San Antonio is undergoing a host of developments that are making the already meetings-friendly destination even friendlier. Most recently, the San Antonio International Airport opened a new $134 million terminal, which will be home to both Continental and American Airlines.
The San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau is conducting a search for a new executive director after Scott White left in December to become president and chief executive officer at the Palm Springs (Calif.) Convention and Visitors Authority. The CVB, which is run by the City of San Antonio, has hired the firm Searchwide to find a replacement for White, who had been at the bureau for four years. City officials hope to name White’s replacement in spring 2011, said Dee Dee Poteete, director of communications at the San Antonio CVB.
In 2010, two new hotels opened in the city, including the 1,002-room JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa. The hotel, which opened in January 2010, has more than 140,000 square feet of meeting space and boasts two TPC golf courses designed by Pete Dye and Greg Norman. In November, the 285-suite Embassy Suites San Antonio Riverwalk–Downtown opened on historic Houston Street, adding to the approximately 12,000 hotel rooms downtown. The property features 11,589 square feet of meeting space and has outdoor terraces that can be used for receptions or other gatherings.
In addition, the 632-room Hyatt Regency is undergoing a $30 million renovation. The first phase was completed in November and included updates to the façade, lobby, and restaurants. Phase two, scheduled for completion in July 2011, will see updates to the 48,000 square feet of meeting space.
Right next to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center sits the completely refurbished Lila Cockrell Theatre, which will open in January 2011. The 2,300-seat venue, named for a former San Antonio mayor, will host theater, ballet, and concerts. It will be also used for conventions as a venue for general sessions or events.
The city also welcomed the Culinary Institute of America, which opened its third campus in October. The campus is located at the new Pearl Brewery, a 20-acre urban village along the River Walk that will be a cultural and culinary gathering place with restaurants, residences, offices, event spaces, and CIA. The 30,000-square-foot CIA campus focuses on Latin American cuisines, taking advantage of San Antonio’s access to regional ingredients and Tex-Mex culture. Meeting space is available at CIA and classes at CIA can be arranged for small groups.
Finally, city officials are in the process of extending the famous River Walk more than 10 miles by 2013. The addition will be called the Mission Reach and it will extend south to five different historic Spanish missions. The trail will be a haven for hikers and bikers and will open up access to the historic missions. Phase I of the extension is scheduled to open in summer 2011. When it’s complete, the River Walk will run 15 miles, from the museums to the north, through downtown, to the missions to the south.