By: Robin Shannon, Managing Editor
A 30-story skyscraper that had once been part of a void of activity in the heart of the Central Business District is the latest example of the changing face of downtown real estate.
HRI Properties is nearing the end of a two-year, $100 million redevelopment of a 50-year-old office tower at 225 Baronne St. into a Starwood-branded Aloft Hotel and 192 apartments on the upper floors. It’s dubbed The Strand, a nod to the Strand movie theater that was demolished to make room for the tower.
The project joins a growing list of new developments in the city’s urban center that either involve adaptive re-use of existing buildings or new ground-up construction, with many of these new projects targeting a younger generation of travelers and residents.
Josh Collen, HRI Properties’ vice president of development, said the Aloft brand, one that targets millennial travelers, ended up being a perfect fit for what the company was trying to achieve.
“A large percentage of new Aloft hotels are being built as adaptive re-uses of former office properties,” Collen said.
The office tower has been vacant for the past 10 years. With more than 420,000 square feet of open space in the building, Collen said it was too large to be exclusively hotel space. The Aloft operates floors 11-17 with a ground floor lobby and floors 18-30 were reserved for the residential component.
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