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Boston Real Estate: Question & Answer Session with Saunders Hotel Group Chairman

Gary Saunders, Saunders Hotel Group, Boston Hotels, Boston Condominiums, Back Bay Hotels, Back Bay Condominiums

Gary Saunders, Chairman of the Saunders Hotel Group

It was not long ago when we released exciting news stating the future plans for the corner of Stuart and Clarendon Streets. What has been proposed by the renowned hoteliers Gary and Jeffrey Saunders is a 33-story glass tower to be known as 40 Trinity Place, which will be comprised of 115 luxury condominiums, 3 restaurants and 227 hotel rooms. Just recently, Gary Saunders, the Chairman of the Saunders Hotel Group, enjoyed a lovely and informative Question and Answer session with the Boston Business Journals Thomas Grillo. Sanders firm is already in control of the luxurious 214-room Lenox Hotel in Bostons Back Bay neighborhood, and the aforementioned 40 Trinity Place is the next big ticket item on the agenda to get going.

In this interview, Saunders gave insight to his opinion on the future of the Boston skyline, one which he will have a massive part in redefining:

Boston Business Journal: The Back Bay has more than 6,600 hotel rooms, according to the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau. Whats the evidence that the Back Bay needs more beds?

Gary Saunders: If you look at the Lenox, its proof positive that theres demand for the right kind of hotel. A good hotel will always be a successful and good service will always be in demand through all kinds of market cycles and thats what I think we do well.

Boston Business Journal: Richard Friedman at Carpenter & Co. is proposing a 50-story tower that will house a hotel and condos next to the Christian Science Plaza in the Back Bay. Are you worried about the competition?

Gary Saunders: Not at all. We think we run great hotels and that is our business. We are not developers as much as we are owner-operators. The Trinity Place project was a development opportunity that really hit our sweet spot. We hope it will be a dramatic improvement to an otherwise very dull and unlively streetscape in the Back Bay where there are five empty retail spaces within a block and a half and theres just no activity at the street. We feel very confident that our project will create some vibrancy and activity and enliven the street.

Boston Business Journal: Your project would include condominiums. How much will the condos cost?

Gary Saunders: We are very fortunate to have a great Back Bay location, and location is the number one driver. I cant say. We expect to be at the top of the market.

Boston Business Journal: Will the prices compare to The Clarendons at about $1,600 per square foot?

Gary Saunders: Absolutely.

Boston Business Journal: Whats been the reaction to the project from the neighborhood?

Gary Saunders: Weve had some really positive reaction from the general population in the Back Bay. We are a Back Bay family, everything weve done in the city is in the Back Bay. We are totally committed. People recognize that we are owner-operators, we are not here to develop a property and flip it. We are here to own and operate this hotel. We are celebrating our 50th anniversary of owning the Lenox.

Boston Business Journal: When do you hope to have a groundbreaking?

Gary Saunders: Early next year

More Information: Boston Business Journal

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