Chain Forge Project to Move Foward

April 6, 2018
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The Chain Forge building has long held a lot of promise in the Navy Yard, but the planned hotel and restaurant space in the former red-brick Navy building has to date only held delays and complications.

The Chain Forge building in the Navy Yard on First Street is planned to house a 230-room hotel and restaurant, but to date, it has faced many delays. However, this week the project had its first City hearing prior to construction at the Conservation Commission.

All of that looks to change as CV Properties, the designated developer of the City-owned parcel, has filed with the Conservation Commission and was to have a hearing on Wednesday night, April 4, which was too late for Patriot-Bridge deadlines.

CV Properties didn’t return numerous inquiries from the Patriot-Bridge for comment.

However, the Boston Planning and Development Agency Director Brian Golden said he was excited to see the vacant, dilapidated building move forward with its long-pending plans.

“Chain Forge represents one of the last remaining undeveloped parcels in the Navy Yard, and we are pleased to see development at this currently neglected and dilapidated site move forward,” he said. “The project will spur local economic development while restoring historic aspects of the original building.”

The Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard have long been interested in the project moving forward, but did not want to comment this week before the hearing.

In the Notice of Intent (NOI) filed with the Con Com late last month, the details of the project are laid out.

The long barracks-style building runs the length of First Street, and is planned to host a 230-room hotel and a small museum space to display the chain-making equipment that once operated in the building. The building was commissioned by the Navy for making chain in 1904, but has been vacant since 1974.

Sources indicated that the most current plans include a large restaurant space in the plans, something that has been called for in the Navy Yard to activate the area further down towards Spaulding.

The NOI to the Con Com comes due to the project being within the 100-year floodplain and within land subject to coastal flood inundation during storms.

The plans call for the ground floor to be raised 18 inches over existing conditions, making it above the flood zone.

Most of the work will take place in the interior for some extreme renovations, but there will be outside work, including curb replacement, site utility work, re-pointing of the building façade, landscaping, re-paving and installation of new windows.  Utility work will include trenches for sewer line connections and new manhole. The stormwater management system will be installed near the rear service entrance along the Second Avenue walkway. In the same area, a new switch and transformer will be installed on a concrete pad out of the flood zone.

There was no timetable for when construction might begin if the Con Com gives an Order of Conditions. However, a trip to the Con Com is usually a good indicator that construction is coming.

The project got approvals in 2015, but hit snags with financing and red tape regarding the site and the machinery in the building. The BPDA board had granted extensions of the project for the past two years in three-month intervals