by Ann Shepphird | April 05, 2016

The city of San Antonio recently held a grand reopening celebration for its newly transformed Henry B. Gonzales Convention Center. Guests included local politicians, those involved in the design and construction of the project, plus a number of meeting planners and other travel industry leaders. Roger Dow, president of the U.S. Travel Association, called the new space a “game changer” for the city and said his organization looks forward to holding its IPW event at the center in 2023. Also on hand was Scott Craighead, vice-president of exhibitions and events for IAEE, which will hold its Expo! Expo! this December.

The $325 million transformation of the convention center expanded the space to 1.6 million square feet, including a new 54,000-square-foot ballroom that currently stands as the biggest in the state of Texas (a state that does love all things large). Also included was a new pedestrian walkway to the Alamodome, which is scheduled to host the 2018 NCAA Final Four men’s basketball tournament.

The area that held the oldest part of the convention center is being added to the Hemisfair Park redevelopment project, which is expected to include 37 acres of urban park, retail and residences on the site of the 1968 World’s Fair.

Additional new offerings in San Antonio include the Hotel Emma, which opened last November in a 119-year-old former brew house that sits along the River Walk expansion in the Pearl District. Also opening last November was the historic St. Anthony, which reopened as part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection following a redesign.

Up in the nearby Hill Country, the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa opened the River Bend Pavilion and event lawn last month, and the La Cantera Hill Country Resort will complete an extensive renovation with the opening of its Loma de Vida spa later this spring.