The University of Texas Board of Regents voted Thursday to give UTSA conditional approval to have exclusive discussions with the City of San Antonio to buy or lease its Institute of Texan Cultures property, which makes up roughly 13.5 acres in Hemisfair, for a “potential downtown revitalization project.”

Although no one would speak on the record about specifics, the move heightens speculation that the city may seek the property as a new downtown home for the San Antonio Spurs. A new basketball arena would need about 12 acres of land; moving the Spurs to Hemisfair would put San Antonio squarely within a larger national trend of locating sports arenas in city centers.

“The city is interested in every opportunity, and as much flexibility as possible, in realizing the future of downtown San Antonio,” said Mayor Ron Nirenberg in a statement. “As conversations evolve about the development of downtown, Hemisfair and the area surrounding it remain central to the re-envisioning of the region.”


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