A development team has proposed putting a 12-story, 200-room hotel – dubbed preliminarily as the Ballroom Hotel – on the current site of the Wonderland Ballroom.
Attorney Gerry D’Ambrosio said the proposal is in the very early stages, and the development team is still not being identified publicly.
Other sources indicated that the team was based out of Newton.
“It’s in the early stages right now, but they’re making a lot of progress,” said D’Ambrosio. “The potential is for a 12-story structure just a little under 200 rooms with an attached garage. The attached garage is about seven floors. It’s definitely early on and the renditions speak to the potential of the site…They’re putting their money where their mouth is. They’re spending a lot of money to do the plans and to bring this all to fruition. If a casino comes in, that makes it all the better.
“It really is the perfect location,” he continued. “It’s on the ocean. It’s right on a highway. There’s a T stop. Hopefully it will also service a local casino. There’s a lot of promise here.”
The current ballroom, in the plan, would be demolished.
D’Ambrosio said the City has been excellent to work with so far – especially given that the site falls within the Wonderland Transit Oriented Development zone, qualifying it for expedited zoning and permitting.
“It’s been great working with the Mayor’s Office,” he said. “Developers really love to hear that the community and the Mayor’s Office is willing to work with them. It’s always good when the community realizes where development potential is and is willing to accommodate it.”
Ward 5 Councillor John Powers said he had been apprised of the proposal and supports it 100 percent.
“I’ve always been supportive of hotels,” he said. “The traffic is intermittent. We don’t pick up their trash. They don’t have kids that will go to the schools. They provide construction jobs and, after construction, permanent jobs for local residents. Hotels are a win-win for the City. I’m 100 percent for it.”
Right now, D’Ambrosio said they are working with the MBTA to secure easements, as access to the hotel would require travelling over T property.
“The Wonderland Ballroom goes from lot line to lot line and some egresses involve going over T property,” he said. “ We’re in discussion on that now.”
He said they are now working on the architecture, engineering, traffic studies and parking requirements.
As for a new ballroom, he said it’s still too early to tell.
“I guess that’s still up in the air,” he said. “It really comes down to the final determinations and we’re not there yet.”