11 express interest in Massport’s South Boston hotel project
Scaling back its once-ambitious plans for a new hotel in South Boston seems to be paying off for the Massachusetts Port Authority.
Massport received interest from eight new developers in recent weeks for a smaller hotel project on Summer Street. These are in addition to the three development teams that had been angling to build a much larger “headquarters hotel” on a two-acre property at the corner of D and Summer streets, across from the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, and are also interested in the smaller project.
The surge in interest suggests a smaller hotel, most likely in the 500-room range, is more financially feasible than the 1,200-room hotel Massport had initially wanted. That, in turn, could reduce the subsidies necessary to get something built.
“We’ve got major national players, many of whom know the Boston market,” said Thomas Glynn, Massport’s chief executive. “It’s what we were hoping for.”
The group includes notable local players in the Seaport area, such as The Drew Co. and Pembroke Real Estate, the Fidelity Investments affiliate.
Massport decided to pare back its hotel plans after Governor Charlie Baker put a $1 billion expansion of the convention center on hold last spring. There’s been no sign that Baker, who controls a majority of the convention center authority’s board, has changed his mind.
While a larger hotel remains an option if Baker changed his mind on the convention center, Glynn said Massport can’t wait for long. Formal proposals are due by the end of March, and Massport may pick a developer for the smaller hotel project by the end of June.
Massport officials are leaving the developers some flexibility in terms of the project size. The requirements include a minimum of 250 rooms and some street-level retail spaces, although options such as offices or apartments could be considered.
The original teams include: The Fallon Co. and Capstone Development LLC; New Boston Hospitality and Omni Hotels; and RIDA Development and Accordia Partners.
The new group of interested developers are: The Drew Co., Hyatt Hotels Corp., Norwich Partners, The Peebles Corp., Pembroke Real Estate, Pritzker Realty Group, Tishman Speyer Worldwide, and Waterford Hotel Group.