Henry B. González Convention Center, Alamodome in line for multi-million upgrade

 Friday, May 26, 2023 


The city of San Antonio in south central Texas is close to a legislative win in Austin that would secure hundreds of millions of dollars to expand the Henry B. González Convention Center and renovate the Alamodome.

The city officials say the improvements are urgently needed if San Antonio is to holds its own in competing with other cities for conferences, trade shows, concerts, exhibition games and other events. The Alamodome is 30 years old and showing its age. The Convention Center on Market Street has less exhibit space than some rival venues.

As tourism dollars begin flowing again after COVID-19 devastated the industry, local leaders worry that the two downtown facilities aren’t cutting it with event planners.

They see Senate Bill 2220 as a way to pay for upgrades without burdening the city budget.

The measure would allow the city to take the state’s cut of sales taxes generated by any hotel within three miles of the Convention Center, an area called the “project financing zone.” The arrangement would last for 30 years. The taxes are collected on hotel rooms and retail and beverage sales.

Legislative analyst’s differ on what the city’s overall take would be; one estimate puts it at $222 million, another at $473.6 million.

The money could be spent on “qualified projects,” which the bill defines so as to make both the Convention Center and Alamodome eligible, along with any “arena, coliseum, stadium” or other facility used for professional or amateur sporting events. The legislation, written by State Sens. José Menéndez, D-San Antonio, and Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, is tailored to San Antonio. And it’s received little public attention.

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