Chain Acquires Hotel@MIT From Institute

MIT Will Still Own Land; HEI Looks ‘Forward to Building on the Hotel’s Past Success’

731 hotel
The Hotel@MIT (pictured), located on Sidney St. in Cambridge, is being sold by MIT and real estate company Forest City. The sale is expected to close in early December.
Ramya Sankar

The Hotel@MIT is being sold for an undisclosed price by the partnership of MIT and Forest City Enterprises to HEI Cambridge LLC, an affiliate of HEI Hotels & Resorts. The sale is expected to close by Dec. 5.

“MIT was a partner in the development of the hotel,” said Pamela Dumas Serfes of the MIT News Office. “The partnership decided that this was the proper time to sell the hotel to realize a return on its investment.”

Although “MIT does not have control of the hotel,” it will continue to own the land underneath the hotel and collect rent on the property, Serfes said.

“The adjacent Star Market and parking garage are not included in the transaction,” according to a Nov 7 press release issued by Forest City, a national real estate company. MIT owns the space occupied by Star Market and the parking garage.

“We are confident that HEI will uphold the quality and high-tech standards at Hotel@MIT that academics, students, businesspeople, travelers and the biotech community have come to expect since its inception in 1998,” Michael Farley, senior vice president of asset management at Forest City, said in the press release.

The Hotel@MIT “is our first property in the Boston/Cambridge Market, which has extraordinarily high barriers to new competition,” said Steve Mendell, HEI’s executive vice president of acquisitions and development, in the press release. “With its close proximity to MIT, the hotel is one of the city’s premier hospitality assets and we look forward to building on the hotel’s past success.”

A spokesperson from Mendell’s office said additional information regarding the sale would not be released until Dec. 5, the expected date for the close of the sale.

Jeff Linton, vice president of corporate communication at Forest City, said the two parties had reached a mutual agreement not to disclose additional information before the sale was finalized.

Jones Lang LaSalle Hotels, a leading hotel investment services firm, brokered the sale. The firm could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Located on 20 Sidney Street, Hotel@MIT is a part of University Park, the culmination of a land development project led by MIT, Forest City, and the City of Cambridge in the 1980s. The park integrates research facilities with residential units, also housing a conference center and retail stores. A total of 10 research and office buildings of biotechnology companies, such as Alkermes, Novartis, and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, are located in the park.

The 210-room Hotel@MIT is known for its high-tech interior — its lobby features several robots from the MIT Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. According to an MIT Web site, “Hotel@MIT is our preferred hotel vendor, combining hospitality with technology and award winning architecture.” The site also advises campus visitors “to ask for the discounted MIT rate.”

A hospitality investment firm, HEI acquires, develops, owns, and operates luxury hotels and resorts such as Marriott, Sheraton, Westin, Embassy Suites, and Hilton.