There will be a public hearing on the legislation to authorize the sale and expansion plans on Monday, January 27, 2020 from 01:00 PM-04:00 PM in State House Room A-1.
On September 16, 2019 the Baker Administration announced plans to close and sell the Hynes Convention Center and to use the proceeds from the sale to expand the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) in South Boston. The administration asserts that shifting all business to a single, larger facility will be a net positive for the convention business. The sale of the Hynes would potentially open up 5.8 acres in the heart of Back Bay for redevelopment.
The conversation about expanding the BCEC dates back several years. In 2014 the legislature voted to authorize the borrowing of $1 billion for expansion. In 2015, Governor Baker announced that his administration would not move ahead with that plan, suggesting that the idea of expansion needed more analysis. In March of 2018, the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) Board approved a contract with Populous Architects to conduct a master plan study of the BCEC. The outcome of that process, is the new 2019 BCEC improvement and expansion plan, which was presented to the board on September 16, 2019.
According to the presentation, the Hynes needs $25-30 million in systems upgrades over the next two years, and $200 million in other capital needs over the next 10. The Hynes was constructed in 1963, and substantially renovated in 1988. It operates roughly on par with similarly sized venues, it is actively used for events 44% of the time. The presentation argues that the two-venue arrangement is inefficient, and in recent years the Hynes has operated at a loss. The presentation states that the sale of the Hynes would provide capital for the expansion and improvement of the BCEC.
On October 21, 2019, legislation was filed in the House and the Senate to authorize the sale and expansion plan. The bills were referred to the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. A public hearing on these bills is scheduled for January 27, 2020.
In December, the MCCA announced that it had selected a broker, Colliers International, to market and sell the Hynes. There are 5.8 acres of land under the Hynes, which includes a significant amount of air rights development over the Massachusetts Turnpike.
- 2019 BCEC Expansion Project Report
- 2006 Report of the Hynes Convention Center & Boston Common Parking Garage Legislative Study Commission
- Presentation, MCCA Board of Directors Meeting, September 19, 2019
- Populous Architects Master Plan Process: Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
- MCCA Press Releases
- MCCA Board Meeting Resources