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Convention center expansion would build on progress

A view of the South Boston Waterfront in 2001, before the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center was built.
Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
A view of the South Boston Waterfront in 2001, before the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center was built.

In his June 4 photo essay (“For a vibrant waterfront, hold the big box,” Op-ed) Derrick Z. Jackson asserts that an expanded Boston Convention and Exhibition Center would prevent the opportunity to create a vibrant 24/7 district. A decade of history says that this is just not the case.

Since opening in 2004, the convention center has played a crucial role in the activity and buzz that are present in the South Boston Waterfront today. Convention activity has supported the opening of dozens of new restaurants in the district. Just ask Legal Sea Foods president Roger Berkowitz.

Today, the convention center has an opportunity to bring even more life to the South Boston Waterfront, not just for visitors, but for residents and workers in the district. The mixed-use development formula, which blends residential, commercial, retail, hotel, and museum space and a world-class convention center with white-collar employers in the same district as a working port, brings together a mix of people that creates a unique and growing vibrancy in a once-fallow district.

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Convention center expansion will generate a whole new wave of placemaking, starting with our plans for revitalizing D Street with an innovative public outdoor event space, and including a partnership with two new hotels that have plans for exciting retail and restaurant space.

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I’d like to add one more picture (above) to Jackson’s photo essay — an image of what the South Boston Waterfront District looked like before the convention center was built. It speaks a thousand words.

James E. Rooney

Executive director

Massachusetts Convention

Center Authority

Boston