New Law Green-Lights Boston Convention Center Expansion

BCEC Exterior

Boston already has the unique distinction of having two convention centers. Now, one of them is about to get a lot bigger, according to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA), which reported Tuesday that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick has signed legislation authorizing expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) in South Boston.

"The passing of the BCEC expansion bill allows Boston to continue to attract hundreds of thousands of visitors each year, while generating even more economic return for the Commonwealth," Gov. Patrick said in a statement. "More major meetings and conventions in Boston allows Massachusetts to shine on a global scale and creates opportunities for business growth not just at the convention center, but statewide."

MCCA introduced its proposal to lawmakers last fall. Co-sponsored by State Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and State Rep. Nick Collins, the legislation approves a $1 billion, 1.3 million-square-foot expansion of the BCEC, including additions to the facility's meeting and exhibition space and a second, larger ballroom that would allow the venue to host multiple concurrent events. Funding for the project will come from an existing fund that's generated by tourism-based fees and taxes, none of which will be increased.

"After 10 successful years competing among the top U.S. convention centers, Boston has proven to the world that it is a premier meetings and conventions destination," said MCCA Board Chair Michelle Shell. "The passage of the BCEC expansion legislation will allow Boston to continue its role as a leader in the meetings industry for many years to come."

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