Boston’s once blighted downtown comes
right to mind as an urban revival success
story. On many visits here in the 1980s, I
experienced the rough edges first-hand.
Today, the redevelopment of former no-
go areas like the infamous Combat Zone
and Seaport District is a showcase of how
districts can be unrecognizable from one
generation to the next. While not to every-
body’s liking, gentrification has changed
famously hard-nosed neighborhoods like
South Boston, East Boston and Dorchester.
Along the way, Boston has evolved into a
serious business and convention destination.
“The extraordinary pace of development on the waterfront and in the Seaport
District has helped shape a new image of
Boston,” said Patrick Moscaritolo, president
and CEO of the Greater Boston CVB.
With some $23 billion in residential, commercial and hotel development since 2012,
the skyline keeps changing—along with
opportunities for planners and groups.
Current major projects include a new
two-tower, $550 million, 1,054-room
property from Omni Resorts and Hotels.
Offering 120,000 square feet of space,
the hotel is slated to open in 2021 across
from the Boston Convention an Exhibi-
tion Center. Boston has even attracted a
high-end Vegas-style resort, the $2.5 billion
Wynn Boston Harbor. In April 2018, owner
Wynn Resorts changed the name to Encore
Boston to create distance from former CEO
Steve Wynn and bolster efforts to keep its
Massachusetts gaming license
America’s youngest major city is another
case study in turnaround. My first visit here
was in 1987, investigating product counterfeiters as part of an early law job. Expecting
paradise, I found a city on the edge. That
same year, The New York Times asked, “Can
Miami Save Itself?”
From attention- getting cultural scenes to major new convention
centers, here are five
destinations where major
downtown investments are
significantly reshaping and
redefining the scene.
BY JEFF HEILMAN
Five cities blaze new development trails
SHERATON BOSTON HOTEL
MEMPHIS COOK CONVENTION CENTER
MEET LAS VEGAS PAVILION
MIAMI BEACH CONVENTION CENTER