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BOSTON-Despite the difficulties developers are having securing financing for the anchor hotel next to the proposed convention center here, a number of smaller hotels are in the process of being built. It is these smaller projects that have enabled the city to reach its required convention center benchmarks to ensure that there will be enough hotel rooms in Boston to serve conventioneers.

A year ago, six hotel projects were having trouble getting off the ground; currently, five hotel proposals have secured financing. Three hotels are under construction and three are on the verge of breaking ground.

The 1997 state law that authorized the development of the $750 million convention center in South Boston required that there had to be 2,800 new hotel rooms by this year and an additional 4,800 rooms by 2003, when the convention facility is scheduled to open. “We now have 2,922 rooms completed,” Meredith Baumann, a spokeswoman for the Boston Redevelopment Authority tells GlobeSt.com. “Between the 473 rooms under construction and those with the approval process initiated, we will be at 4,601 rooms for the next benchmark.”

That number includes the 1,120 rooms of the proposed anchor hotel. Its developer, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. and its local representative, Carpenter & Co., have stated that it needs financial concessions in order to get the project off the ground. Whether the city is prepared to grant them is still unclear. Baumann believes that the benchmark numbers will be met even without the anchor hotel. “There are more than a handful of other hotels that are in the earlier stages and could go through the process more quickly,” she says. She is quick to add, however, that the anchor hotel “is crucial to the success of the convention center. In terms of location and convenience the city will need this huge hotel to accommodate conventioneers.”

Most of the other hotels that are being developed are relatively small. The Ritz Towers on Avery Street has 191 rooms. The Best Western Roundhouse on Massachusetts Avenue in Roxbury has 92. Both hotels are set to open within the year. A 190-room hotel is under construction at 90 Tremont St and site preparations have begun at both a 196-room hotel at Battery Wharf and the 149-room Commonwealth Hotel in Kenmore Square. The 270-room Embassy Suites in East Boston recently won financing and is expected to break ground soon.

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