Boston Convention & Exhibition Center Green Lit for 1.3 Million Square Foot Expansion

July 30, 2014

Built a decade ago, the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center just received a huge boost, with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signing off on a massive 1.3 million square foot expansion of the facility.

“The expansion and enhancement of the BCEC is an investment in our future that will allow Boston and Massachusetts to continue to grow its share of the meetings and conventions industry; an industry that contributes significantly to our economy by generating billions of dollars in economic impact, while creating and sustaining thousands of jobs,” said James E. Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which oversees the center.

He added, “I want to thank Gov. Patrick for his confidence in our plan to make Massachusetts more competitive in the meetings and convention industry. 

The expansion includes additions to the exhibit and meeting space and a second, larger ballroom that will allow the MCCA to attract larger events and host multiple, simultaneous events, which will significantly increase economic impact in the region, as well as create new jobs.

The expansion also includes a plan to create new public space that will contribute to the growing vitality of the South Boston Waterfront.

Funding for the $1 billion expansion will be supported by the existing Convention Center Fund, which was created in 1997 to pay for the construction and operations of the BCEC.

The Convention Center Fund revenues consist of existing tourism-based fees and taxes, none of which will need to be increased to fund the expansion project. 

The BCEC expansion is part of the MCCA’s Top 5 campaign, which was announced in 2009 and seeks move Boston from a top 10 meetings and conventions destination into the top five, allowing Massachusetts to increase its share of the $280 billion U.S. meetings industry. 

The MCCA has projected that with expansion the BCEC will host 15-20 more major events per year and generate an additional $184 million in economic impact annually.

Boston had six shows on the 2013 TSNN Top 250 Trade Show list, with the largest being the International Boston Seafood Show, ranked No. 118 with 185,780 net sq. ft.

There are also several hotel projects in the works near the BCEC, with two mid-sized hotels currently under construction and submissions for a developer for a 1,000-plus room headquarter hotel also being reviewed. 

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