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Boston looks to improve its U.S. convention destination ranking with a proposed billion-dollar 1.3-million-square-foot expansion at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, according to Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA).

Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

Boston Convention and Exhibition Center

While overseeing its largest venue in Boston, MCCA officials realized they were losing millions due to not being able to compete nationally with the likes of Las Vegas, Chicago and Orlando. Existing space at Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC) was considered inefficient for some large-scale tradeshow organizers who then went straight to Boston’s competition.

So the Authority, along with like-minded Boston lawmakers, proposed expanding Boston Convention & Exhibition Center (BCEC), at a cost of a $1.1 billion, with hopes to become a top 5 U.S. convention destination. Their plans include increasing exhibit space to 400,000 square feet and meeting space to 125,000 square feet, among others. They also aim to build a large hotel.

Not everyone is in favor of MCCA’s proposal as it could mean the State of Boston not being able to pay off debt on the facility until 2060 and diverting money from other tourism-promotion activities. MCCA leaders answered that the expansion’s economic impact could bring $184 million along with a yearly tax surplus of $12 million.

Already a top convention destination, but not yet in the top five, Boston tied with Indianapolis, Philadelphia and San Diego by hosting six tradeshows in 2013, according to Trade Show News Network’s Top 250 Trade Show list.

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