Developer unveils design for Kneeland Street hotel

Proposed Kneeland Street hotel

Architect's renderings.

The Hudson Group today filed detailed plans with the BPDA for its proposal to replace a defunct nightclub on Kneeland Street between Atlantic Avenue and Lincoln Street with a 230-room, 21-story hotel.

The company, which has built several other projects in the Leather District, says the hotel would be the first immediately in the South Station area and could help spur further development in the area:

The proposed hotel will complement the mixed-use fabric of the historic Leather District while positioning the Kneeland Street development corridor as a modern urban thoroughfare with a vibrant pedestrian realm. The Project will generate public benefits including job creation, infrastructure and security upgrades, visual streetscape improvements, a new destination for locals and tourists, and a dramatic improvement on current conditions that will help spur additional investment.

The new building will be contemporary in style, featuring facade, fenestration, and materiality elements that relate to the surrounding area.

Proposed Kneeland Street hotel

The company says its proposed upscale hotel would cater to "short stay mid-week business travel and weekend visitors to Boston."

No parking is planned for the hotel, both because of the building's relatively small footprint, in an area with roughly 3,500 existing parking spaces.

150 Kneeland St. project-notification form (25M PDF).

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Comments

You know what? ***k it!

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Let's just knock down all of Boston and replace it with this soulless crap and get it over with.

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Voting closed 30

Soulless?

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Yeah, because the existing single story stucco with sheet metal awning building it’s replacing is the architectural gem of the neighborhood.

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Voting closed 74

As far as the building it's replacing...

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...my mistake -- I misunderstood where on the block the thing is. Nothing valuable about the building it's replacing.

But as others have pointed out: does not scale with neighborhood; architecturally turns its back on the existing neighborhood.

Subjective: ugly, cheap, somewhat grotesque. And yes: soulless. Almost thoughless. Cynical, even.

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Voting closed 26

Eh

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Compared to most other terrible boxes going up, this one doesn't look too bad. Also, by giving it height, we get more hotel rooms which we have a pretty bad shortage of. Its also not particularly out of place with One Financial on the other corner of the Leather District, the steam plant across from it, and One Greenway down the street. As long as nice old buildings aren't being lost, height is good.

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Voting closed 24

Exactly. This is an excellent move

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Build tall & high is sustainability to the max. Especially given what its replacing. Good job Boston

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Voting closed 26

Not exactly. If by

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Not exactly. If by sustainability you mean energy efficiency, beyond a certain height the energy costs start to go up again. The developer has calculated that their profit will overcome this.

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Voting closed 23

You're thinking too small in

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You're thinking too small in scope. Taller buildings downtown mean fewer people driving in from the suburbs. That's what makes it sustainable.

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Voting closed 16

Yes because it's destroying

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Yes because it's destroying the character and sweet smells of urine on a warm summer day that have existed there for so long. It's the most creative multi story facade that's come around the city in a LONG time. Kudos on that! Also, adjacent to South Station and easy access to the airport in a neighborhood that has NO hotel right now anywhere near South Station.

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Voting closed 40

Huh?

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The city is in desperate need of more housing. Whether affordable or not, Boston simply needs to continue adding to its inventory.

There will never be discussion about knocking down or replacing prominent, historical buildings. Boston has more soul than almost any other city in the country. You literally need to fly to Europe to find more architectural soul in a single city, so I'm not sure what you're complaining about.

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Voting closed 34

Ah, yes, soul

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I see soul in plywood. I see soul in cheap stucco and the logos of an abandoned club. I see soul in a single-story building sitting steps from South Station and the financial district. At least they didn't come for a historic laundromat!

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Voting closed 33

Tell me you prefer the current building...

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Folks, here's the current eyesore:

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3498595,-71.058263,3a,75y,26.53h,103.6t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sqXeG9eKCLwwa8s2cxu7hoQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

Lots of NIMBYs will pooh-pooh this and any other idea because they personally don't like the architecture.

Not once have I heard one of these types propose an alternative. What kind of beautiful building would they like? Usually they end up falling back on some ludicrous complaint.

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Voting closed 26

As I said above, my mistake

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I thought it was in the middle of the block on Lincoln Street.

