by Sarah J.F. Braley | July 30, 2014
Tuesday, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed legislation that authorizes $1.1 billion the expansion of the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center in the South Boston Waterfront. The Massachusetts Senate approved measure last week; it passed the state's House of Representatives in May. Work on the 1.3 million-square-foot expansion could begin within the next 18 months. New exhibit and meeting space will be added, as well as a second, larger ballroom. The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority says some funding for the work would come from the existing convention center fund, which was created in 1997 to pay for the construction and operations of the BCEC. The fund's revenues consist of existing tourism-based fees and taxes, none of which would need to be increased to fund the expansion project, which would increase the size of the facility by 60 percent. “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 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.”