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Developer proposes replacing Back Bay Chinese restaurant with a 300-room hotel

H.N. Gorin told the BPDA today it wants to build a 300-room hotel on the site of what is now the Red Lantern restaurant at 39 Stanhope St., off Clarendon Street and overlooking the Frieda Garcia playground and the turnpike.

The letter of intent means the developer will soon file more detailed plans for the BPDA to consider.

In the letter, company President Rosalind Gorin says the hotel, to be built after the Red Lantern building is raze, will rise 230 to 240 feet - less than the 356 feet allowed by the lot's zoning - and will have no parking. The hotel would basically be across the street from Back Bay station.

In addition to additional hotel rooms and property taxes, Gorin says the new hotel will bring "attractive urban design and archtecture" to the area.

Stanhope Hotel letter of intent (661k PDF).

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Comments

So in other words, they're planning to raze the Red Lantern?

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Tear it down right to the ground. I'll make that clearer in the post.

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I think Adam missed the reference.

Also curious if The Friendly Toast is affected.

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Right over my head!

As for Friendly Toast, I think that's a separate building

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Which should come in handy when the French Toast alerts start up again!

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That lot is at the Nexus of major roads, near a major transit hub and is in a very dense part of town... It does make sense to not need parking.

My concern in situations like this is the deadening of a lively nightlife scene by removing restaurants in that zone. If I were on the Boston boards or with BPDA I would give the ok with a stipulation that a similar restaurant be allowed to be a first floor tenant. Not just a stale cookie cutter hotel restaurant but a place with its own entrance and its own character.

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I like character too, but how do you legislate it?

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You only approve the permits if they promise a locally owned restaurant is on the ground floor. They will need some sort of leeway in the permits I'm sure.

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Merely 25 feet away from Red Lantern was completely unrelated to this? Hmmm.

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Why would an on ramp that almost no one new existed and even fewer used have anything to do with this restaurant (where a Bertucci's was before it) closing?

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for 55 years with barely a mention of the safety/accident problem until recently. Now the ramp is closed at the same time a large development is announced for the location.

You really think it's just a coincidence these two things are happening at the same time?

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The on-ramp to the Mass Pike is a couple of hundred feet away from the Red Lantern, on the opposite side of Clarendon Street, underneath the proposed-to-be-renovated 100 Clarendon parking garage.

The Red Lantern is across the street from Frieda Garcia Park. While Stanhope is indeed narrow, 90 percent of all vehicle traffic to the proposed hotel will be taxi/Uber/Lyft drop-offs and pickups. Although Stanhope is one-way from Berkeley to Clarendon, most traffic accesses the area around Red Lantern and Friendly Toast from Cahners Place (next to Mistral) and left on Stanhope.

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It does seem awfully fishy that the on-ramp is suddenly declared a public menace, just when construction begins on the Trinity Place project, with several other projects in the pipeline. Would be interested to see who's making out in the deal, but I can pretty much guarantee it's not the taxpayers.

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Bummer! That's a cool urban pocket of open space for people to mingle/ interesting architecture. Spaces for people to gather, enjoy a little outdoor dining... activities that make living in a city unique from the 'burbs are rapidly being eaten up by bland big box buildings. The BRA, or whatever it's called now, is ruining Boston by allowing sub-par design and anti-people enjoying outdoor space planning. Just look at the Seaport... what a soul-sucking disappointment.

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I don't think the park is being disturbed. I agree that it's a charming little odd park, and it appears that it's going to stay, so you can still grab a coffee at Flour & sit in the sun.

Glad to see a hotel going in where it won'r interfere with housing.

OT but thinking of parks, does anyone know if the plan to put a glassed winter garden on Clarendon a block away +/- is completely dead?

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Seems it's more of a nightclub, but no matter. This reminded me of long ago when I was getting married. One of the places we looked at was Blue Ginger in Wellesley, run by celebrity chef Ming Tsai. Among other reasons, we decided not to hold the wedding there as I feared my step mother would tell all her friends (in old lady voice) "Oh, Gary got married at a Chinese restaurant."

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The owner of the Red Lantern restaurant responded to the news saying he was happy about it and looked forward to being a part of the new project. That implies he is either already signed as a new tenant or looking to be.

The closing of the ramp wasn't to aid this developer; it was done to aid the developer of 40 Trinity Place and the rebuilding of the subway station and construction of towers over it.

