The $325 million expansion of San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is now complete. It is the largest capital improvement project in the city’s history and increases the footprint to 1.6 million square feet.
The new Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center unveiling, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2016, in San Antonio, Texas. (Darren Abate/VisitSanAntonio.com)
The center’s reopening activities included the the unveiling of “Liquid Crystal,” a public art installation by artist Jason Bruges that is located in its new lobby atrium. Its 3,510 LCD interactive panels create a digital fountain effect where the flow depends upon the amount of people and activity filling the atrium. It is one of three new art installations in the center, showcasing San Antonio’s diverse arts scene.
The center was built in 1968 when the Texas city hosted the World’s Fair. Since then it has undergone numerous additions and renovations throughout the years. The expansion integrates the convention center into the surrounding downtown area and neighbouring Hemisfair Park.
Built to the east, the new addition allows for the demolition of the original 1968 structure to the west. In place of the original structure will be an expansion of neighboring Hemisfair Park, providing enhanced opportunities for outdoor events.
The expanded center is set on the River Walk in historic downtown, placing attendees within walking distance of historic sites including the Alamo, local restaurants, museums, theaters, shops and thousands of hotel rooms. Walls of windows bring in downtown views including the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas.
The transformed center now has:
♦ 6-million-square-foot footprint
♦ 514,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space
♦ 86,500 square feet of column-free multi-purpose space
♦ 70 meeting spaces including divisible breakout rooms
♦ 54,000-square-foot Stars at Night Ballroom
♦ Enhanced circulation, way finding and accessibility of spaces
♦ Innovative design, flexible spaces and advanced technology
♦ Eco-friendly design using energy reduction measures
♦ Public art installations that exude the history and culture of San Antonio
♦ Upcoming expansion of neighboring Hemisfair Park
“We are so excited to welcome everyone to San Antonio with the beautifully transformed Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center,” said Casandra Matej, executive director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau. “This transformation has been truly phenomenal. Throughout the design process, we made sure to incorporate client feedback to supersede meeting needs for the next generation. The center’s architecture is indicative of San Antonio’s personality with a gorgeous limestone exterior, enhanced by public art installations. The layout is flexible and easy to navigate, all while placing attendees in the heart of one of the nation’s top travel destinations. It’s an absolute gem and we’re very excited that this allows us to grow with our meetings.”