HOUSTON, June 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- BBVA Chairman and CEO Francisco Gonzalez on Wednesday officially opened BBVA Compass Plaza, the first tower to go up in the Galleria area in 30 years. "When BBVA decided to come to the U.S., we knew there were opportunities to make our mark, and this new building is a very emphatic mark," Gonzalez said at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the tower with local business and political leaders. "It's a great example of our will to continue growing in the U.S. market." BBVA Compass is the U.S. unit of BBVA, a global financial services group operating in 32 countries. BBVA has been building its presence in the U.S. since 2005, and BBVA Compass now has 688 branches throughout its Sunbelt footprint. The more than 800 guests at Wednesday's grand opening ceremony were treated to performances by two quartets from the Houston Symphony Orchestra, which the bank sponsors, and an evening light display atop the tower. The new BBVA Compass offices at 2200 Post Oak Blvd. incorporate an open workspace design, replacing offices and cubicles to encourage collaboration. Bluetooth and Wi-Fi-enabled phones allow employees to work in a variety of settings — in informal collaboration areas or private rooms, for example. "The open environment embodies our core values of simplicity and transparency," said Manolo Sanchez, BBVA Compass CEO and president. "This is an innovative workplace where we value collaborative workspace more than wood-paneled offices." A total of 825 BBVA Compass employees will occupy 185,000 square feet on eight floors of the building, which includes a flagship bank branch and innovation lab. It also has an on-site fitness center, a cafeteria offering healthy food options and floor-to-ceiling windows. BBVA Compass Plaza, jointly developed by The Redstone Companies and Stream Realty Partners, received a LEED Gold certification, a global recognition of an environmentally friendly building made with sustainable materials. The 318,000-square-foot property was constructed with green materials, from recycled carpets to organic paints. Teleconferencing technology and a variety of meeting spaces also reduce the need for employees to travel, minimizing the bank's carbon footprint.