The neighborhood has character worth keeping but that building isn't part of it.

Is it too much to ask that a new building not simply turn its back on the existing neighborhood? Is that NIMBYism?

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Voting closed 24

Pray tell,

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That's writ large NIMBYism, yes.

But you should take satisfaction in the design. See those windows on each side? That means the buildings immediately adjacent likely won't be permitted to scale in the future. And that's the real travesty.

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Voting closed 20

There are more hotels in

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There are more hotels in Boston being built more than ever, what is it with this surge.
What Boston really needs is a hotel on the Boston harbor a hotel cruisliner docked at one of the piers.

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Voting closed 19

There is demand for hotels

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They don't just come to see the freedom trail. PAX East, for example, draws 100K visitors for almost a whole week [not counting the people working there as exhibitors and such]. And that's just one of hundreds of such conventions.

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Voting closed 40

Can confirm that

I loss the use of my condo. My insurance has limited coverage for loss of use so I have been using Boston hotels. Use trivago to find places and prices can get pretty hefty. The week of the big Bio conference a few weeks back had the W advertising a room for $2000 a night. And most weeks there isn't much of quality for less then $350, with some places listing on Trivago at 700-800 a night. And the highend places like the Liberty or Ritz ask $1200 most weekdays.

Oddly, quality rooms under $200 and sometimes as low as $149 are available Friday through Sunday. So tourists are not driving up prices.

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Voting closed 30

Supply and Demand. Boston

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Supply and Demand. Boston badly needs more hotels since the room rates are ridiculously high. They will get even worse once the AirBnB’s are banned.

A colleague was trying to book hotel in Boston this week. The cheapest was $600/night at Courtyard. Nice hotels were averaging $1,000 per night. They are on par or more expensive than Manhattan now because hotels were not built to keep up with the demand.

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Voting closed 27

No, not everybody

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They're not catering to longer term stays (multi-weeks), for example. Which is to say, they're promising to act exactly as you'd like and expect a nice hotel in this area to act.

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Voting closed 22

apparently height restrictions are voluntary...

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a 218' structure in a 100' zoned historic neighborhood that apparently is going to get approved, despite significant shadows to properties to it's north and being way taller than any surrounding building and not fitting in with the style of the predominantly brick leather district.

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Voting closed 42

Contrast is Good

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Remember when people were complaining that the T shouldn't build a glass head house at Gov't Center because it didn't match the sea of red brick that we all hate so much? Good times.

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Voting closed 42

Ehhh, it's OK

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It will be right across from the tall steam plant and there are other tall buildings just down the street on Kneeland. It's on the edge of the Leather District, so IMHO it's all good.

The view today, with the site of the hotel on the right, just past the South Street banner.
https://goo.gl/maps/8xcMKXZg1FP2

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Voting closed 37

Yep, because it's super

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Yep, because it's super important and totally reasonable in a growing city to ensure that no new building is ever taller than the buildings next to it, even if there are actual skyscrapers a few hundred feet away in any direction.

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Voting closed 15

Already did

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Waved to it from the red line platform when it moved to Qin Zi

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Voting closed 42

Sure!

Teeming skyscrapers built without any real concern for the displaced or the poor that live in it's shadows. Sound familiar?

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Voting closed 30

???

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Considering this is in the Leather District, I wouldn't be too concerned with Chinatown.

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Voting closed 28

Sure!!

First they came for the waterfront, then the Leather District. Can’t imagine they’d ever go after Chinatown.

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Voting closed 22

???

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By waterfront do you mean the seaport? What exactly did they come for - parking lots? Are you seriously being nostalgic about the surface lots and light industry (at best)? As for "then the leather district" - this is a single building, replacing a dilapidated single story building stucco building with boarded up windows across from an industrial steam plant and land so contaminated that the city and state basically couldn't give it away for development, down the street from our major intercity bus terminal, and grand views of the highway - well, I think its rather silly to think this would count as the 'death' of the Leather District. As for Chinatown - there have already been a ton of buildings put up recently. Chinatown is still there, though, and will continue to be.

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Voting closed 15

Yeah, right.

