San Antonio city officials are moving forward with a $325 million expansion of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.

Under the plan, the newer part of the convention center, built a little more than a decade ago, will expand eastward to create more modern space and increase the amount of prime, contiguous exhibit space to over 500,000 square feet. Also, a 50,000 square foot ballroom will be added, the largest in Texas.

"San Antonio's city leadership understands the value and supports the meetings and convention industry and they're paving the way for future growth opportunity with this expansion," says Casandra Matej, executive director of the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau. "This expansion is going to open doors for us in terms of luring new business to San Antonio,” she adds. It will enable the destination to host larger and more concurrent conventions. Currently the center has 440,000 square feet of exhibit space and 192,000 square feet of meeting space.

City officials plan to issue requests for qualifications to potential design/build teams for the proposed convention center expansion in late June/early July. Bonds will be issued later this summer. Construction will begin in late 2013 and be completed in the summer of 2016. The HBGCC will remain in full operation throughout the duration of the expansion construction period.

The oldest portion of the convention center located on the west side of the complex will be demolished to pave the way for a new twelve-acre redevelopment of HemisFair Park. This new development will create a mixed-use urban park that will provide a great new amenity for convention visitors and locals to enjoy.