A reworked proposal for a new hotel in Kenmore Square includes much more than adding hospitality and retail space.
If it proceeds, the project endeavors to make navigating the square easier for drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians by reconfiguring roads.
Set for 560 Commonwealth Ave., the Kenmore Hotel would measure 299 feet tall with 28 stories, according to Diana Pisciotta, spokesperson for Mark Development. The flatiron building would feature 389 rooms and 1,500-square-feet of retail space — for a total of 221,000 square feet.
It’s a $200 million investment, Pisciotta said, adding that $15 million would be dedicated to roadway improvements. When complete, traffic would move through the square like a “signalized round-about,” according to the developer.
A new southbound street would run behind the proposed hotel, sliding eastbound Commonwealth Avenue traffic over to Beacon Street and eliminating about 200 feet of the southbound portion of Commonwealth Avenue. The change allows westbound Beacon Street traffic to join Commonwealth Avenue traffic and move south to Beacon Street once motorists have proceeded through the square. About 300 feet of Beacon Street’s westbound lane would be removed.
The changes would allow for shorter crosswalks and bike lanes buffered from traffic by parked cars.
“It’s definitely safer for motorists,” said Jeff Speck of Speck and Associates, the firm behind the reconfiguration proposal. “There is more turning and more calm driving, but as currently modeled it doesn’t lengthen driving times.”
The hotel doesn’t come with parking, and Speck says he anticipates most people will be taking ride sharing services or public transportation to get to the hotel. There would be a valet parking for those who do drive there.
“Hotel guests are our ideal neighborhood members because they tend to come without cars,” Speck said. “They tend to eat out, so they’re walking around looking for places to eat and they’re patronizing the micro-local economy.”
The updated proposal comes about two years after Robert Korff, who owns the Citizens Bank site, brought initial hotel plans to the city and was met by criticism from neighbors, who feared the new hotel would “overwhelm their building,” as well as from city officials, who said the experience for bicyclists and pedestrians wasn’t greatly improved, according to the Globe.
The project still has a ways to go before shovels hit the ground. It will likely be under review by the public for several months, the Globe said.