SAN ANTONIO – The heart of downtown got a little bigger Tuesday after the official unveiling of the brand new Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
City leaders said Tuesday that the $325 million project is not only a big and beautiful building, it's going to change how downtown looks and operates.
Festivities for the new convention center kicked off with the unveiling of a public art installation called "Liquid Crystal."
The newly transformed convention center has a 1.6 million square-foot print and was constructed in 26 months.
And with its 54,000 square-foot ballroom, San Antonio City Manager Sheryl Sculley said it is now the largest ballroom in Texas.
Sculley said the new space will attract larger conventions to downtown, bringing in more money to San Antonio.
"People come here and stay in hotels, they eat in our restaurants, they shop in our retail stores," Sculley said. "So we're very excited to showcase San Antonio to the world."
"Ultimately, we are always trying to improve the downtown experience, not just for locals, but visitors alike," District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino said. "And I think it's really going to help us become a major, major destination."
Sculley said San Antonio already brings in more than 32 million visitors a year and that the convention center is the first in a series of many projects that will reshape downtown, including Hemisfair and Alamo Plaza.
The original Convention Center was built in 1968.