|By Greg Turner, Boston
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
March 20, 2012--The hotel headed for the sprawling Seaport Square project will offer 135 luxury rooms overlooking the Fort Point Channel, a pedestrian plaza linking the Boston Harborwalk and a publicly accessible rooftop terrace with commanding views of the downtown skyline.
In a filing with state environmental regulators, developer Norwich Partners detailed its $50 million plan for a "premiere facility of public accommodation" located, fittingly, on Sleeper Street next to the Barking Crab restaurant.
The six-story boutique hotel's first floor will include a restaurant or cafe with outdoor seating, a public lobby where visitors can wait for a water taxi, and a 1,200-square-foot civic space that could become the new home of the Fort Point Arts Community.
Norwich Partners indicated it has offered to dedicate the space, through a lease agreement, to the nonprofit artists group for its offices, gallery and "Made in Fort Point" store.
The developer, which could not be reached for comment, expects to start construction late this year and finish the hotel in the summer of 2014.
"The project represents a long-awaited opportunity to revitalize a significant gateway site within the South Boston waterfront area," the developer said in its filing with MassDEP.
Norwich acquired the site, known as Parcel A, from Seaport Square developers John Hynes and Morgan Stanley for nearly $9 million in December.
The Barking Crab -- which in 2008 rejected Hynes' push to relocate the seafood restaurant to a planned building nearby -- has been coordinating with Norwich on the hotel plan.
Old Sleeper Street, now the Barking Crab's parking area, would become a pedestrian plaza connecting the Harborwalk. The eatery would share loading and waste facilities with the hotel.
Robert Webb, the Barking Crab's director of operations, said in a statement that the hotel and other Seaport Square projects "will bring new energy and excitement to the historic Fort Point Channel."
While its design and name are still being finalized, the hotel is on track to join Marriott's luxury "Autograph Collection." The plans call it the "Boston Waterfront Autograph Hotel."
(c)2012 the Boston Herald
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