Cost Concerns Rise Over Convention Expansion Plans

Massachusetts Convention Center Authority executive director Jim Rooney discusses plans to accommodate larger conventions in the city

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick recently signed legislation that paves the way for a $1 billion expansion for the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. How will it affect the economy and why is it necessary? That is what Jim Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, discussed with Mike Nikitas and Paul Guzzi.

It all boils down to supply and demand. According to Rooney, the BCEC has maximized its ability to host major conventions. In fact, he said a number of conventions had to be turned away.

The benefits of expanding the BCEC would be two-fold, Rooney said. Not only would the facility be able to accommodate larger conventions, but it would also be able to hold multiple conventions at the same time.

Some critics have asserted there are not enough hotels in the city to accommodate expansion of the BCEC. Rooney agreed, noting there would be years where area hotels could experience 80 percent occupancy. That being said, Rooney said the city needs more hotel rooms for purposes beyond conventions.

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