The largest hotel to launch in Boston since the mid-1980s opens next week in a market decimated by the coronavirus pandemic.
The hope is that this sprawling spectacle of a building could help spur the recovery.
“This hotel will serve as a destination for the city of Boston,” Omni Hotels & Resorts president Peter Strebel told hotel officials, developers and executives gathered in the lobby for a groundbreaking ceremony on Wednesday. .
“We will respond to meeting planners but also to vacationers who come to discover this city and also to the inhabitants of Boston to make it their home,” he added.
The Omni Boston Hotel is a gleaming towering structure in the seaport and is designed to be the jewel of the Omni brand when it comes to convention hotels. It has 1,054 guest rooms located within walking distance of the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
“Every facet of this hotel has been meticulously curated, from the world-class art you see throughout the building to the seven unique food and drink restaurants,” Strebel said.
When the $ 550 million project was launched in 2018, industry group CBRE Hotels predicted growing demand for chic rooms. But then the coronavirus pandemic struck, stalling construction for three months and increasing construction costs.
Demand for hotel rooms and conventions has plummeted amid the pandemic as workplaces and conferences have gone virtual.
Boston’s hotel market is among the most depressed in the country, just behind San Francisco’s, according to a recent report from the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
Revenues per available room for Boston hotels fell from $ 184 in May 2019 to $ 61 in May 2021 – a drop of 67%, according to the report. Nationally, disposable income per room fell 22% during this period.
As Boston slowly resumes its usual activities, experts said it could be up to three years before business travel – a major boon for the hospitality industry – bounces back.
The BCEC has three book conventions in October and two slated for November, but it’s still a long way from pre-pandemic convention business, giving hope for a slow but improving recovery.
Governor Charlie Baker, U.S. Representative Stephen Lynch, Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey, State Senator Nick Collins and Boston City Councilors Michael Flaherty and Ed Flynn stopped to applaud the opening.
About 700 to 1,000 permanent jobs come with the hotel, where the average room rate is between $ 300 and around, depending on demand.
Additionally, the building was designed and constructed on the “Massport Model,” which CEO and President Lisa Wieland described as a “compelling proposition” that included a diverse team of investors, architects, construction companies. and design teams.