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Boutique hotel may rise in South Boston

Once-gritty west side is changing fast

A developer is proposing to build a 14-story boutique hotel off West Broadway in South Boston, on a corner once notoriously ridden by crime that now boasts expensive residences, swank restaurants, and a newly opened Starbucks.

The hotel, by Sun Condos LLC, an affiliate of Boston-based Pappas Enterprises Inc., would cap a real estate transformation as dramatic as any that has unfolded in the city. Twenty years ago, the block where Pappas proposes to build hosted the often violent Triple O’s bar, the hangout of convicted killer James “Whitey” Bulger.

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The proposed hotel would blend easily with hundreds of new homes and modern retailer shops that offer everything from sushi to spinning classes. A few blocks down West Broadway, a sign advertises the upcoming opening of Fromage, a French cheese and wine shop.

“The new buildings are wonderful,” said Maria Brown, a 49-year-old South Boston resident. “The neighborhood is getting overpopulated, but we get through it all right. I like all the upscale restaurants.”

Pappas Enterprises, which developed condominiums and stores at the Macallen and Court Square Press buildings nearby, wants to construct the 156-room hotel on parking lots across from the West Broadway bridge, near the entrance to Gillette Co. The $35 million hotel would include a restaurant, a separate cafe, and a rooftop pool and lounge.

“Hospitality seems like a great fit there,” principal Tim Pappas said, noting the project’s proximity to the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center and to Broadway Station on the MBTA’s Red Line. “We’re trying to provide a cool, price-focused alternative to the Back Bay.”

He said the rooms would be available for just over $200 a night, and the restaurant would be operated by a local company instead of a “cookie cutter” national chain.

The project needs approvals from the Boston Redevelopment Authority and other city agencies. A neighborhood meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at 50 West Broadway. Pappas said he hopes to start construction in April.

It would be the first hotel to open as part of a transformation of South Boston’s west side, where redevelopment is producing the kind of luxury homes that used to be exclusive to the neighborhood’s City Point section.

At 150 Dorchester Ave., another developer is proposing to expand the Allele residences with another 30 condos, and State Street Corp. is building a large office complex nearby.

In documents recently filed with the BRA, Pappas wrote that the hotel would feature close-up views of the Boston skyline and improve the street by adding retail.

“The tall, open entrance will be landscaped to create a pleasant environment for guests and an attractive feature for pedestrians in the neighborhood,” the documents stated, adding that a terrace would look out over the corner of West Broadway and Dorchester Avenue.

Bill Gleason, president of the West Broadway Neighborhood Association, said the project has “been very well received in terms of looks and aesthetics. It will be a beautiful addition to the block.”

Casey Ross can be reached at casey.ross@globe.com.
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