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January 25, 2016

Exclusive first look: San Antonio's Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center $325 million expansion

It is the city's largest capital improvements project and part of a push to revitalize downtown, the newly expanded and digitally updated Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center will be revealed Tuesday.

The $325 million renovation rewired the facility for multi-gigabyte speed and redesigned it to attract bigger and more lucrative meetings.

It increases the center’s exhibit space by more than 20 percent to 514,000 square feet and allows it to host big-league events it couldn’t handle before, officials say.

In addition to boasting Texas’ largest ballroom, it has a new, sleek three-story atrium for the main entrance and modern high-tech touches throughout.

City officials consider the expansion a linchpin in their redevelopment plans downtown, which include improvements to the adjacent Hemisfair Park, the Alamodome and Alamo Plaza. The convention center renovations were projected in a 2012 study to boost economic activity by about $50 million a year.

“It means incredible opportunities for us to be able to accommodate larger and more varied convention events,” Mayor Ivy Taylor said. “But also, it allows for us to continue the redevelopment of Hemisfair Park and Alamo Plaza.”

The expansion, which began construction in February 2014, will host its first convention Feb. 10, for the Texas Music Educators Association, officials said.

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