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....am highly skeptical when “Gorin says the new hotel will bring "attractive urban design and archtecture" to the area”.

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made out of dark glass are attractive urban design. Right? Right?!

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40 trinity place around the corner is supposed to have 154 hotel rooms. How many hotels can you have in that same location?

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If you didn't know, there continues to be a shortage of hotel rooms in Boston, which has some of the highest hotel rates in the country -- more expensive than New York.

I mean who wouldn't stay in a hotel steps to public transportation, in the heart of the Back Bay and close to shopping and some of the city's finest restaurants?

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Boston has a MASSIVE shortage of hotels. Hence the problem with AirBnB. If there were enough hotel rooms at reasonable rates people wouldn't be using AirBnB.

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Boston needs more hotels, look at current rates and vacancies, the demand is there. Also, this is in a very active and central part of the city, not some random location, the competition will be just fine.

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Can you post a link to your economic analysis, supply/demand modeling, etc?

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Boston is lacking in hotel rooms... and hotels like to "cluster" in popular zones.

If you were a hotel in a small town with low numbers and not a big draw near by then you may be a little upset if another hotel opened up next door. The pie is too small to share.

If you are a hotel in a large bustling city that needs more hotel rooms then you are either neutral or happy to have someone move in next door. Especially if you are in a part of town that random people in Chicago may not be familiar with.

I had been involved in economic development in Chelsea for years and it took moving heaven and earth to get the first hotel to move in back at the turn of the century. Now that zone has several hotels and the city has even asked hotels to slow down their rollouts so it could keep up. Once Everett ave in Chelsea was established as a "zone" purchasers looking for rooms near Boston and the airport (and now the casino and FBI) took notice. When I asked about saturation during the zoning of the third hotel the process was explained to me and it makes sense. When you are looking to book a room in a different part of the country don't you find it weird when you come across that one random hotel in some weird named neighborhood? If six hotels pop up and they all have brand names you feel you can book it without issue.

Restaurants operate the same way. If you are the only restaurant in a building and can keep up with demand then a second restaurant would be frowned upon. If you are a destination restaurant in Cambridge, Downtown Boston etc then you welcome more restaurants because then more people will travel to the destination. Back before major retailers and the internet thats also the rational behind the "districts" we now only know as neighborhoods where people live.

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The newest edition to the neighborhood, the four seasons, didn't help to make hotel rooms more affordable. I would love to see the supply and demand work with these new hotels and have hotels rates go down in Boston.

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Does anybody know what years the spot was a Bertucci's? Also, what was there before Bertucci's?

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I believe that string of buildings was all stables back in the day, but that day was probably 75-100 years before Bertuccis. Guessing something came between horsies and pizza!

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About 20-25 years ago, maybe a little less.
I'm sure I ate on that block a couple of times when my wife and I were dating. I'm just drawing a blank on what it might have been.I'd have said something chain and/or local, but never would have guessed Bertucci's. That's why I'm wondering if it was something else at that time.

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I dialed up the way back machine and checked the 1938 Bromley atlas.

Something called Gundlach's Hofbrau was there then. Found some memorabilia and descriptions online - kitschy German theme, singing waiters, advertised air conditioned comfort.
I also found a reference that suggests it might have been renamed The Seven Seas at some point ~WWII to play down the German theme.

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on Stanhope Street. They are a reminder of Boston’s historic past.

If I recall correctly, that building used to be home to the Red Coach Grille. Does anyone else recall that restaurant group? Always nice for a delicious hot meal. I almost always ordered the baked stuffed jumbo shrimp. Your choice of baked potato, French fried potatoes (no one said “fries” back then) or Delmonico potatoes (remember those?)! I miss those old-time Boston restaurants. A delicious meal, good service, tablecloths and napkins made from actual cloth(!) and available to all at at affordable price.

God, I’m getting old! It seems that every parcel of land that reminds us of Boston’s small scale past is in danger of being built up and over if not razed completely. As Trumpkin would say...”Sad!”

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since I remember occasionally going to the Red Coach Grill on Route 1 in Norwood when I was a kid, and sure enough, there was a Red Coach Grill at 43 Stanhope back in the day.

http://www.highwayhost.org/Massachusetts/RedCoach/redcoach1.html

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