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Houston unlucky with oil spill and airline merger; San Antonio’s luck still going strong

by admin on August 26, 2010

…sometimes cities do well because they’re just flat-out lucky. Houston is getting unlucky with the oil spill and the airline merger.

A few hundred miles west, San Antonio, perhaps the most recession-resilient city outside D.C., is getting lucky. Like Houston, the Alamo City benefits from a low-tax/low-regulation business environment in Texas. Like Houston, it’s avoided the residential real estate undertow that dragged California and Florida out to sea. But unlike Houston’s recent woes, San Antonio got lucky at the start of the recession. Just as corporate conventions sagged, the city landed a 70,000-person Alcoholics Anonymous event that was years in the works, awarding the city with its largest convention ever. And just as commercial real estate was about to belly-up, the city got a $2.2 billion project from the federal government under a military realignment program to expand its Army medical center.

Good policies make a difference, but providence matters, too.

–Derek Thompson is a staff editor at TheAtlantic.com

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