Midtown Hotel

Usually I can walk by the Midtown Hotel* without a glance, but today it struck me -- how is this sinfully out-of-place eyesore still standing?

I've gotta think the real estate it occupies -- almost a full block of Huntington at Mass. Ave, at the crossroads of the Back Bay and the South End -- is worth gazillions. Over the years, they must have gotten offers by the bucket load from developers eager to tear it down and build something bigger and better. Who the heck owns it? Do they rent by the hour? How did it ever get built in the first place?

I assume it predates the Christian Science plaza, but I can't imagine the Mother Church is overly fond of its neighbor. Anyway, I'd guess that somebody connected knew somebody connected, tore down some nice old buildings, got the permits for this Brady-Bunch-era fleabag, and now it's a money-laundering machine too valuable to certain unsavory types to tear down. But that's just speculation. Anybody know the real scoop?

*How is this a hotel, not a motel?

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Comments

The real scoop is

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the Midtown serves a valuable purpose here. It's a fall back for many of the hotels in the city if they're over booked. Also, it has served many Berklee, Northeastern and NE Conservatory students, parents and alumni over the years. So, yes, it may not be the most modern looking joint and it sure isn't the Mandarin, but it's always been profitable, AFAIK, and it's cheap.

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Yup

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Agreed. It's there because it makes a KILLING. Yeah it can't get the 400+/night rate (standard rate, no special) that thethe Colonnade across the street gets. But it certainly can get more than most craptastic hotels outside 128.

I checked a while back when I lived in the SoEnd for a place for my family to stay. Time and Time again, it was the cheapest place in the city (but more expensive than hotels in the 'burbs). But still over priced to stay in a 60s fabulous motel, but it is RIGHT IN THE CITY.

(I ended up getting an awesome deal at the Sonesta in Cambridge for a upgraded room at the same price as the Midtown Hotel)

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We've had European friends on

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We've had European friends on a budget stay there and they thought it was perfectly fine. There's nothing fleabag about it — have you bothered to go inside?

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Not impressed

I had friends from out of town stay at the Midtown Hotel.
For an 8 hour period, someone's car alarm was blaring in the parking garage, very audible inside the hotel rooms. Hotel was not able to stop it.

They were able, just not

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They were able, just not willing. Call a tow truck, have them disconnect the battery, and if that doesn't work, tow.

It's a good budget option

It's a good budget option for people staying in Boston. I know people who often stay there.

I believe it's owned by the Christian Science Church along with much of the property surrounding their buildings. The Church has made an effort to buy up a lot of nearby buildings. The Church plaza took over a Boston street along with all the homes on it and Huntington. The building of Church Park apartments was to compensate for all the lost housing.

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Church Park apartments were

Church Park apartments were supposed to continue all the way to Mass. Ave. and Boylston. Neighborhood groups protested because they didn't want a concrete wall extending that far. So you're right, the numbers weren't replenished. But I'm happy that CP didn't extend from Westland Ave. to Boylston.

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Cheap still sells

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This is not a fancy place (well, duh) but it serves a much-needed purpose of being a less expensive alternative to all the upscale hotels. They don't seem to put much money back into the place, so they are probably raking in the dough. As you say, I have often wondered why they don't sell for a boatload of money, but if the owners don't mind keeping the place going, they can enjoy their nice income now and still sell for an even larger boatload when they decide the place has finally reached it's end.

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The church owns the land

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The church owns the land under the Midtown Hotel. I don't know the what terms of the lease are with the Midtown owners. It wouldn't be easy to replace the building. A taller structure would be needed to make it work financially but Im sure the neighboring St. Botolph residents would put up a huge fight.

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If there was ever a textbook case of underutilized land

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The CSC does/did own it and doesn't want the site redeveloped any taller because of the shadow/reflection which could be cast into their reflecting pool. The original buildings on the site were all 5-6 stories before the the block was demolished for the motel.

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Underutilized by whose

Underutilized by whose definition? Because they're not squeezing every last possible dollar out of every square foot of land they own?

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No genius, underutilized in

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No genius, underutilized in that it is a two story on a block which used to have 5-6 story buildings. That's a lot of lost square footage for housing and hotel rooms badly needed in this city.

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Better Example

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The textbook example, at least in Boston, for underutilized land has got to be the monstrosity known as the Hurley Building/ Lindemann Center. Situated on a huge parcel of land in the heart of the city, this unfinished building is not only falling apart, but a lot of it is totally empty. There's even a very large but seldom seen courtyard in there that is just a complete mess. Why not build a slew of high rise apartment buildings there?

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whoa

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I want one!

I wish we had that in Boston. It definitely beats most of the high rises that were built here over the last few decades - the architecture "sampler box" occupying our waterfront is especially awful to behold.

