San Antonio unveiled the transformed Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on Tuesday, featuring a new 54,000-square-foot ballroom and approximately 260,000 sq. ft. of additional exhibit space.
The $325 million expansion increases the center’s footprint to 1.6 million sq. ft. The facility now offers 514,000 sq. ft. of contiguous exhibit space, 86,500 sq. ft. of column-free multipurpose space, 70 meeting spaces and the 54,000-square-foot Stars at Night Ballroom.
Others new features include enhanced access to areas throughout the building, innovative eco-friendly design, advanced technology and public art that exudes the history and culture of San Antonio.
Tuesday festivities included the unveiling of Liquid Crystal, a public art installation by artist Jason Burges that is located in the center’s expansive new lobby atrium. The piece’s 3,510 LCD interactive panels create a digital fountain effect where the flow depends upon the number of people inside the atrium.
The convention center, set on the Riverwalk, was built in 1968 when San Antonio hosted the World’s Fair. Several renovations and additions have taken place since then, but this new expansion is the largest capital improvement project in the city’s history. It aims to further solidify the convention center as a top destination for conferences and events while finding creative ways to integrate it into the surrounding downtown area and neighboring Hemisfair Park.
Plans call for Hemisfair Park to be expanded to provide enhanced opportunities for outdoor events. This will be made possible by the demolition of the original convention center structure at the site, and a new addition that has already been built on the west side of the conference center.