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November 14, 2013

Plan to Expand Boston Convention & Exhibition Center Unveiled [WITH VIDEO]

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center may soon feel some growing pains: A plan to expand the facility, currently estimated to cost approximately $1.1 billion, did not receive any opposition at a hearing at the State House yesterday, according to the Boston Herald

The expansion would more than double the amount of floor space to 850,000 square feet. The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority says the expansion will not require any new fees or taxes, and will be paid from the Convention Center Fund.

According to Boston.com, the bill relies on existing hospitality industry charges to finance the expansion and leverage private hotel development valued at $700 million. During his testimony, Rooney introduced a time-sensitive aspect to the legislation, saying plans call for capitalizing on the current low interest rate environment.

Beyond the convention center expansion, the Convention Center Authority is also looking to develop two hotels across the street from the BCEC, expand the Westin next door and develop a “headquarters hotel” above nearby Interstate 90. All those new hotel rooms will help feed the expansion’s monetary needs.

MCCA Executive Director James Rooney reportedly told the State Administration Committee that Boston has seen the largest growth in convention market share in the country since 2000. The convention center has already hosted high profile conventions such as gaming convention PAX East, which sold out more than five months before the show, the Herald notes. The ArchitectureBoston Expo will kick off next week, and is expected to attract 16,000 attendees. In January, it will host the PCMA Convening Leaders conference—Convene magazine Editor in Chief Michelle Russell spoke with PCMA President & CEO Deborah Sexton and Jim Rooney about the upcoming event.

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