Berkeley hotels

New owners plan $20 million upgrade to Back Bay Hotel

Photo courtesy of JLL

The new owners of the former Loews Boston hotel will spend $20 million on updates and renovations to the 225-room property following a $117 million acquisition.

A joint venture between AKA and Electra America rebranded the 154 Berkeley St. property as Hotel AKA Back Bay. The new owner targets what it calls the “bleisure” traveler who extends a business trip for extra nights to explore the city, and the visits generated by the local higher education sector.

Pending changes include the addition of a whiskey cellar and wine tasting room to the Precinct Kitchen+Bar, a new private dining room and a library-style seating area in the lobby, AKA announced after last week’s acquisition.

“As we pursue our ambitious yet thoughtful growth strategy, we remain committed to growing the AKA brand in the nation’s most culturally significant destinations,” AKA CEO Larry Korman said in a statement. “Boston has long been a city of interest and we are thrilled to introduce the tailored AKA experience to discerning Boston visitors.”

Additional renovations are underway to the fitness center, theater spa and a “reimagined rooftop,” AKA said. The 225 rooms will be redesigned.

Electra America Hospitality Group has acquired six hotels in the United States through joint ventures since its launch in early 2021, when it raised $725 million for a new hotel fund. AKA is a division of Korman Communities, which has a hotel portfolio including properties in New York, London, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Miami, West Palm Beach, Washington DC and Alexandria, Virginia.

Boston’s hotel market was one of the hardest hit countries during the early stages of the pandemic, amid disruption of business and leisure travel in urban areas. The region followed most major US hotel markets in returning to pre-pandemic occupancy levels.

“While Boston’s hotel recovery has lagged in some markets, it’s poised to rebound once business and group travel return in earnest,” Electra America Hospitality Group CEO Russ Urban said. in a press release.

OP USA Debt Holdings II LP, a subsidiary of Oxford Properties Group, provided $105 million in acquisition financing, according to a Suffolk County Deeds Mortgage. The seller was a subsidiary of New York-based Perella Weinberg Partners Capital Management.

The JLL Hotels & Hospitality team working on behalf of the seller was led by Senior Managing Director Jeffrey Davis, Managing Director Alan Suzuki, Director Matthew Enright and Analyst Noelle DesLauriers.

The hotel opened in 2004 following a conversion of the 1926 building that was the headquarters of the Boston Police Department until 1990.