Urban format hotels such as AC By Marriott are popping up in and around Boston as hotel developers focus on in-fill locations.
That fits into developer Related Beal’s game plan for Congress Square, a block of century-old bank buildings in Boston’s Financial District being renovated for new ground-floor retail and offices for ad agencies Digitas and SapientNitro.
Plans approved by the Boston Planning and Development Agency include a 190-room hotel at 68 Devonshire St., which is currently being renovated and will be expanded onto a neighboring vacant lot.
East Greenwich, Rhode Island-based Magna Hospitality Group will manage the hotel under Hyatt’s new “Centric” urban-format brand, according to a real estate source. Magna owns or operates more than 20 hotels with an emphasis on urban centers and in-fill suburban markets, according to its web site, and has franchise agreements with major hotel brands including Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and Starwood. Related Beal and Magna declined comment, and a Hyatt spokeswoman did not return messages.
Don’t confuse “Centric” with micro-hotel operators such as London-based Yotel, which is nearing completion of a 326-room (Yotel calls them “cabins”) hotel on Seaport Boulevard with rooms as small as 176 square feet. In marketing materials, Centric boasts about the 364-square-foot guest rooms at its Times Square location as being among the largest in the neighborhood. The flag has 13 locations nationwide. At the same time, common areas seem designed to blend work and leisure, such as The Corner, a lounge with flexible seating, nearby food and drink service and complimentary computer and printer access.
“Hyatt has always been known as a stylish, design-oriented company, and Centric is a more stylish version of a Hyatt,” said Dave McElroy, a senior vice president for CBRE Hotels.