Developers to Talk About Phase 2 of Arsenal Yards Project, Including Hotel

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A rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn & Suites to be built in Phase 2 of the Arsenal Yards project.

A rendering of the proposed Hampton Inn & Suites to be built in Phase 2 of the Arsenal Yards project.

The second phase of the Arsenal Mall renovation, which includes a proposed hotel on Arsenal Street, will be discussed by developers during a Community Meeting on May 31.

Boylston Properties and The Wilder Cos. will host a meeting on Wednesday, May 31 at 6:30 p.m. in the Innovation Space in Arsenal Yards, across from HATCH makerspace.

Phase 2 focuses on Building B, which is on the west sided of the site, next to the Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates offices. Along with the retail space on the ground floor there will be a hotel and a parking structure (see architectural drawings here).

Developers announced they plan to build a Hampton Inn & Suites by Hilton with 155 rooms. The six-story hotel replaces the 79-unit residential building originally planned for Building B. It will have a garage with six levels, including an underground level.

The hotel will be a bit different from the Residence Inn across Arsenal Street from the mall, which was also built by Boylston Properties. About 20 percent of the rooms in the Hampton Inn will have kitchen facilities, while all of the rooms in the Residence Inn have that, said Bill McQuillan, principal of Boylston Properties.

Tom Wilder of The Wilder Cos. said that hotels are becoming part of mixed-use retail centers.

“Retailers like the dynamic for mixed use (developments),” Wilder said. “There are new customers every day.”

Elevation drawings of Building B at Arsenal Yards, including a six level garage, with one below ground.

The hotel will bring in more local excise tax money to the Town of Watertown. The Residence Inn opened in September and Town Manager Michael Driscoll estimates it will bring in $365,000 in excise taxes in Fiscal 2017 (which ends June 30, 2017), and will bring in $545,000 in Fiscal 2018. In his budget presentation, Driscoll projected the Hampton Inn would being in another $500,000 a year in excise taxes when it is finished.

However, the town will lose affordable housing units that would have come with the residential building. Projects in the RMUD, where Arsenal Yards is located, are required to have 15 percent of the units rented as affordable. In this case that would have been 12 of the 79 units. McQuillan said that makes it more difficult for developers of residential projects.

The new hotel also is projected to bring more traffic to the area. The difference between 79 units of residential and 155 rooms is more than 400 vehicles trips (a car coming and going from the site equals 2 trips) on a weekday and nearly 700 more trips on a Saturday, according to the traffic study in the documents developers submitted to the Watertown Planning Department.

Also, the building will need 28 more parking spaces with the switch from residential to a hotel, according to the document.

Phase 2 of the Arsenal Yards project is likely to go before the Planning Board for approval on June 14.

4 thoughts on “Developers to Talk About Phase 2 of Arsenal Yards Project, Including Hotel

  1. What happened here? They got approval for the condos, but now come from behind with a baseball bat and say they want to build a hotel instead? This is classic psychological manipulation. “Oh, it is only a little more traffic than what we were going to do before!” 400/700 more vehicle trips is a lot for a street that seems to be already at maximum capacity.

  2. The planning board could ask the developer to add 12 affordable units to the other housing units he is providing. This might make up for the additional traffic.

    Also can someone explain what the excise tax means for the hotel. Is there not the normal real estate tax on the value of the property.

    • Hi Robert, the hotel tax is an optional tax which the state allows communities to charge. It is charged to the customer when a room is rented. The other optional tax, which Watertown also has, is the restaurant meals tax.

  3. We need a full comprehensive traffic study here which includes all the new updates/projects in the RMUD(of course a bit late IMO but still needed!).

    Also, wasn’t one of the big requests(and in comprehensive plan) setbacks on buildings? This hotel looks like another box..if we are to build something new let’s at least make it have some setbacks and not crowd the street even more than it will be. Can we get a bit of character in some of these new buildings?

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