual Lone Star Film Festival, which took place earlier this month in the Stockyards for the first time.

Called Stars of the Stockyards, the eight-stop, go-at-your-own pace walking tour guides folks to famous film sites where celebrities have stepped foot in front of Hollywood cameras. Visitors to the Stockyards can access the PDF tour map on their smart phones via QR codes (no app required) posted throughout the district, namely at hotels and tour kiosks.

"The Stockyards is a historic and celebrated destination for many reasons, but one that may be lesser known is its popularity as a filming location for some of our favorite movies and TV series," said Ethan Cartwright, VP of marketing for Stockyards Heritage Development Co.

The tour and corresponding QR codes are a permanent addition to the district, he said.

Stops on the map include the iconic White Elephant Saloon, a hotbed for Hollywood performances including several by legendary actor and martial artist Chuck Norris in the longtime TV series, Walker, Texas Ranger when the watering hole was portrayed as the fictional CD Bar. The White Elephant was also graced by country music superstar Tim McGraw and Academy Award-winning actor Billy Bob Thornton for their appearances in Paramount Plus’ hit series 1883.

Also in 1883 and featured on the tour is Hookers Grill, hidden in the less flashy West side of Exchange Ave. The burger shack transformed into a gambling den in the show called The Texas House of Liquor & Sport. It’s the only building in the Stockyards that preserved the façade constructed by 1883’s production team. During operating hours, customers can order at the outdoor burger window and dine at patio tables within the two-story structure.

Cowtown Coliseum is marked on the map for its appearances in the 1983 film Tough Enough, where actor Dennis Quaid played an amateur boxer. It’s also the home of the final rodeo scene in the 1992 movie Pure Country starring country music legend George Strait.

Billy Bob’s Texas, the Stockyards Hotel, and even unassuming historic cattle pens also make the list on the tour, along with notations for the Texas Trail of Fame, which features more than 240 bronze markers honoring contributors for preserving and perpetuating the Western way of life.

Veteran actors Sam Elliot and Robert Duvall, both stars in the megahit TV series Yellowstone, are among the most recent Texas Trail of Fame inductees.

For more information and to get started on the tour, go here.