Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Can Bedford Support Another Hotel?

With the recent closing of the Bedford Travelodge, a question that frequently comes up is: Should another hotel be built in Bedford?

Taking a look at current hotel rates in the Bedford area, it seems like there is high demand by business travelers. The full service hotels, Bedford DoubleTree and Burlington Marriott are currently over $300 a night during the week and $100-150 on the weekend. The other nearby hotels such as the Billerica Hampton Inn or Billerica Courtyard range from about $150-250 during the week and around $100 on the weekend. Further away from the business parks, the prices are lower for The Bedford Plaza and Bedford Motel (close to $100 during the week and a little lower on the weekends).

It might make sense to add a business oriented hotel near the Crosby Drive area. The challenge would be filling enough rooms on the weekend. If I had to pick a location, I would go with Burlington Road (MA62) between Crosby Drive and The Melting Pot where there are a couple of vacant office buildings. This is right off Route 3 but still very close to Crosby Drive and Middlesex Turnpike.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Panera Bread coming to Bedford

Panera Bread is currently scheduled to open before the end of the year at 213 Burlington Road. This is the same building as Bamboo, Flatbread Pizza and The Melting Pot. Unlike most Panera Breads, this location is primarily going to be focusing on take out and delivery with a minimal seating area.

As part of the construction, some additional parking spaces are going to be built in front of the building (which is currently grass) facing Burlington Road/MA62.

There are existing traditional Panera Breads located in Burlington, Lexington (recently opened) and Waltham. Panera Bread also owns Paradise Bakery & Cafe which has locations primarily in the Southwest  but does have a location at the Prudential Center in Boston.

It's interesting to note that Panera Bread actually has a Chief Concept Officer to work on new restaurant concepts. They are forecast to open about 120 new stores this year.

I don't know if this Panera Bread will have a different name (Panera Bread Express?). It's interesting that Bedford appears to be one of the first locations for this different concept. With the nearby office parks, it seems like they are targeting office workers with this location.

What do you think? Is this a good idea?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Firebox BBQ to Add Bar Area and Update Menu

Firebox BBQ at 347 Great Road will undergo a quick renovation starting September 15th. The renovation will include adding a bar area to the rear of the establishment. The restaurant is expected to be closed for around 4 days while the renovation are completed.

Firebox, which was recently approved for a full alcohol license (previous it held a beer and wine license), will see major updates to it's menu. Along with the new menu, Firebox will also roll out waiter service at dinner.

Stay tuned for more details.