If you’ve been anywhere near San Antonio for a large meeting, you’ve most likely been inside the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center. Originally built in 1968 for San Antonio’s hosting of the World’s Fair, the downtown convention center has long been one of Texas’ top meeting destinations.
When the transformed Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center was revealed in January 2016, the $325 million expansion marked the largest capital improvement project in San Antonio’s history and increased the footprint to 1.6 million square feet.
The convention center is set on the River Walk in historic downtown, placing attendees within walking distance to so much of what drives meeting attendance in San Antonio: historic sites including the Alamo, local restaurants, museums, theaters, shops and thousands of hotel rooms. Walls of windows offer views of downtown, including the 750-foot-tall Tower of the Americas.
The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center now has a 1.6 million-square-foot presence, with 514,000 square feet of contiguous exhibit space, 86,500 square feet of column-free multipurpose space and 70 meeting spaces that include divisible breakout rooms. In addition to the 54,000-square-foot Stars at Night Ballroom, the convention center’s expansion enhanced way-finding and accessibility, and included public art installations that offer a nod to the history and culture of San Antonio.
The opening festivities were celebrated with the unveiling of “Liquid Crystal,” a public art installation by artist Jason Bruges that is located in the center’s expansive new lobby atrium. The installation’s 3,510 LCD interactive panels create a digital fountain effect; 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 layout is flexible and easy to navigate, all while placing attendees in the heart of one of the nation’s top travel destinations,” says Casandra Matej, executive director of the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau. “It’s an absolute gem and we’re very excited that this allows us to grow with our meetings.”