The Board of Appeals today approved plans for a 159-room hotel on Dorchester Avenue near where it crosses the South Boston Haul Road - and Track 61, which is the last remaining rail link between the Northeast Corridor and the South Boston Waterfront.
The hotel, which will have 60 valet parking spaces, will be designed to allow for a possible train station on Track 61, should it ever be put into use for passenger trains. In the waning days of the Patrick administration, state transportation planners began developing plans to run service between Back Bay and the convention center via the track, but one of Charlie Baker's first acts was to cancel that idea. The MBTA is now looking to install a third rail along a portion of the track for use as a test bed for the new Red Line cars that could begin arriving by year's end.
Developer Jason Cincotta said a new station, if service ever came, would make the hotel even more transit friendly than it already is just down the street from the Broadway stop on the Red Line.
Cincotta and his attorney, Joe Hanley, told the zoning board today that although the hotel would be in position to handle overflow booking from large events at the convention center - and is talking to the convention-center authority about possible shuttle service between the two - its main role will be to handle the needs of the rapidly expanding population in South Boston for a place for relatives and friends to stay.
A hotel operator has yet to be selected for the building, which will feature function rooms on the top floor.
The building, on a half-acre site, will replace an Enterprise car-rental parking lot.
246-248 Dorchester Ave. project-notification form (has additional renderings and more details; 53M PDF).