The Bowditch Award

Mark Stebbins, Leo Xarras & XSS Hotels


The WBDC is pleased to recognize Leo Xarras and Mark Stebbins from XSS Hotels as the 2017 Robert S. Bowditch Economic Development Award recipients.  This prestigious award is given each year in the memory of Robert Bowditch, a founding member of the WBDC.  The recipients are annually selected based on Mr. Bowditch’s expectation for success in economic development.  Both Leo and Mark from XSS Hotels have exceeded this standard over the last 20 years in the City of Worcester.


XSS Hotels was the very first tenant in the proposed Gateway Park in 1995.  Leading the way in brownfields redevelopment, XSS Hotels creatively took title to a contaminated site in partnership with the Central Mass Economic Development Authority on Grove Street.  The enterprise served as a pilot brownfields project prior to the passage of the Massachusetts Brownfields Act of 1998.  XSS Hotels constructed a 134-room Courtyard by Marriott Hotel on the site which launched the development of Gateway Park.


Leo and Mark did not stop there.  XSS Hotels acquired another very difficult site off Plantation Street adjacent to the Massachusetts Biotechnology Park, and constructed a 122-room all-suite Residence Inn.  This hotel met the needs of the University of Massachusetts Medical Center and the Biotechnology Park by offering a longer stay product for hospital staff and patient families.


Following the success of Plantation Street, XSS Hotels returned their sights to Gateway Park and constructed a second hotel, the 100-room Hampton Inn and Suites on Prescott Street.  This new state-of-the-art hotel offered business travelers an additional accommodation option, as well as meeting an increasing demand for hotel beds in Worcester.  Incredibly, XSS Hotels was not done.  In 2015, they announced the development of a 168-room AC Marriott Hotel to be constructed downtown in CitySquare, with an expected opening in the Winter of 2018.


Leo and Mark are not just your typical developers.  They are both huge supporters of the communities in which they do business.  Many are not aware that it was Leo Xarras who introduced Worcester’s CitySquare project to Roseland.  Consequently, they are not constructing over 300 units of market rate housing in downtown Worcester.  Additionally, many are not aware that Mark Stebbins was the pioneer at Gateway Park, who in 1995 envisioned the idea for the contaminated site and took a chance on the development.


For these reasons and so much more, the WBDC is pleased and honored to recognize Leo Xarras and Mark Stebbins from XSS Hotels by naming them the 2017 recipients of the Robert S. Bowditch Economic Development Award.


Past Bowditch Award Recipients include:

2016 – QCC, Gail E. Carberry
2015 – Congressman James P. McGovern
2014 – Michael V. O’Brien
2013 – Unum Group
2012 – David P. Forsberg
2011 – Timothy P. Murray
2010 – Charles & Janet Birbara
2009 – Mary C. DeFeudis, Frederick H. Eppinger
2008 – WPI, Dennis Berkey
2007 – Robb & Madeleine Ahlquist
2006 – Charles F. Monahan Jr.
2005 – John M. Nelson
2004 – Abbott Bioresearch Center, Dr. Alajandro A. Aruffo
2003 – John LaPoint, Sheila Ide
2002 – The Crowley Family
2001 – Robert E. Maher Jr., Joseph A. Podbielski MD, Alan M. Stoll
2000 – William J. Short
1999 – John D. Hunt