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BOSTON-One of the city’s rare value options for hospitality product has changed hands. The 66-room Shawmut Inn in the emerging North Station district has been acquired for $11.5 million by Gemini Real Estate Advisors of New York City in a deal negotiated by CBRE Hotels.

“We really like what we see happening in Boston,” Gemini managing director Atit Jariwala tells GlobeSt.com in explaining the firm’s inaugural investment in the market. Gemini is especially upbeat about securing the Shawmut Inn at 280 Friend St., he says. The hotel not only serves a clientele frequenting the Boston Garden sports and entertainment complex across the street, but also the leisure and business sectors, all areas offering promising growth going forward, he says. Boston’s Financial District is a five-minute walk from the property, which also is close to Faneuil Hall Marketplace.

The Shawmut Inn opened in 1995 after a $2-million conversion from a five-story office building. At the time, North Station was a gritty commercial district darkened by two hulking viaducts, one the Central Artery and the other an elevated transom for the Green Line subway system. A difficult economy had resulted in numerous vacancies amongst the district’s office buildings. Despite the struggling environment, the Shawmut Inn boasted impressive occupancy levels early on, with rents of $100 to $150 per night serving a constituency not willing to pay double and triple that commanded elsewhere in the city.

Gemini does hope to push the rate from a budget range to mid-priced product, Jariwala says. Although details are still not hammered out, the firm will make some physical upgrades to the property, with capital improvements to the rooms and common areas, plus a repositioning of the ground-floor retail. Several national brands are being considered that could lead to a re-flagging of the hotel as well, but Jariwala says no decisions have been made in that regard.

Besides a healthy hotel climate for Downtown Boston, coupled with the planned capital investment, the Shawmut Inn is poised to move up to the next level in step with the surrounding area, Jariwala says, praising the results of the Central Artery and Green Line depression projects that have opened up North Station after decades in the shadows. More than $1 billion in public and private investment is being pumped into the neighborhood, which is also known as the Bulfinch Triangle. “Older urban city centers rarely experience the revitalization that is occurring in the Bulfinch Triangle and we are very excited to be a part of it,” Jariwala says. “We think it has a very bright future.”

Shawmut Inn’s developer, a North End firm led by principals Donato Pizzuti and John Wise, put the hotel on the market more than a year ago, retaining CBRE Hotels broker David McElroy to oversee the process. McElroy says the opportunity generated substantial interest, both from hoteliers and those who see the building as a prime development site.

As for Gemini’s platform, McElroy says he anticipates a positive outcome. “It’s going to be a home run for them,” he says, echoing the reasons detailed by Jariwala. The lengthy marketing effort also produced the desired outcome for the sellers, McElroy adds. “It was well-received and I think they are happy with the response,” he says.

Jariwala would not identify other prospects being considered by Gemini in Boston, but did stress an interest to make other real estate investments regionally over the near term. The firm’s big specialties are hotels and retail properties, including several hospitality focused ventures in New York City. The firm earlier this month paid $31 million for the 78-room Times Square Comfort Inn and has completed retail acquisitions this year in locations as far a field as Florida, Oklahoma, Texas and Vermont.

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