Omni Boston Seaport Hotel Breaks Ground And Gets Hit With A Lawsuit
Work is underway on what will become Boston’s fourth-largest hotel, but lawyers are sparring over what it will eventually be named.
The 1,055-room Omni Boston Seaport Hotel is officially under construction, as Omni executives, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Martin Walsh broke ground Tuesday on the $550M project. But a lawsuit concerning a similarly named hotel that has operated near the Omni site since 1998 could put the Omni moniker in jeopardy, WCVB reports.
A lawsuit filed Monday on behalf of the Fidelity-owned Seaport Hotel concerns Omni’s use of “Seaport Hotel” in its own name. While the 21-floor Omni is the latest addition to the popular Seaport neighborhood, the Seaport lawsuit says the hotel giant is infringing on a brand the smaller 428-room hotel created when it opened in a neighborhood that looked a lot different 20 years ago than it does today.
“When the Seaport Hotel first opened in 1998, the waterfront area in which it is located was described by the Wall Street Journal as ‘a ghastly mix of polluted junkyards, construction cranes, parking lots and warehouses badly in need of new development,’” the lawsuit states. “Today, in stark contrast to 1998, the area is a hotbed of residential, business, and hospitality growth.”
The lawsuit notes existing and potential customers would become confused by Fidelity’s Seaport Hotel and Omni’s Boston Seaport Hotel a few blocks over. It points to other businesses in the neighborhood using variations on “Seaport” and “Seaport District” as ways to not impact the Seaport Hotel’s trademark before stating, “there is only one ‘Seaport Hotel’ in the Seaport District (or anywhere in Boston).”