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Theater District May Get Hundreds of Manhattan Hotel Rooms

First it was the micro-apartments four South Boston. Now it's the micro-hotel rooms for the Theater District.

Local developer Abbot Development is taking a third stab at erecting something at a prime, 5,800-square-foot spot at Tremont and Stuart streets. The firm originally intended to put up a 14-story apartment building with retail—probably a restaurant—at the base. That was in 2006, and the Great Recession got in the way as far as financing. Abbot then pushed for an assisted-living facility; but the Boston Redevelopment Authority ruled that such a building would be "inappropriate" for a corner that The Herald's Greg Turner justifiably describes as a "gateway." Now Abbot wants to build big in a small way via a 16-story, 200-room hotel:

The hotel’s moderately priced rooms will likely measure no more than 200 square feet—a significant downsizing from typical Boston lodging—and be modeled after small but stylish “pod” hotels that have popped up in New York, London and other big cities.
The micro-hotel room idea, of course, smacks of the micro-apartment one hatched (like a pod!) late last year and also inspired by those geniuses in New York City. The idea there is that hundreds of units as small as 375 square feet would dot South Boston's burgeoning waterfront, designed to appeal to the techie who needs but a pillow for his brain and a plug for his morning latte.

There is one key difference, however, between the micro-hotel room and its doppelganger in the apartment world: price. Whereas Southie's micro-apartments would still rent at beefy prices (the hypothetical 375-square-footer might ask, say, $1,500), the micro-hotel rooms would be under $200 a night, with some sinking to the $80-to-$100 range.

Will it take? We have our doubts about the micro-apartment idea because of the asking rents involved, but the micro-hotel one seems a winner. Half-off on the price for half the space or less? Sure, it's only a couple of nights, etc. For now, it's theoretical; the BRA has not signed off on Abbot's idea, though it got a positive reception at a recent meeting. If all goes according to plan, construction could start by late autumn.

· Micro-Room with a View [Herald]
· South Boston to Get Hundreds of Manhattan Apartments [Curbed Boston]
· Will Manhattan Rents Fly in South Boston [Curbed Boston]