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BOSTON-The board of the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority has approved a new marketing plan for the embattled $800-million Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, where a lack of development in the Seaport area is taking the rap for a dearth of bookings at the facility.

The plan will bring together the marketing people at the MCCA and the marketing people at the Greater Boston Convention & Visitor’s Bureau under one roof and add an executive to oversee the operation. The move is significant because it was recommended by a committee at the MCCA that was assembled in response to the lack of bookings for the center. Pat Moscaritolo, executive director of the Bureau tells GlobeSt.com that the newly formed marketing team will focus on the Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention center, located in the Back Bay and the new convention center simultaneously.

Moscaritolo says that the new center now has 11 definite bookings through 2012 and eight tentative bookings, figures that he acknowledges are less than was anticipated when the state legislature approved the $800 million center in 1997. Moscaritolo lays the blame for the low numbers on the fact that the headquarters hotel, the 1,120-room hotel that is supposed to be built adjacent to the convention center, is nowhere near ready to start construction. The hotel will be developed by Starwood Resorts & Hotels Worldwide but financing has yet to be nailed down for the project.

“Customers are saying they want a headquarters hotel down there,” notes Moscaritolo. He points out that the eight tentative clients as well as 80 other interested clients are saying that in order for them to move forward on a deal, they need to see that the hotel has been financed and that construction is starting.

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