With the latest news of the Alexandra Hotel project going up for sale, more than a few people have postulated that the building could realistically be cursed.
No development project in all of Boston is likely as challenging as the Alexandra Hotel – long vacant mostly – on the corner of Mass Avenue and Washington Street, and no project has had as many confounding disappointments over many years as the project.
The latest attempt by a group of highly-qualified developers has now also hit the skids, as the hotel project they proposed will now be put up for sale, according to Jas Bhogal of Alexandra Partners.
He said this week they have not put the project on the market yet, but that is the plan at the moment. He said so much has been affected by COVID-19, both health and livelihoods, that the project’s financing has fallen apart.
“Sadly, the hospitality industry is one of the most affected industries,” he said. “As a result, traditional financing vehicles that would normally provide the resources necessary to build a hotel are simply not present at this time. We believe in the project and we are going to pursue new investors to move forward with the existing plan. We will list the property for sale as permitted so that potential equity partners or buyers can see what we, the Roxbury Community and the South End Community want for this historic site.”
The development team isn’t abandoning their role in the project, said South End Forum Moderator Steve Fox, but they are looking for new financing partners in putting the project up for sale.
It is particularly disappointing, Fox said (who was an Impact Advisory Group member for the project), that after all of the project reviews, community mitigation, zoning board discussions and Landmarks approvals – a pandemic hit and destroyed what had finally been a winning plan.
“That particular project is one of the greatest sources of frustration to the South End community consistently over decades,” he said. “The good news is they want to find a partner. It will be listed for sale as a hotel. It won’t be offered as a parcel to be raised and to build luxury condos.”
He said he was told by the development team that the situation to put the project up for sale was not weighted by the increasing impacts of homelessness and drug use near the property. Many thought that was the case, but Fox said it doesn’t appear to have factored into the decision. However, he said he had always hoped that the hotel would put much needed foot traffic in the area and create a more vibrant commercial corridor to mitigate the Mass/Cass problems.
“It looks like that renaissance has been delayed,” he said.
Bhogal said they are very excited about the project, and put all they had into it. He said they will continue, but perhaps with new partners.
“We love the project, the building and the neighborhood,” he said. “We poured our hearts into this effort, working countless hours with the community, the elected officials, the BPDA and the South End Landmarks. We will continue to work alongside the community to ensure the Alexandra sees a bright future.”