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The Massachusetts House and Senate have approved a compromise version of an expansion bill, moving the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center one step closer to receive a $1 billion upgrade.

Although the bill still must go through a final vote in both chambers and signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, the project could begin in the next 18 months. Supporters are hopeful the move will allow the convention center to gain back lost ground with international meetings and conventions that have recently chosen other cities to call home.

The total renovation would equal an additional 1.3-million-square-feet of additional meeting, exhibit and ballroom space. Opening in 1997 in South Boston, the convention center isn’t large enough and doesn’t have enough adjoining hotel rooms to attract many large-scale national and international meetings.

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