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Raffles Boston Back Bay construction amps up with demolition work

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Down comes the Boston Common Hotel and Conference Center to make way for the 33-story project

The partially demolished and caved-in exterior of a multi-story building. Photo courtesy of Trinity LLC

Construction is accelerating on the Raffles Boston Back Bay Hotel & Residences, a 33-story building at 40 Trinity Place due to include 147 hotel rooms and 146 Raffles-branded condos.

The development team behind the project demolished the exterior of the Boston Common Hotel and Conference Center at the start of February, though overall construction, including interior demolition work, has been underway since September 2019.

The Noannet Group, Saunders Hotel Group, and Cain International plan to open the $400 million project in early 2022. It will be the first mixd-use Raffles property in North America, and it’s due to include six dining-slash-drinking venues as well as expansion space for the adjacent University Club.

It’s also slated to have seven on-site affordable housing units, and will result in $13 million for additional affordable housing in Boston, according to the developers.

Saunders and Noannet have been trying to build on the Back Bay corner for years. They got the requisite permits for construction in 2016, and reached a deal with Raffles parent AccorHotels in late 2017. The developers announced the project in April 2018, and landed a $314 million construction loan that July (it’s rendered below).

Rendering of the exterior of the top floors of a shiny, glassy skyscraper overlooking a cityscape. Rendering via Trinity LLC

The project joins a slew of hotel developments in the region, many of them on the higher end. These include 907 Main, the first boutique hotel in Cambridge’s Central Square; the 391-room One Kenmore Square in Boston’s Kenmore; the Newbury Boston, a redo of the old Taj in Back Bay; and the Onyx’s proposed expansion in downtown Boston.

And, while it’s hard to predict what sort of environment the Raffles project will open into in 2022, it should be noted that now is an opportune time to be a condo or a hotel developer in Boston—to say the least.