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With no New Hotel Openings Since 2009, Gates are now Open
as Boston Readies for Many New Hotels

y Donna Goodison, Boston HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News

June 09, 2012--Following four years without financing, construction starts or even feasibility studies for hotels, the Hub's lodging industry finally has room to grow.

"It seems like the gates are open and people are rushing to get to the front of the line to build hotels," said Pat Moscaritolo, CEO of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.

After the 480-bed Hostelling International Boston debuts June 22 on Stuart Street near the Theatre District and the 12-room Chandler Studios Boston opens in August in the South End, a host of large hotels are on tap.

They include the 120-room, $32 million Marriott Residence Inn in the Seaport District slated to open next May and Boylston Properties' $60 million, 175-room Courtyard Marriott near Fenway Park targeted for a late 2013 opening.

In 2014, Norwich Partners' 135-room Seaport Square hotel and a 210-room Courtyard Marriott near the TD Garden are scheduled to come online.

"The hotel market continues to be incredibly strong in Boston," said Jeffrey Saunders, president of the Saunders Hotel Group, which is in the early stages of developing a hotel and residential tower in Back Bay near Copley Square. "Supply has been very slow growth and demand has been very strong."

The last Boston hotels to open were the 235-room W Boston and the 114-room Ames in the fall of 2009.

Boston and Cambridge hotels are slated to finish the year with an average occupancy rate of 79 percent and average daily room rate of $212 to $214, according to Moscaritolo.

"Boston is doing really well," said Jan Freitag, an executive at hotel industry research firm STR. But financing remains a tough sell, he said, given the industry's poor performance in 2008 and 2009 and economic uncertainties.

"It's tough-slash-impossible to find money for a ground-up construction deal," he said. "(But) there is an enormous amount of money on the sidelines ready to be deployed for existing hotels."


(c)2012 the Boston Herald

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