AT A TOTAL OF 1.7 MILLION square feet, the much-awaited Boston Convention and Exhibition Center is open for business, and it's targeting technology events as one of its main customer bases.

The facility, described as a building with “brains and beauty” by The Boston Globe's architecture critic Robert Campbell, is in South Boston, just eight minutes from Logan International Airport. It offers the ultimate in flexibility with seven entrances and drop-off points. The 40,020-square-foot ballroom is New England's largest. The 516,000-square-foot contiguous-space exhibit hall can be divided into five parts, with ceiling heights of up to 100 feet and 52 covered loading bays. In total, there are 82 meeting rooms.

The high-tech center allows cell phones to work in every spot and has the capability of holding an all-wireless meeting; utilities are served by floor boxes in the meeting rooms and exhibit hall.

The first of the new facility's 48 definite bookings was MacWorld, co-anchored by an event sponsored by SAP, in mid-July.

A 790-room Westin Hotel broke ground at the end of May, adjacent to the BCEC; it is scheduled to open in June 2006.