Chinatown will always be there. Just like the West End. And the reason the waterfront was never built on until this monstrosity was that there were people here who actually remembered 1938 and planned accordingly.

Not like the corrupt nitwits and servants of their developer masters who argue about the expense of sea walls and sky gondolas.

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Voting closed 21

I'm sure that you are aware of this

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It was something that wasn't Chinatown before it was Chinatown.

It will be something that isn't Chinatown after it is Chinatown.

Cities are like that - just like the North End was not built by Italians.

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Voting closed 23

Eyesore.

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“featuring facade, fenestration, and materiality elements that relate to the surrounding area.”

Nothing from the architect’s rendering supports this claim. An ugly cheap looking building that would loom over one of Boston’s few remaining historic districts, if allowed to be built.
And no parking!!!! Ridiculous!

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Voting closed 40

Loom over historic district?

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Loom over historic district? Do you mean loom over The historic Viola industrial waste land across the street? If anything this is an upgrade to what is there right now. It will make this edge of Chinatown more pedestrian friendly.

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Voting closed 34

it may be historic, but it

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it may be historic, but it also smells like bum piss and rotten vegetables 9 months of the year. it's a miracle that chinatown/parts of the leather district have managed to stay so gross all these years... a change down there is not a bad thing.

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Voting closed 37

no, it smells like people are

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no, it smells like people are pissing on the sidewalks, which is not an exaggeration. i have worked in the area for a decade and it always smells like a port-a-potty from march to november down there.

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Voting closed 31

Another boring, uninspired

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Another boring, uninspired pile of dreck. Too bad for such a visible location. And that euphemistic development argot sure is tiresome.

That said, there's no denying this is a good location for a large hotel - so close to South Station, a gateway for travelers into the city, and it's taking the place of a low-slung abandoned building in a pedestrian dead zone. If done well and integrated properly, this could be a boon for Leather District residents and businesses. The demand for hotel space is there.

I hope it doesn't affect the South Street Diner in any way.

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Voting closed 36

The South Street Diner Is a Dead Man Walking

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Within 4 years, there will be a tower of of luxury condos there. But the history of the former neighborhood will still be celebrated by naming the new tower - Toast, or The Gravy Block or something like this. And its memory will live on as oversized sepia photos on the wall of the fitness center.

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Voting closed 30

Not so fast my friend!

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The South Street Diner parcel is really small. Pencil out an elevator and a stairway, and you don't have very much footprint left. Throw in columns, conduit runs, and you've got less.

My sense [and I am not an architect!] is that unless it was developed to somehow tie in to 201-207 South Street [the building that surrounds it on both sides], it'd be really tough to develop. Just too small a footprint.

And, of course, if it were developed, it's entirely plausible that the first floor becomes retail and the diner moves back in. No guarantee of course, but it is plausible.

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Voting closed 24

Meh

I ate there once. I was really excited about it too, heard it was great, and I love diners.

It wasn't. The food was whatever, the prices were bad, but the main thing was it was horribly uncomfortable in the booths.

Now Victoria's Diner, that's a good place.

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Voting closed 41

Heard it was great

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To be honest, it is great - around 3am stumbling in after a night of drinking, er, I mean night on the town, it is pretty amazing. Anytime other than that, though, not so much.

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Voting closed 14

Interesting

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"The company says its proposed upscale hotel would cater to "short stay mid-week business travel and weekend visitors to Boston."

Please enjoy your view of the south east expressway, bus station and train yard!

The idea of a hotel in the neighborhood isn't bad. There's a lot of business on the other end of the Leather District, near Essex St, including KPMG, Plymouth Rock, Mintz Levin and others.

I'm not concerned about replacing the existing dump. I do agree that the design of this new building leaves a little to be desired.

I'd love to know more about this part of Kneeland as a "vibrant pedestrian realm". I'd also like to know WTF that means.

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Voting closed 21

That sounds like a great view

That sounds like a great view to me, but I love infrastructure.

How many people actually put a high importance on "view" when booking a hotel room in Boston? Location, price, rewards program, cleanliness, comfort, and familiarity all seem to me like they'd be more important. This has location/convenience for a lot of business and tourism, the rest remains to be seen.

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Voting closed 19