State Senator Nick Collins and Rep. David Biele filed legislation on Friday, Oct. 18 to advance an expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) in South Boston.
The expansion is intended to consolidate the city’s major convention business in one dynamic location to ensure that Boston continues to be a major global event destination. The language also includes a marketing program that incentivizes participation of women, minorities, veterans, LGBT persons, and individuals with disabilities in all phases of the development.
The plan authorizes the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) to sell the Hynes property, with the proceeds of the sale set aside for the BCEC expansion project, as well as transfer an approximately 12-acre parcel of land located behind the current BCEC facility to the City of Boston. MCCA employees who currently work at the Hynes would have the option of transitioning to the expanded BCEC.
“The expansion of the BCEC could bring significant opportunities in terms of job creation and economic impact in a more diverse and inclusive way than ever before. But this is just the beginning of a community-driven process,” said Sen. Collins. “Anytime we consider a sale and transfer of state assets of this magnitude, there must be careful consideration of the public good. I look forward to a robust public debate on this proposal.”
The BCEC opened in 2004 and outperforms national occupancy figures for major market facilities. The plan for BCEC expansion has been optimized to serve the needs of the convention and tourism markets as they have evolved since the completion of the BCEC in 2004. The expanded BCEC, with a greater variety of available spaces, will be positioned to capture greater market share for large multi-day conventions and shows.
“This is the start of public conversations involving potential economic growth and job creation,” said Rep. Biele. “This proposal for future use of public land will go through a robust review process including legislative hearings and debate, as well as opportunities for public input at community meetings. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Legislature as well as residents and stakeholders on the future of the MCCA.”
The bill will now move through the committee process on Beacon Hill before being debated and voted on in each chamber. Once the legislation is enacted, the MCCA is expected to issue a Request for Proposals for the BCEC expansion project that would begin design of the expanded facility.