News for the Hospitality Executive
BOSTON—As early as April 2012, Boston will welcome its new Boston Hostel. Perhaps the most expensive hostel in the world, the $43 million project has been designed to earn LEED Silver certification. The new hostel’s location at 19 Stuart Street is at the intersection of Boston’s midtown cultural district, theater district, and Chinatown, close to the Boston Public Garden and adjacent to public transportation. Set in the renovated six-story, 60,000-square-foot Dill Building, the Boston Hostel will have 468 beds, a common area for guests, a self-serve kitchen, and another kitchen for group functions. The hostel is expected to attract 46,000 guests annually, 30,000 of whom will visit from outside the United States. They are expected to spend $16 million or more in the Boston area.
The hostel is being developed by the nonprofits Hostelling International USA and Hostelling International New England. The architectural firm handling the project is Boston-based Bergmeyer Associates, Inc. The hostel will replace one that is 100 percent occupied, lacks central air-conditioning, an elevator, and common spaces.
“We had been searching in Boston for a few years,” said Deborah Ruhe, executive director, Hostelling International New England. “Location is everything. It is at the intersection of three important neighborhoods and adjacent to two or three subway lines. It is very ideally located. We needed an affordable building. We are providing affordable accommodations. We are a not-for-profit organization so we could take advantage of tax credits. More than a third of the cost was covered by tax credits. There is a highly complex funding mechanism. There are 10 institutions involved. There was absolutely 100 percent community support. The neighborhood loves it. It will bring young travelers into this area.”
Energy Efficiency a Focus of Renovation
According to Bergmeyer Associates’ Mike Davis, the hostel will take advantage of the buildings’ large windows and historical design features. Interior lighting will be minimal with only task lighting in guestrooms. To ensure a high level of energy efficiency, new high-performance windows and a four-pipe heating and cooling system were installed. The brick structure has also been newly insulated. New elevators will generate electricity when braking.
“We are beating the energy code by 20 percent,” Davis says.
High-efficiency fixtures will help minimize water consumption in the guestrooms that will sell for about $40 to $50 a night. Preference was given to locally sourced and fabricated materials.
“We have huge timbers that will be reused as tabletops and in the stairs,” Davis says. “We have a dining room with chairs made from recycled materials. We have low-VOC everything.”
Davis said the building’s design made the project very complex. “There is a lot of plumbing,” he says. “It is a deep building with long, narrow rooms.” Color themes on each floor will reflect the primary colors of Boston’s subway system.
Lobby Encourages Guest/Public Interaction
The lobby of the hostel will be at street level. A coffee shop will be located in the lobby.
“[The hostel] an opportunity to raise the bar in the industry and attract the traveler interested in sustainable travel,” Davis said. “The intent was to make it progressive.”
As part of the hostel’s community outreach programs, Hostelling International New England recently announced today that two Boston youth groups, Boston Asian Yes and Teen Empowerment Dorchester, will participate in the Community Walls Project, a program aimed at encouraging youth in grades five to 12 to explore, discover, and artistically express life within their community. The groups work to create murals that depict their vision of their community. The final product will be featured in an art exhibit at the new Boston Hostel.
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This article first appeared on the Green Lodging News website. To sign up to receive the weekly Green Lodging News newsletter, go to www.greenlodgingnews.com. Glenn Hasek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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