World Heritage Center
San Antonio breaks ground on World Heritage Center, the new gateway to the missions
In early December 2022, San Antonio's City Council approved an ordinance awarding a construction contract for the city's new World Heritage Center. Estimated to be completed in July 2024, the project will highlight the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park, the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Texas and a huge draw for San Antonio tourism every year.
Construction began with a groundbreaking on December 13, but plans for the project date as far back as 2016. According to a release, the design process began in December 2019 as a collaborative effort. In June 2020, a virtual World Heritage Open House announced the location for the World Heritage Center at 100 W. Houston St., adjacent to the Mission Marquee Plaza and Mission Branch Library and intended to complement the former Mission Drive-In footprint.
Over the last two years, a community input process has produced a unified, overarching goal for the center to provide a world-class facility that will serve as both a public orientation center and engaging exhibit space.
“I am ecstatic that we have reached this milestone to award a construction contract. The new World Heritage Center will serve as a gateway to the San Antonio Missions. A place for San Antonio residents and visitors to gather. It will provide educational opportunities and information on the history, art, and culture of the community around the missions," said District 3 Councilwoman Phyllis Viagran in a previous release. "The Center will also tell the stories of the people who lived in the area over time, from those that encountered the Spanish to those that lived and worked in the Missions to the present day.”
In addition to the World Heritage Center, the construction project will include updates to four of the city's five Spanish colonial missions: Mission San Antonio de Valero (the Alamo), Missions Concepcion, San Jose, San Juan, and Espada. Improvements will include enhancements to existing structures, expanded parking, outdoor activity space, trailway sidewalks, and much more.
For updates and more information on the World Heritage Center, head to SanAntonio.gov.