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The Merano hotel to spark economic momentum downtown

New construction of a $165-million project near the TD Garden will provide the area with space for a hotel, apartments, restaurants and retail businesses, according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

The BRA approved the construction of The Merano, a project in the Bulfinch Triangle that will create 240 construction jobs and 275 permanent jobs, according to a BRA press release.

The project will consist of a 210-room Marriott Courtyard hotel as well as 230 residential apartments, restaurants and retail stores on the ground level, said John Meunier, COO and vice president of project management and development at the Boston Development Group, which is heading the project.

“The approval of The Merano is a sign of the great economic development momentum in the Bulfinch Triangle,” said Boston Mayor Thomas Menino in an email to the BRA. “With the addition of 230 units of housing at The Merano, on top of the more than 800 units already under construction or under review in this area, the Bulfinch Triangle is well on its way to becoming a 24-hour residential neighborhood.”

The Merano complex project is part of a larger ongoing development project to revitalize the economy in the Bulfinch Triangle and North Station area, said Melina Schuler, assistant director of media and public relations at BRA.

“Projects like The Merano are key to improving the city and moving these revitalization efforts forward,” Schuler said.

Meunier said he believes The Merano project will have a positive impact on the Downtown Boston area.

By adding a nationally branded hotel alongside residential apartments, more people will be residing in the area, resulting in more “pedestrian activity” at the street level, he said.

Schuler said the $165 million cost is mainly funded by private investors and developers who view Boston as a valuable city to invest in and expect their projects to do well.

The BDG agreed to contribute $50,000 to a traffic study by the Boston Transportation Department of the Bulfinch Triangle neighborhood, according the press release.

The BDG will also contribute $75,000 to support neighborhood improvements, $300,000 to the Boston Crossroads Initiative, $12,000 to the Bulfinch Triangle Streetscape Improvements Initiative and $500,000 for a future neighborhood park, totaling about $1 million in public improvements, according to the release.

The BRA first approved the plans for The Merano in 2008, which included two hotels, office space, stacked parking and space for retailers and restaurants, according to the release.

But due to the closure in office occupancy after the economic recession, the plans were revised to replace the offices with residential apartments, Meunier said.

Richard Parr, the director of policy at A Better City, a nonprofit organization that aims to improve transportation, land development and more in Boston, said it is a great thing to construct more residential buildings near the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

Vibrancy and economic activity will spill over into the parks, Parr said.

Parr also said building more houses near transportation creates more density in the core of the city, which is good for the environment and causes a much smaller carbon footprint.

The Merano project will begin construction in the spring and is expected to finish in two years, Meunier said.

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