Image courtesy of RODE Architects

The pandemic’s blows to the hospitality industry are prompting developers of a 230-room hotel approved for Boston’s Leather District to change course and propose 115 housing units instead.

In 2018, the Boston Planning & Development Agency approved the 21-story hotel tower to replace a defunct nightclub on the 4,824-square-site at 150 Kneeland St.

Amid “seismic shifts” in the hotel industry and capital markets, Boston-based Hudson Group is seeking to build 115 one- and two-bedroom residential units. No changes are proposed for the size of the 220-foot-tall, 96,500-square-foot tower designed by RODE Architects, according to a BPDA filing. The project will retain the previous plans for food and beverage, meeting and fitness space on the ground floor.

The changes were endorsed by a nearly unanimous vote of the Leather District Neighborhood Association on Jan. 21.

To comply with Boston’s inclusionary development policy, Hudson Group has designated the Chinese Economic Development Council as recipient of its affordable housing contribution to support 20 units reserved for households earning 30 to 50 percent of the area median income on Oxford Street in Chinatown.

“With the filing of the notice of project change, we take the next step in our efforts to reinvigorate this site at the heart of the Kneeland Street development corridor. We have been committed to the Leather District for more than 25 years and look forward to continuing that investment at 150 Kneeland St. by providing much needed new housing and neighborhood improvements,” Hudson Group said in a statement.

COVID-19 has upended the hotel market in Greater Boston, previously one of the nation’s strongest with a balanced mix of business, leisure and convention business. The Boston and Cambridge hotel markets topped 80 percent in occupancy for seven consecutive years through 2019, according to Boston-based consultants Pinnacle Advisory Group.

After the pandemic hit, occupancy dropped to 26 percent, while revenues per available room dropped 80 percent to $43.

COVID Sinks Leather District Hotel Project

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min