The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, which owns the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, bought 5.6 acres of vacant land next to the venue to develop two new hotels and parking facilities.

MCCA officials are planning to build two mid-priced hotels on the site containing a total of 400 to 500 rooms. Construction is slated to begin at the end of 2013, pending the necessary approvals, and the hotels would open in 2015. The parking areas will support the new hotels as well as the BCEC.

The $33 million investment will generate $2 million annually from hotel rent and parking fees. The hotels will generate another $5 million in taxes per year. The project is expected to create 370 construction jobs and 170 permanent jobs.

“This is a huge and very real step in our expansion plans, and one that sets the ball rolling,” says James Rooney, MCCA executive director. “This is allowing the MCCA to plan for its future, selectively acquiring available land near the BCEC, saving money in the long term, and allowing for better long‐term strategic planning, all for the benefit of the city and the Commonwealth.”

The BCEC has only 1,700 hotel rooms within walking distance. Encouraging more hotel development around the BCEC is the most important immediate step to ensure the continued growth and success of the facility, officials say.

Money for the land purchase will be drawn from the Convention Center Fund, which is supported by tourist‐related taxes and fees, primarily hotel occupancy taxes. 

Various options for development of the hotels are being considered, but they will likely be privately financed, owned, and operated. With this approach, the hotel development and operating teams will be selected through a competitive RFP process. Private investment to design and build the hotels is expected to be approximately $140 million.

The initiative is part of Boston’s T5 strategy, in which city leaders hope to expand the BCEC and the infrastructure around it to make it one of the top five convention destinations in the country.