Boston’s Taj hotel to get an overhaul, possibly with some of Mark Zuckerberg’s money
It looks like one of Boston’s most elegant hotels is going to get a thorough sprucing-up.
A San Francisco private equity firm is investing in the Taj Boston hotel and plans a “major capital improvement project” to renovate the classic but faded Arlington Street landmark, a spokeswoman for the hotel’s current owners said.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but records filed this week in Suffolk County indicate an arm of Iconiq Capital LLC — which manages money for Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, among other tech-industry titans — bought a $190 million interest in the hotel, and then took out a $160 million mortgage on it.
That money could fuel long-planned upgrades to the Taj, which was formerly Boston’s first Ritz-Carlton. A group of investors that included veteran developer Steve Karp bought the hotel for $125 million in 2016. That group will retain an ownership stake and work with Iconiq on “a comprehensive renovation of the guest rooms, public areas, and food and beverage outlets” at the 273-room hotel.
Karp’s New England Development and its partners — which include Woburn-based developer Eastern Real Estate, Boston investment firm Rockpoint Group and two other firms — have spent the last two years working with architects, engineers, and interior designers to reimagine the hotel, which commands the corner of Arlington and Newbury streets across from the Public Garden.
They’ve said little publicly about the project, or its timing, and a New England Development spokeswoman did not return messages late Wednesday. But Karp has said he hopes to make the hotel “the focal point of Boston’s cultural activities” and people familiar with the plans say it may upgrade the hotel’s retail presence on Newbury Street in a bid to enliven its lobby.
Iconiq also did not return messages seeking comment.
The investment comes as another five-star hotel gets ready to open across Back Bay. A Four Seasons is on track to start welcoming guest next year in the One Dalton tower now under construction. A wave of slightly-less-swanky properties are also opening across the city, aiming to capitalize on tight supply and near-record room rates.