Last week, the Massachusetts House of Representatives passed a bill approving a $1.1 billion expansion of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC) in South Boston.
The bill, co-sponsored by Rep. Nick Collins and Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, approves a 1.3 billion square-foot expansion of the BCEC to meet current market demands.
The resulting expansion will increase the BCEC’s economic impact by 35 percent to $716 million per year and increase revenue to $41 million per year. In terms of job growth, the expansion will also create 4,700 construction jobs and 2,100 permanent hospitality jobs.
“I am excited about the many long-lasting benefits this expansion will bring to Massachusetts and the City of Boston,” said Rep. Collins. “This expansion will give Boston the competitive advantage it needs to attract repeat and new conventions and it will ensure that we remain one of the most important economic centers in the Northeast.”
Equally important, the BCEC expansion will not levy any new taxes or fees on the residents of Massachusetts. In addition, the expansion will not utilize the general fund thereby ensuring construction for the expansion will not draw on funds for critical public works projects. By bonding against the existing Convention Center Fund, the legislation ensures that residents will experience only the benefits of the BCEC expansion without having to bear the costs of construction.
Rep. Collins stated that he was particularly happy to work with Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and MCCA Executive Director James Rooney on elements of the bill that include a supplier diversity program for veteran-owned, women-owned and minority-owned businesses; a job training program building pathways to employment in the skilled trades; and language for a Project-Labor Agreement (PLA) that guarantees those who work on the expansion project will earn a prevailing wage.
“Simply put, the expansion of the BCEC will create thousands of good jobs for the short term and for the long term. I’m thrilled that it passed the House with overwhelming support,” said Rep. Collins.
The bill was supported by Massachusetts Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo, Senate President Therese Murray, Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Martin Walsh.
The bill now moves to the Massachusetts Senate for consideration.