A Chicago developer is planning to build a 240-room hotel in Boston’s Downtown Crossing, one of several projects on the drawing board that will help revitalize the timeworn shopping district.
Oxford Capital Group plans to build the hotel on Temple Place, one of the small side streets in the so-called Ladder District that has attracted a rush of redevelopment proposals in recent months. The company purchased 59 Temple Place for $23.3 million earlier this summer after a bidding war with more than 100 would-be buyers and now intends to renovate the existing 11-story building.
City officials outlined Oxford’s hotel plan on Tuesday. It would be the first new hotel in Downtown Crossing in several years and would come as a number of stores and restaurants have opened in the area over the past few years, helping to change the atmosphere in the long-struggling commercial district.
“We’re big believers in Boston and in the continued transformation of Downtown Crossing,” said John Rutledge, chief executive of Oxford Capital, a real estate firm that specializes in rehabilitating historic properties. “We feel the momentum is really beginning to build in the neighborhood.”
Oxford made a splash in Chicago with the 2009 opening of the Hotel Felix, a 225-room boutique property with a restaurant, sleek lobby bar, and spa. It has also redeveloped several other properties in Chicago and has invested in an array of properties in markets from Washington, D.C., to New York to San Francisco.
The building at 59 Temple Place currently contains offices and several retail stores. Rutledge said Oxford plans to meet with tenants in coming weeks and will soon file formal plans with the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
Since 2010, three restaurants have opened on Temple Place, including jm Curley, a pub named after Boston’s famous mayor; and more than 60 apartments have replaced offices on the upper floors along the street. Nearby, 60 Temple Place sold for $10.2 million.
The hotel project is situated among several large-scale developments that promise to remake large swaths of the district. Millennium Partners is proposing a 600-foot apartment and retail tower at the former Filene’s property and a condominium building across from the Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Residences. And Kensington Investment Co. is constructing a 27-story apartment building at the corner of LaGrange and Washington streets.
The city is also spending $13.2 million in the area to install LED street signs, add new lighting, and repave streets and sidewalks, among other upgrades. Downtown Crossing has also been aided by the creation of a so-called Business Improvement District in which commercial property owners have agreed to pay a fee for stepped up maintenance and other services.
“There is excitement on every block in Downtown Crossing,” said Mayor Thomas M. Menino. “It is great to welcome Chicago-based Oxford Capital Group to the mix. The top-notch hotel that they have planned will further this neighborhood’s remarkable energy and growth.”