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The Developer of the W Hotel & Residences
 in Boston Files for Bankruptcy

By Greg Turner, Boston HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

April 29, 2010 -- The developer of the W Hotel & Residences in Boston filed for bankruptcy today.

SW Boston Hotel Venture LLC’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection lists liabilities of between $100 million and $500 million. The company, owned by Boston-based Sawyer Enterprises, said the move was made to buy time to rework its debt.

“Sawyer Enterprises’ goal is to restructure its existing debt and pay its creditors in full, and to continue to operate this project for the long-term,” the company said in a statement. “Chapter 11 provides the breathing room to do so.”

The 28-story W Hotel, featuring 235 rooms, opened in October but the developer has had difficulty selling the luxury condominium units. The 100 Stuart St. property has 123 condos above the hotel. Recent sales range in price from $350,000 for a studio to $1.9 million for a three-bedroom condo.

The developer said in its statement that 30 percent of the condos, or about 37 units in the W Boston Residences, have been sold or are under agreement.

The city of Boston gave the SW Boston Hotel Venture a $10.5 million loan last July to help the developer complete construction of the $243 million project.

Sawyer Enterprises said it will remain in charge of all operations and that the planned June opening of the Bliss Spa is still expected.

“This (bankruptcy filing) will have no impact on the operation of the W Hotel or the employees of the W hotel, which has been close to full occupancy in April, or affect the ongoing condominium sales,” the company said.

SW Boston Hotel’s largest creditor is Bovis Lend Lease, a construction management firm that is owed nearly $700,000, according to the bankruptcy filing.

Otis & Ahearn, the Boston brokerage firm that’s been selling the W Boston Residences, is owed more than $41,000, court records show.

W Hotel is a luxury lodging brand created by White Plains, N.Y.-based Starwood Hotels & Resorts. There are two dozen W hotels worldwide.

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Copyright (c) 2010, Boston Herald

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