by Elise Schoening | September 18, 2019

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has proposed selling the Hynes Convention Center in Boston's Back Bay in order to fund an expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center in the Seaport district. The proposal would add 200,000 square feet to the BCEC, according to the Boston Globe. This includes a 100,000-square-foot exhibition hall, a 60,500-square-foot ballroom and 44,000 square feet of additional meeting rooms. 

The news comes four years after Baker suspended a previous, larger expansion plan for the BCEC. The previous plan, which had been approved by the legislature before Baker took office, would have added 1.3 million square feet to the facility and was expected to cost $1 billion. It was suspended indefinitely by Baker due to financing concerns, according to local radio station WBUR.

The new proposal is significantly smaller than the 2014 plan, but Baker said selling the Hynes to focus on and expand the BCEC will help condense the city's convention business into one central location that can accommodate multiday events. Proceeds from the sale of the Hynes would be used to fund the project, he said.

"Boston is a popular convention destination, and there has been market demand for larger, more flexible event space in recent years. This expansion will meet demand, unlock greater economic potential and support the creation of new jobs," said Baker. "Our plan will make Boston's convention space more efficient and maximize new economic opportunities in both the Seaport and the Back Bay, benefiting the city of Boston and the commonwealth."

Baker's administration said the Hynes would need about $200 million in maintenance upkeep over the next 10 years. The new plan, which suggests the space be redeveloped, will be presented in full to the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority board of directors on Thursday.