BRA Approves Hotel Project in Navy Yard

March 18, 2015
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The developer planning to bring a 230 room hotel to Charlestown Navy Yard received Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) approval this week.

The $85 million project will transform a historic maritime building into a new hotel and restaurant. Chain Forge Hotel LLC will develop the Chain Forge Hotel, located on a BRA owned parcel at the Navy Yard. The historic building at 105 First Ave. in the Monument Area of the Navy Yard was once used a hub of maritime chain manufacturing in the area.

The development team plans to build a five-level, 180,000 sq. ft. hotel development encompassing the entire current structure on site and adding an additional level on the rear of the building.

According to plans approved by the BRA there will be approximately 230 hotel rooms within the hotel, with an associated hotel lobby area, conference rooms, pool, fitness center, 6,000 sq. ft. restaurant, and historical exhibit showcasing the building’s prior industrial uses.

“The developer will construct within the existing footprint of the vacant building to create several interior floors as well as an additional floor on one side of the property,” wrote the BRA in its ruling. “The hotel, designed by BH&A Architects, will manage approximately 200 off-site parking spaces for guests with the help of a valet parking service.”

A critical component of the hotel redevelopment is the historical exhibit area located within the lobby atrium.

In 2014, the developer commissioned a study in consultation with the Boston

 National Park Service to determine the historically significant pieces which should remain on-site and be included in the exhibit. The study determined that 38 machines were of significance, with some pieces being the only remaining in the world.

According to plans the exhibit will allow visitors and guests at the hotel to view 38 pieces of historical machinery owned by the United States National Park Service, and retained onsite as an interpretive exhibition.

According to plans these pieces will be on display in the atrium/lobby space in areas where the public can visit and view the history of the building. The ground floor space will open up to the atrium and allow visitors to experience what was termed  “the cathedral of industry”, and gain an understanding of the monumental space as it was when fully operational from 1904-1973.

With the project being located within the Historic Monument Area of the Navy Yard Navy guest and visitor parking will be fully accommodated off-site in the existing Boston AutoPort area of Charlestown by way of valet attendants. A parking space rental agreement has also been discussed with the owners and operators of the AutoPort, and the Proponent has been assured there is ample available supply to meet the needs of the hotel and restaurant use.

 The hotel building has been designed to historical design guidelines, as agreed to by five parties who hold an approving vote on the projects final design. The BRA, the National Park Service, Philadelphia (regional office), National Parks Service, Boston, Massachusetts Historical Commission, and Boston Landmarks Commission will all meet to agree on the changes necessary for redevelopment to occur.