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Governor Patrick Signs Legislation Allowing For Expansion Of Boston Convention & Exhibition Center

The New Law Authorizes 1.3 Million-Sq. Ft. Expansion Funded With No New Fees or Taxes 

Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick signed legislation recently that authorizes the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) to move forward with an expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) in the South Boston Waterfront that will allow Boston and Massachusetts to increase their market share in the $280 billion U.S. meeting and convention industry.

The new law authorizes a 1.3 million-sq. ft. expansion of the BCEC, including substantial 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 while creating and sustaining thousands of 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 legislation was co-sponsored by State Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and State Representative Nick Collins.

"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," said Governor Patrick. "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."

"The BCEC has played an important role in shaping the growing and vibrant South Boston Waterfront," Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said. "Expansion will create thousands of new jobs, continue to spur development in this thriving neighborhood and will generate the kind of activity that supports our city's innovative spirit."

"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 Michelle A. Shell, chair of the MCCA Board of Directors. "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."

"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 MCCA.  "I want to thank Governor Patrick for his confidence in our plan to make Massachusetts more competitive in the meetings and convention industry.  I also want thank Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and the Legislature for their guidance and leadership. We owe special thanks to Senator Linda Dorcena Forry and Representative Nick Collins who share our vision for making the BCEC even more competitive while bringing new vitality to the South Boston Waterfront."

The BCEC expansion is part of the MCCA's Top 5 campaign, which was announced in 2009 and seeks to 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 expansion will allow the BCEC to host overlapping, multiple and larger-scale events. 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.

The Top 5 campaign also calls for an increase in the number of hotel rooms near the BCEC. Two new mid-priced hotels - Starwood brands, Aloft and Element - are currently under construction by local developer CV Properties on D Street across from the BCEC. In addition, Massport and the MCCA have teamed to develop a 1,000+-room headquarters hotel on Massport-owned land on Summer Street. A Request for Qualifications to select a developer for the headquarters hotel was released in April 2014, and submissions are currently under review. A developer is expected to be selected by the end of 2014.  Funding for the headquarters hotel was not included in the BCEC expansion legislation.

In total, the BCEC expansion, the mid-priced hotels and the headquarters hotel projects are expected to create 4,700 construction jobs and 2,100 permanent jobs while generating $716 million in annual economic impact and $41 million in tax benefits for Boston and the Commonwealth.

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