Boston hopes to become a larger player on the meetings and conventions scene, announcing yesterday an initiative called T5, aimed at transforming the city over the next decade into one of the top five convention cities in North America.

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority describes T5 as a long-term strategic initiative that will roll out over the next 10 years. Key components of the initiative include:

  • Expansion of the five-year-old Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, which is now 516,000 square feet. A strategic development plan for the center, also released yesterday, recommends a fixed-seat auditorium and an additional ballroom as part of a future expansion.
  • New hotel rooms for the city, especially in the BCEC area. The T5 Web site notes that Boston’s Hynes Convention Center has 6,000 hotel rooms within a half mile, and the BCEC only has 1,700 nearby hotel rooms. That compares poorly with New York City, for example, which has 29,000 rooms within a half mile of its Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. The city is especially lacking in mid-priced accommodations, according to T5, and
  • Creation of the Convention Partnership, a 25-member group that will lead a public-comment period to build consensus around the direction of the T5 plans. James Rooney, executive director of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, and Paul Guzzi, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, will co-chair the Convention Partnership, which marks the first phase of the 10-year initiative, but other members have not yet been announced.

In addition to a larger convention center and more hotel rooms, the T5 plan calls for public transportation upgrades and improving Boston’s hospitality culture to help grow the city’s convention business.