Hunt-Zachry Joint Venture

The Hunt-Zachry Joint Venture team is in the midst of expanding and modernizing San Antonio’s Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center to meet the market’s current and future needs. 

“I am looking forward to the Hunt-Zachry Joint Venture’s innovative design that will make our convention center a unique and inviting destination for guests from across Texas, the country and the world,” Mayor Julian Castro said to the San Antonio Convention & Visitors Bureau (SACVB). 

Dallas-based Hunt Construction Group and Zachry Corp. of San Antonio were awarded the design/build contract in September 2012 to construct the $325 million expansion project. The Hunt-Zachry Joint Venture team also includes Populous Inc., an architectural firm based in Kansas City, Mo., and Marmon Mok Architects of San Antonio. The team brings more than 238 years of experience in design and construction to the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center expansion project, according to SACVB.

Hunt Construction Group was founded in 1944 in Indianapolis and offers an array of services from design/build to building information modeling. “Choosing Hunt guarantees that your project will turn out the way it was envisioned, regardless of size or scope,” the company states. “We spend the time, utilize the talent and maximize every tool at our disposal to continually innovate and improve how we deliver your next landmark project.” 

Zachry brings more than 80 years of experience in construction and material procurement to the expansion project. The company began in 1924 when it secured a $40,000 contract from the Texas Highway Department to construct four concrete-reinforced bridges in Laredo, Texas. To date, Zachry has completed more than 5,500 public- and private-sector projects across the country and around the world, the company notes. 

Unified Design

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center expansion will create uniform quality throughout the facility, contiguous exhibit halls and more uniform meeting space. The completion of the project will bring San Antonio’s prime contiguous exhibit space up from the 22nd largest into the top-10 among comparable cities nationally, the SACVB said in a press release. 

“Our city leadership supports the hospitality industry and understands that strong infrastructure, along with San Antonio’s distinct visitor experience, are what make us one of the top convention destinations in the nation,” SACVB Executive Director Casandra Matej said in a press release. “This project will allow us to offer convention clients a flexible, state-of-the-art facility built to meet their needs.”

Hunt-Zachry Joint Venture’s expansion project includes the construction of about 280,000 square feet of new exhibit space, the development of a new well-defined entrance, expansion and renovation of foodservice facilities and improvements to circulation and traffic flow. A 55,000-square-foot ballroom will be built in the convention center and will be the largest in Texas, the SACVB notes. 

The expansion calls for about 835,000 square feet of new construction and about 78,000 square feet of renovation. An original wing of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center built in 1968 for the world’s fair will be demolished in 2016 after the expansion and renovations are completed. The convention center remains operational during construction with no disruptions to events, customers, staff or the community, the SACVB said. 

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is the single-largest project in the city’s history, Director of Capital Improvements and Management Services Mike Frisbie said in a 2012 news report. 

“Its completion in 2016 will only enhance San Antonio’s already strong economy and provide benefits to all groups meeting in San Antonio – no matter the size,” Matej said in a press release. 

Convention Craze

The Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center is nestled in the heart of downtown San Antonio along the banks of the historic River Walk. It hosts more than 300 events annually with more than 750,000 convention delegates from around the world. 

The convention center’s mission is to “Provide our users customer-focused services driven by quality and value, in well-maintained state-of-the-art facilities, supported by an environment dedicated to the personal and professional growth of employees.” 

Built as part of the 1968 HemisFair, the convention center has been expanded three times and encompasses 1.3 million square feet. Prior to the Hunt-Zachry Joint Venture expansion project, the facility included 67 meeting rooms, 4 exhibit halls, three ballrooms, a full-service UPS business center, 36 loading docks – 24 of them covered, WiFi connectivity and compressed air, electricity, water and drainage available in the exhibit halls. 

A 2,307-seat performing arts theatre, the Lila Cockrell Theatre, is also located in the complex. The Alamodome and more than 13,000 of San Antonio’s hotels rooms are located within walking distance to the convention center, as well as restaurants and entertainment. 

“Once this convention center expansion is complete, it’s going to make San Antonio even more competitive in terms of hosting the most lucrative conventions and being able to host more than one significant convention at a time,” Castro told the San Antonio Express-News. 

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