SBD/6/Facilities Venues

BOSTON'S MEGAPLEX PANEL LAUNCHES NATIOWIDE TOUR

     The MA Megaplex Commission began its three-day tour
yesterday with stops in Baltimore and Chicago.  In Chicago, the
group toured McCormick Place -- a convention center, funded by
tourist taxes, currently in the midst of a $987M addition that
will increase its size to 2.2 million square feet.  In Baltimore,
the Baltimore Center and Oriole Park at Camden Yards were toured.
The Baltimore Center is undergoing an expansion which will bring
it to 300,000 square-feet.  The difference, however, is that the
Baltimore buildings are in the "heart of downtown," whereas
McCormick in Chicago is located south of downtown.  The Boston
panel is trying to decide which situation would best suit the
city (Richard Kindleberger, BOSTON GLOBE, 4/6).  Panel member
Stephen Tocco said Baltimore "opened my eyes to how the
combination of sports and a convention center can together appeal
to a marketplace and take advantage of common infrastructure"
(Phil Primack, BOSTON HERALD, 4/6).
     FINAL FOUR IN BOSTON?  In today's BOSTON GLOBE, Mark
Blaudschun discusses the NCAA's inability to bring the Final Four
to the East due to a lack of facilities.  Blaudschun argues that
if Boston builds a megaplex, the city could handle a Final Four:
"While the NCAA will not award a Final Four until a building is
operating, there seems little doubt that Boston could get into
the mix very quickly, given the proper facilities" (BOSTON GLOBE,
4/6).
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