This isn’t how you would want two new neighbors to get along.
Of course, it doesn’t help that these neighbors are competitors: Fidelity Investments continues to wage a legal fight with the developers of a 1,055-room Omni hotel that’s going up about two blocks away from Fidelity’s Seaport Hotel.
The Omni developers want to use “Seaport” in their name. That doesn’t fly with Fidelity, which sued in May, on the eve of the Omni project’s high-profile groundbreaking. The name Omni Boston Seaport Hotel is too similar to Seaport Hotel and could create confusion in the convention and travel markets, Fidelity argues.
So the Omni folks countered with a new moniker, Omni Boston Hotel at the Seaport. With a 2021 opening planned, marketers have already begun pitching the hotel, using that name.
But the revised name still doesn’t satisfy Fidelity. The mutual fund giant responded in federal court in Boston last week that it’s too similar to its trademarked name, Seaport Hotel, particularly because the two hotels will chase similar markets.
Fidelity has suggested Omni Boston Seaport District as an alternative — akin to the nearby Aloft and Element hotels.
(The Westin and Renaissance hotels there use “Boston Waterfront” in their names.)
Developer Jonathan Davis said his group’s partners have made a good-faith effort.
“When we heard of Fidelity’s concerns, we sought to come up with a name that we believe would be responsive,” Davis said. “We’re disappointed that they’re not satisfied with what we’ve proposed.”
Fidelity was a pioneer on the South Boston Waterfront. Its hotel, offices, and convention space helped set the stage 20 years ago for the once-gritty area’s rebirth as the shiny Seaport District. Now, it has become one of the country’s hottest urban addresses, with big corporate names such as General Electric and Amazon staking spots there.
Fidelity executives are proud of its role in the revitalization, and the company essentially said as much in its lawsuit against the Omni developers.
“We continue to hope we can reach an agreement with Omni that’s amenable to both parties,” Fidelity spokesman Vincent Loporchio said.
But at the rate things are going, it may be a judge who decides who can use the Seaport name, and how.