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Hynes Convention Center: Here today, gone . . . soonish?

Governor Charlie Baker's bid to sell the Hynes Convention Center in Boston has generated debate over the future of the Back Bay site.Jonathan Wiggs/Globe Staff

Death of the Hynes would cap the neglect of a valuable resource

Re “Back Bay’s white elephant has got to go” (Editorial, April 22): The Hynes Convention Center has been allowed to deteriorate because, as the stepchild of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority, it has been denied the resources needed to successfully compete for convention business. The MCCA has directed conventions to the Seaport facility, for which it seeks justification and funding to expand.

Unlike the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center, the Hynes has superior transit connections, more than 5,000 class A hotel rooms within walking distance, and retail and cultural facilities that are a strong complement and attraction to the Hynes meeting facilities. The professional medical and scientific associations interested in coming to Boston are attracted to the Hynes and the Back Bay as opposed to the impersonal, gate-show facilities of the Seaport meeting complex.


The death of the Hynes would negatively affect the retail, cultural, and economic vitality of the Back Bay and undermine Boston’s attraction to the professional community. The city would have everything to lose and little to gain by allowing the Hynes Convention Center to close.

Larry Koff

Jamaica Plain

The writer is a former planner (1969-94) at the Boston Redevelopment Authority (now the Boston Planning & Development Agency), and was responsible for market studies that supported the decision to invest in Hynes expansion.

Call to replace building fails to appreciate its architectural value

Your numbers-driven editorial calling for the replacement of the Hynes Convention Center (“Back Bay’s white elephant has got to go”) suggests a sort of Yankee businessperson’s obsession with “getting and spending” and with maximizing the financial return on our public realm, with no evident appreciation of the need to consider the intangible value of Greater Boston’s architectural, urbanistic, and historical assets in such a deliberation.

Nowhere does your editorial mention that the Hynes is among the city’s great public buildings, designed by architects Kallmann McKinnell and Wood, who have been seen as late-20th-century heirs of Charles Bulfinch and H. H. Richardson in their innovative architecture throughout Greater Boston and in their nationwide influence. Nor is there acknowledgement of the admiration of the Hynes by architectural writers and conventioneers alike, or the fact that the Hynes received the Boston Society of Architects’ Harleston Parker Medal as “the most beautiful” building in Greater Boston, one of six such awards for KMW’s buildings, more than any other architect.


While we are accustomed to the current government of our Commonwealth ignoring the cultural value of our common wealth in favor of privatization and quick revenue, we expect the Globe to be more balanced in its assessment of plans for the future of our built environment, including recognizing the place of our area’s rich legacy of architectural and urban design.

Gary Wolf


The writer is a Boston-area architect and a fellow of the American Institute of Architects.

State and city had better have plan in place before throwing parcel up for grabs

Your editorial calling for the sale of the Hynes Convention Center puts forth a number of cogent arguments for the repurposing of this site but fails to present any ideas for how it might next be used and what will happen to the hotels, restaurants, and shops that currently serve the area, not to mention the impact of the sale on the people who live in the immediate area.

As Mayor Michelle Wu said, “this decision will have wide-ranging ripple effects. I think we need a very careful plan in place.” Wouldn’t common sense dictate that the city and state have a plan in effect before they simply throw the parcel up for grabs by the highest bidder?


Kathryn Ruth Bloom