The Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved a change of lease for the RopeWalk project in the Navy Yard at its monthly Board meeting on Thursday, March 19.
The RopeWalk was supposed to be substantially occupied and generating rental revenues by January, but delays in construction and financing over the years had led to that not happing. With the project 90 percent complete, the developer was going to run into a default on its lease if the BPDA began charging rent.
On Thursday, after a careful investigation over the last few months by a consultant, the BPDA Board approved a change in the conditions to allow the project to move forward and become occupied, while delaying rent payments to the BPDA for three years.
“Approved by the BPDA Board earlier this month, the amended ground lease for the BPDA-owned Ropewalk Complex builds on the Agency’s commitment to use public land for public good by creating more affordable housing opportunities for the neighborhood,” read a statement from the BPDA.
Charlestown real estate professional Grace Bloodwell has been representing the project locally and is in the process of leasing the 97 units that are soon coming online.
“We are excited about the collaboration of Ropewalk and the BPDA, as well as the recent agreement,” she said. “We look forward to a continued partnership as we work towards completion. Our work with BPDA is just one of the components that makes this an exceptional project.”
BPDA officials, for their part, did require some positive public amenity for the change in terms of their lease. That came in the form of lifting the affordable housing percentage from 13 percent to 25 percent. Now, there will be 25 affordable units in the RopeWalk project that will be phased in over a number of years on a prescribed schedule.
BPDA officials said enforcing a default on the lease would have benefitted no one, as a nearly finished project would have no value to any other developer – particularly a challenging development like the RopeWalk building.
Construction continues on the RopeWalk, and it is expected to be completed very soon.