Photo courtesy of JLL

The new owners of the former Loews Boston hotel will spend $20 million on updates and renovations of the 225-room property following a $117 million acquisition.

A joint venture of AKA and Electra America has rebranded the 154 Berkeley St. property as Hotel AKA Back Bay. The new ownership is targeting what it calls the “bleisure” traveler who extends a business trip for additional nights to explore the city, and visits generated by the local higher education sector.

The pending changes include addition of a whiskey cellar and wine tasting room at Precinct Kitchen+Bar, a new private dining room and a lobby library-style seating area, AKA announced following last week’s acquisition.

“As we continue our ambitious yet thoughtful growth strategy, we remain dedicated in our commitment to developing the AKA brand in the country’s most culturally significant destinations,” AKA CEO Larry Korman said in a statement. “Boston has long been a city of interest and we are delighted to introduce the bespoke AKA experience to Boston’s discerning visitors.”

Additional renovations are taking place to the fitness center, theater spa and a “reimagined rooftop,” AKA said. All 225 guest rooms will be redesigned.

Electra America Hospitality Group has acquired six hotels in the U.S. through joint ventures since its launch in early 2021, when it raised $725 million for a new hospitality fund. AKA is a division of Korman Communities, which has a hotel portfolio including properties in New York, London, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, West Palm Beach, Washington D.C. and Alexandria, Virginia.

Boston’s hotel market was one of the nation’s hardest-hit during the initial stages of the pandemic, amid disruption of business travel and leisure trips to urban areas. The region has trailed most of the major U.S. hotel markets in returning to pre-pandemic occupancy levels.

“While Boston’s hotel recovery has trailed some markets, it’s poised for a strong rebound once business and group travel returns in earnest,” Electra America Hospitality Group CEO Russ Urban said in a statement.

OP USA Debt Holdings II LP, an affiliate of Oxford Properties Group, provided $105 million in acquisition financing, according to a Suffolk County Registry of Deeds mortgage. The seller was an affiliate of New York-based Perella Weinberg Partners Capital Management.

The JLL Hotels & Hospitality team working on behalf of the seller was led by Senior Managing Director Jeffrey Davis, Managing Director Alan Suzuki, Director Matthew Enright and Analyst Noelle DesLauriers.

The hotel opened in 2004 following a conversion of the 1926 building which was the Boston Police Department headquarters until 1990.

New Owners Plan $20M Upgrade at Back Bay Hotel

by Steve Adams time to read: 2 min