Convention Center Authority approves plan to sell Hynes, expand BCEC

Convention Center Authority approves plan to sell Hynes, expand BCEC

BOSTON — The Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) is one step closer to expanding as Governor Baker's plan to sell the Hynes Convention Center was approved.

On Thursday, the Convention Center Authority approved the plan to sell the Hynes Convention Center in the Back Bay and expand the BCEC in the Seaport.

"Conventioneers want an experience and have their own little village within Boston for the three to four days of their prime time," said Dave Gibbons, the Executive Director for the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority.

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Under the new expansion plans, the new facility would be able to operate as two convention centers under one roof.

Currently, there are 18 acres available for use. The expansion, which would use six acres for the project, would come off the back of the existing building and the state would give back 12 acres to the city.

Now, all eyes are at the Hynes Convention Center building, one of the most desirable real estate opportunities to come up in the heart of the city in recent years. It is still unclear what will take the convention center's place.

"That parcel is probably the most exciting parcel to come on the market in the whole country in a decade," said Gibbons.

Cindy Brown, CEO of the Boston Duck Tours and member of the Convention Center Authority board, says she abstained from the vote because her company has a lot at stake if the Hynes space is removed from the Back Bay.

"Visitors come in and often before a convention, stay at hotels, take a duck tour, eat at the restaurants, shop at the malls so there is a lot of economic impact," said Brown.

While Brown says her company has been looking to expand to the Seaport, she says they're still holding off on making any solid plans until the bulk of the construction dies down and traffic flows more.

"Seaport has kind have been on our radar square, but we are waiting for the traffic and construction to die down before it was feasible for us," said Brown.

The next step lies in the hands of the state legislature that has to sign off on both the expansion and the sale of the Hynes Convention Center.