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Old Posted Aug 9, 2014, 5:53 PM
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sirkingwilliam sirkingwilliam is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2007
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Though it’s still in an exploratory phase, CPS Energy has received interest from 20 groups for its potential new downtown headquarters — groups either offering an existing building, offering land for a new building, or offering to construct a new building.

Earlier this year, CPS Energy formed a seven-member advisory committee to explore the possibility of the public utility moving from its current riverfront headquarters at 145 Navarro St. The objective is to find a new home, but also remain in the central business district.

Most of the submissions CPS Energy received in its initial request for interest are Texas-based firms offering either real estate for a new building or offering to construct one, according to Cassidy Turley, the Washington, D.C.-based firm handling the search.

“What we’re looking at right now is a cross spectrum of Texas-based firms,” said Frank McCafferty, an executive managing director at Cassidy Turley.

CPS Energy has declined to release the list of parties who responded to the city-owned utility’s informal request for information. The utility did say that the submissions will be shared with the advisory committee later this month. A more formal request for qualifications will be issued Oct. 8, and a request for proposals on Nov. 26, CPS Energy spokeswoman Lisa Lewis said.

“Really what (an RFI) is is you’re asking someone to respond back to you,” CPS Energy spokeswoman Lisa Lewis said. “What the opportunity is, what they own, who the team would be. Are there any encumbrances? It’s an information gathering stage. So you can determine if that is a viable option to move to the request for qualifications phase.”

The short list of firms and groups will be compiled before the request for proposals is issued, and at that time the utility will release names, Lewis said.

Lewis said the utility is going to follow the process through, but that doesn’t necessarily mean CPS Energy will abandon its current digs.

“Even with proposals, we will evaluate the cost-benefit against staying put,” Lewis said.

In a meeting in spring, CPS Energy CEO Doyle Beneby told the San Antonio Express-News Editorial Board that he was adamant about keeping the new headquarters in the center city.

“Typically in major cities, (utility) headquarters are typically in the urban core,” Beneby told the Express-News in March. “So, I don’t think we should be any different. But that’s our preference, obviously. But certainly, I think, suburbia is off thetable.

“If we can ultimately make the best economic decision, in terms of our modeling, and at the same time … help the urban core, I kind of feel we should do that if we can.”

IF CPS Energy moved, it would free up prime real estate along the River Walk for potential redevelopment. Its current headquarters — two buildings consisting of roughly 200,000 square feet — houses 800 employees. It’s been there since 1954.
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