Boston Convention Center Expansion Put on Hold

Boston Convention Exhibition Center

The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced in late April that he was "pausing" the expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and replacing seven of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority's 13 board members. Legislation authorizing the $1.1 billion project was signed by former Gov. Deval Patrick in July 2014.

"I wasn't really surprised that a new governor with a background in financial management put the project on hold," said Pat Moscaritolo, president and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. "I was surprised by his wholesale changing out of the members of the MCCA's board of directors."

In a statement, the governor said, "We are pausing the expansion of the BCEC in order for the new members of the MCCA to conduct a thoughtful analysis and determine how these resources can best benefit our economy, job creation and the development of Boston's Seaport District."

One response from the Massachusetts Port Authority, according to the Boston Globe, is to reexamine the size of a proposed headquarters hotel that would serve the BCEC. Currently, the $800 million project calls for 1,200 rooms in one or two properties; the newspaper reported the proposal might be cut in half.

Even without the expansion of the BCEC, the city needs more hotel rooms for the facility, and Moscaritolo believes the project should go ahead as soon as possible.

"We have a chance to get it right this time," the bureau chief said. "Some governor down the road will green-light the BCEC project, and we will be so much better off if we already have those hotel rooms in place."