Lawmakers Repeal Ban on New Hotels Around Boston Convention Center
The Massachusetts Legislature has authorized the construction of as many as seven hotels with up to 2,700 rooms in the area surrounding the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, a necessary step in advancing a $2 billion expansion of the facility proposed by the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority. The action undoes legislation in place since 1997, which barred new hotel construction south of Summer Street, passed to protect the South Boston neighborhood. According to the senator representing the area, many residents are less wary of development now and expressed support for the expansion at public meetings this summer.
There are currently about 1,700 hotel rooms within a half mile of the convention center. Officials say the facility’s current size requires an additional 2,300 rooms, and the shortage is causing some events to choose other cities over Boston. The authority is pushing for the development of a new 1,200-room headquarters hotel and several smaller, mid-priced hotels, and it plans to spend $33 million of its budget on a nearby 5.5-acre lot to promote their development. The new legislation does not provide any additional public funding for either the expansion—which would double the size of the convention center—or to subsidize the headquarters hotel, which officials say is probably necessary. boston.com