Hotel developers and The Boston Redevelopment Authority met last Friday to discuss plans to build two new hotels on the former Teradyne Inc. parking lot off Albany St. in Boston’s South End. The backers, Normandy Real Estate and Blue Hawk Investments LLC, plan to build two hotels, one a high-rise luxury hotel, and the other a low-rise extended-stay facility. The hotels have been designed by Boston’s own ADD Inc. and in compliance with city ordinance, the extended-stay facility will be built in an L-shape so that the two hotels can share the same back-of-house facilities like the kitchen, laundry rooms, and administrative offices, giving the hotels the environmentally friendly LEED certification (which ADD thinks they can boost to a Silver LEED, an even higher “green” designation.) The planned luxury high-rise will have 16 floors reaching 185 ft., while the extended-stay facility will have 9 floors reaching 115 ft., however both hotels are expected to have 200 rooms. A three story parking garage will be hidden from sight between the two hotels, as well as a section of green roof and a glass-enclosed pool for guest recreation.
The hotels will lie on the edge of Boston’s historic South End in between Harrison and East Berkeley St, and will also be bordered by the I-93 overpass near the famous Wyland whale mural. This puts the hotels on the Silver Line and in close proximity to the Massachusetts Convention Center, where planners say there is a lack of hotels close enough to the convention center aside from the center’s own facilities. Residents in the area also voiced concerns that there isn’t enough hotel space in the South End for their own visitors. The hotels, which will indeed be seperate, hope to bring in a diverse market of guests by marketing the luxury high-rise to downtown Boston’s business-class and the extended-stay low-rise to tourists. Likewise, the hotels will be within walking distance to the South End’s famous restaurants, a huge tourist attraction, but designers also hope to develop the street life immediately around the hotel by planting trees, building large sidewalks, and encasing their lobby in glass, in what the developers call a “voyeuristic window.”
The construction costs are estimated at $115 million and developers hope to begin construction by 2012, but the development will only move forward if Blue Hawk and Normandy can prove that they have the necessary funds. It seems as if this project is likely to succeed by marketing to a diverse yet distinct target market as well as pleasing Bostonians with an aesthetically satisfying development, thus filling a much-needed gap in the South End’s highly competitive market.