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Boutique hotel developer with ties to India to acquire Brunswick inn

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Boutique hotel developer with ties to India to acquire Brunswick inn

BRUNSWICK — A company led by a former Hilton Hotels executive in India is in the process of acquiring the historic Captain Daniel Stone Inn.

Abhijit "Beej" Das, president and chief executive officer of Boston East India Hotels, on Tuesday said he could not confirm any potential transactions that are under negotiation.

But business licenses approved last week by the town indicate the Boston East India is expected to take ownership of the inn by the end of the month.

Boston East India is also advertising on StarChefs.com for an executive chef to be a "key player in the redevelopment of a hotel project in Brunswick, Maine."

The company's licenses for inn-keeping and special amusement were approved last week and contain Das' name, the inn's name and address, and contact information for Boston East India's offices in North Andover, Mass.

The licenses also list what appears to be a subsidiary of the developer – Boston East Brunswick Holdings – as the new operator of the 10 Water St. inn.

The effective date on both licenses is Sept. 30.

Das, Hilton's former senior director of development for India, said there is typically a lot of due diligence involved before a developer acquires a hotel property. This could include obtaining licenses required by local and state governments.

The Captain Daniel Stone Inn has been on the market since November 2011, after it was relinquished by John and Kim Verreault of Tourism Properties LLC to a subsidiary of Saco & Biddeford Savings. The Verreaults acquired the property in May 2009.

Mark Gagnon, executive vice president of the bank subsidiary, said he was not in a position to discuss any possible transaction.

Brunswick Housing Authority expressed interest in acquiring the inn earlier this year for conversion to senior housing, but plans fell through in June.

Despite Das' reluctance to speak publicly about prospective ownership of the inn, he was happy to discuss the Boston East India's operations and its plan to develop hotels in America, parts of Europe and India.

Boston East India is an investment, development and management firm that began in January 2012. The developer currently employs 65 people at offices in North Andover and India, and draws from a talent pool mostly from outside the hotel industry, the CEO said.

Das said the company primarily focuses on development of boutique hotels in "gateway cities globally that have strong fundamentals, but are often under-served by quality lifestyle and mid-scale assets."

"I'm more about unique, curated experiences that are exceptional, unique and vibrant," he said. "When I started the company two years ago and started building our team, we really focused on small, curated things in off-the-beaten-path places that could be destinations."

Das said Boston East India operates one hotel called The Sofala in Goa, India, which opened earlier this year under the developer's subsidiary, Troca Hotels. The hotel employs 33 people and it cost between $5 million and $10 million to develop.

Boston East India is also developing two other hotels in Goa and one in Bombay, the CEO said, and has what he called "a pipeline" of projects in the U.S.

Das also professed his admiration for New England.

"I went to Middlebury College (in Vermont) and I love small college towns," he said, "because they have a truly extraordinary mix of people from all over the world who spend a lifespan of years contributing character to them."

Dylan Martin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or dmartin@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DylanLJMartin.