The developers for the Hotel Alexandra said their due-diligence period for purchasing the dilapidated, but once stately, building on Washington Street has expired and they expect to file their hotel re-development project with the City this month.
The group has been presenting to neighborhood groups all across the South End over the last two months, including the South End Forum, the Chester Square Neighbors, the Worcester Square Area Neighborhood Association and, this past Tuesday, to the Blackstone/Franklin Neighborhood Association.
Attorney Marc Lacasse, representing JB Ventures and TCR, said the development group has skin in the game and is ready to move on the project.
“Many projects have failed here, but we think this one is the one that will find success,” he said. “We expect to fit it with the City this month…We have gone to several associations to get feedback and input. The appetite for developing and restoring this building is enormous and it’s fair to say our reception at every community group has been quite good.”
Jas Bhogal of JB Ventures said they are looking for community support, and if they get it, they are ready.
“It’s happening,” he said. “We just need the community support. That’s the big thing. Our due diligence period has expired. We’re head on into this deal. That means we’re committed. A lot of developers before had larger projects and got bad feedback from the neighborhood. We started from the back-end, figuring out the minimum of what we needed to make it work. This is what we need at a minimum. If we can get this, we can make it work.”
The plan is to keep and restore the iconic, high-Gothic façade of yellow and red sandstone, but remove the entire contents of the building. The first five floors (69 feet) would be rebuilt with the same footprint, and then a new tower would be set back and go up to 143 feet.
That would give the group 150 rooms with a restaurant on the first floor, and a rooftop lounge on top of the new building.
During the planning process, which has gone on since mid-summer, the group has added one floor to the height to make the hotel rooms about 20 sq. ft. larger – that coming at the request of hotel companies looking to partner with them.
Most community groups, including Blackstone, welcomed the project and said that they would support it when the time came.