|BOSTON - Jiten Hotel Management's planned $17.4 million Boston hotel will not be ready in time for the Democratic National Convention in July.
But the company plans to complete remodeling work on its latest New Hampshire hotel in time for the first-in-the-nation primary there.
Jiten is gearing up to begin construction on a 164-room Courtyard by Marriott Boston.
Last month, Jiten bought the 196-room Wayfarer Hotel in Bedford, N.H., for $6.1 million.
"It has the biggest convention center in all of New Hampshire - big enough for 650 to 700 people," said Neil Patel, Jiten's director of business development.
Overall, he said, the hotel will be a hot spot for presidential-primary activities, and CBS News is set to have its election headquarters there.
His company plans to do $1.5 million in work before the end of the year. This will include such things as replacing carpeting and wallpaper.
The Wayfarer is next to the large Bedford Mall.
Jiten also owns three hotels in Manchester, only several miles away from the Bedford property. It finished construction on the 100-room SpringHill Suites Manchester, just last year.
The N.H. property is Jiten's 16th hotel. All told, Jiten has 12 hotels in Massachusetts and New Hampshire and four in New York, said Patel.
The company's largest is the 200-room Holiday Inn MetroSouth in Brockton, Mass., the home of Jiten's headquarters.
As for the Boston project, the company is looking to get started this month on the 164-room Courtyard by Marriott Boston - as soon as it gains needed building permits, said Patel.
If the foundation for the six-story building is completed before winter, construction can continue right through the colder months.
In August, the Boston Redevelopment Authority gave the green light to the project. An additional city hearing, Patel said, is expected to be "just a formality."
Jiten will pony up one-quarter of the $17.4 million construction cost and borrow the rest, he said. It is leasing the land from Southeast Realty Trust, he said.
The new hotel will be next door to Jiten's 118-room Holiday Inn Express Boston, also six stories. Jiten bought the property in 1997; it had been a Howard Johnson's motel.
"Especially in the summer months, we find ourselves doing a lot of business," said Patel. "We see the potential for doing more."
Overall, he said, occupancy rates for the Holiday Inn Express Boston are about 80 percent.
A shuttle bus that goes to Logan International Airport sees a lot of activity, he said. "We get a lot of business from the airport."
The company's property is just off Interstate 93 in Dorchester, near the South Bay Mall.
The planned Courtyard by Mariott is a "mid-market" hotel that will charge somewhat more than Jiten's Holiday Inn next door, Patel said. He estimated the room rate at the Marriott would be about $140, as opposed to $120 at the Holiday Inn Express.
The Marriott will have some things the other hotel does not, he said, pointing to plans for a restaurant that serves a hot breakfast and a bar serving wine and beer. The Holiday Inn does not have a liquor license and only serves a continental breakfast.
Regarding the market for new hotels, Patel said the original plan had been to get the Dorchester hotel on line before the Democratic Party convention, set for downtown Boston in July. That would have required starting work in the summer, since it will take 11 to 12 months to build the hotel.
It is the first time Jiten is building a hotel in Boston, and the process took longer than expected, he said.|