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Convention center seeking two new hotels

The Massachusetts Convention Center Authority put out a request for proposals to develop two 400- to 500-room hotels near the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, the authority said Friday.

The privately financed mid-priced hotels would be built next to each other on D Street and share facilities such as kitchens and fitness rooms. The ground floor of each property would be designated retail or restaurant space available for lease.

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Construction is expected to begin by late 2013 and be completed by 2015.

The new hotels are among seven lodging facilities approved by the state Legislature to be built around the convention center. The legislation largely removed the prohibition on hotel construction south of Summer Street near the convention center, a restriction that was put in place in 1997 to ensure that new hotel development did not have an adverse effect on South Boston neighborhoods.

The Seaport District is in need of an additional 2,300 hotel rooms to meet current demand, according to James Rooney, executive director of the convention authority, and if the planned $2 billion expansion of the facility goes through, that need will grow to as many as 6,000 new rooms.

Two hotels are scheduled to open near the convention center by 2014: a 120-room Marriott Residence Inn under construction on Congress Street and a 135-room boutique hotel in Seaport Square.

Katie Johnston can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @ktkjohnston.
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