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Google Earth Plug-in: Tower of Americas

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Tower of the Americas is a 228.6 meter (750 feet) high observation tower with a restaurant in San Antonio, Texas. Tower of the Americas, designed by San Antonio architect O'Neil Ford, was built as the theme structure of the 1968 World's Fair, HemisFair '68.

On August 9, 1966, the bid for construction of the tower was let to Lyda-Lott, a joint venture between two general contractors, Darragh & Lyda, Inc. of San Antonio and H. A. Lott, Inc. of Houston, Texas.

The tower was the tallest observation tower in the United States from 1968 to 1996, when the Las Vegas Stratosphere Tower was built.

The tower is located in the middle of HemisFair Park. The tower has an observation deck accessible by elevator for a fee. There is also a lounge and revolving restaurant at the top of the tower providing panoramic views of the city.

In 2004, Landry's Restaurants, Inc. won the bid for a 15-year lease from the City of San Antonio to manage and operate the property. Landry's undertook an extensive $8 million renovation of the restaurant, lounge and observation deck and added a 4-D film "ride" called "Skies Over Texas," that gives the history of Texas in a film format. Additionally, Landry's is spending another $4 million for ground level attractions at the site. This added 200% more space to the bottom portion of the structure, providing a cafe and gift shop. Renovations were completed in June 2006, and the tower re-opened for business on June 21.

Prior to Landry's, Frontier Enterprises (owner of San Antonio-based Jim's Restaurants) operated the Tower of the Americas' restaurant for more than three decades.

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