Now this would be memorable!

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YUCK

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Yuck.. it looks like a tall Gov't Center OR something that came out of some old futuristic movie (i.e. "Metropolis")

I always thought the (current) building looked like a space ship that was about to take off.... (especially at night)

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Hi Rise Apartments???

Are you aware that their are currently 11,000 new units of housing being developed and or marketed to the people who can afford $3,ooo a month for a 1 bedroom?????? Where the hell are people whose income is less than 30K a year supposed to live? Enough effing luxury hi-rise units.

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Brutal (ist) Building

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Haha! My dad worked in this building when I was little. I can remember hallways with doors that, if they could open, would deposit you into mid-air. IIRC, it was a mental-health research facility. Totally appropriate for such a crazy-looking building.

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I think this Yelp reviews

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I think this Yelp reviews sums it up "Cheap, clean, great location. That's really all I need in a hotel. Yes it's dated. Yes, the walls are thin. Yes, the mattress was old, saggy and creaky. But if you're looking for a place with a good location that isn't ridiculously expensive, this is it."

Not too many places are inexpensive but in a good location. It fits a need or it would not be in business.

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All you need

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is a Valle's Steak House next door.

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Actually, the hotel doesn't

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Actually, the hotel doesn't typically have the greatest rates. On a regular basis, you'll find cheaper nightly rates at the Park Plaza or the HoJo in Fenway. I'll be in Boston for 3 days next week, and will be staying at the Park Plaza for $99/night. Midtown was $89/night, but Park Plaza is a much better location for $10 more.

Granted, the Midtown certainly does serve its purpose for many of the reasons mentioned by commenters above. But sure, I wouldn't mind seeing it be replaced with more unaffordable housing, just as long as the block is bookended by a DD and BoA.

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well...

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Look at the Park Plaza before you stay there. let's just say, its old and the rooms are small and moldy smelling. Yes they have the best rates for in town, but you are getting what you pay for.

And the HoJo's will be a thing of the past soon as it has been reported here a few months ago.

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Oh I know, I've stayed at

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Oh I know, I've stayed at each hotel multiple times. I simply prefer Park Plaza for its location. I was just suggesting that its possible to get a similar rate at a comparable hotel in the heart of the city, without having to stay along the outskirts of Boston proper.

I didn't know about the HoJo though, that's interesting. Any word what it's being replaced with?

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THE OUTSKIRTS?!?!? Okay, I

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THE OUTSKIRTS?!?!? Okay, I can forgive some errors, but even qualifying it as the outskirts of Boston proper is a bit much. This is the heart of the Back Bay.

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I disagree. I know we're

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I disagree. I know we're splitting hairs here, but one more block and you're at Mass Ave, which most consider the western border of Boston Proper. I definitely wouldn't consider that area the heart of the Back Bay, that's for sure. There's no confusing this area with Copley Square or Comm Ave for that matter.

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The Midtown Hotel often has

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The Midtown Hotel often has deals for free parking, so that could make it cheaper than the other options.

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The Midtown also has larger

The Midtown also has larger rooms than the "petite" room that is offered at a good rate at the Park Plaza. For a family with a car, that makes a big difference.

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I love this place

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....I've never been inside, but I love how out of place it is in our often overly manicured city. It's charming, old school, and never going anywhere (I hope).

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Love the 1960s vibe

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I too love the 1960's vibe of the place. Right near there on Huntington Ave. (near the Huntington Theater) was a restaurant with a very 1960's "googie" type of sign. I don't think its there any more, but it was there for the longest time and I used to like it when I walked by these places and felt like I went back in time.

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Bad memories

Ted doesn't have good memories of his visit to the Midtown.

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(Sorry for the double image ... for the life of me I can't figure out the BB Code.)

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Low rent digs for sure, but low price?

Not so much. Check out these rates, per Hotels.com (the cheap alternative, no less!) for one night, double occupancy, two weeks from tonight -- March 6, 2014:

Midtown Hotel: $249
Colonnade Hotel: $219
Eliot Hotel: $255
Hilton Back Bay: $199
Hotel 140: $229
Omni Parker House: $195
Sheraton Boston: $131

That's just a sample. Now, there's probably some convention going on in town, allowing the gougers -- I mean, hoteliers -- to boost their rates. But still, anybody who reflexively books the Midtown trying to save money would be making a grave error.

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Midtown Hotel

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I no longer have the Boston Redevelopment Authority report from the late 60s or early 70s but the BRA had proposed demolition of the Midtown and replacing it with an apartment block that would "be a better fit" with the rebuilding of the area. I believe the Midtown was owned then by cab mogul Frank Sawyer (Checker Cab in Boston and Red Cab/Brookline Taxi in Brookline) who successfully fought the plans (eminent domain was threatened).