by Bryan Darrow | June 01, 2007

John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center


Revamp on tap for Hynes

The John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center in Boston will undergo an $18 million renovation this summer, according to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, the group that sells and operates the facility. The decision came in response to a December 2006 report by a special legislative commission that concluded the center was still a viable facility for meetings and conventions despite operating at an annual loss.

Work will include revamping the center’s appearance, technological infrastructure and security. In addition, several environmental improvements, such as more efficient lighting, air and water systems, will be implemented.

To shore up its revenue-generating potential, 30,000 square feet of empty corridors and office space in and around the center will be converted into new retail and restaurant outlets. James Rooney, executive director of the MCCA, believes that the introduction of retail space alone will generate as much as $1 million annually, thereby bringing the facility closer to its goal of turning a profit. The center, which opened in 1988, features approximately 175,000 square feet of exhibit space.

Though the upgrade to the Hynes Center comes on the heels of the Boston Conven-tion & Exhibition Center’s opening in 2004, Rooney said he does not foresee problems with an overcrowded field.

“There really isn’t any competition between the two since the MCCA owns, operates and markets both facilities,” said Rooney. “For small or midsize events, where attendees might get lost in the BCEC, the upgraded Hynes Center will offer a nice fit.”

Rooney also was quick to point out that the Hynes Center had its best year in terms of revenue in 2005, taking in more than $10 million during the BCEC’s first full year in existence.

In response to the announced upgrade, the three hotels connected to the Hynes Center have expressed an intention to implement new services, to be spelled out later this summer. Collectively known as the Boston Convention Complex, the properties -- the Boston Marriott Copley Place, the Sheraton Boston and the Westin Copley Place Boston -- offer a total of more than 3,200 guest rooms and nearly 320,000 square feet of recently renovated meeting and exhibition space.