Chain Forge Project Finishing Paperwork, Hopes for Construction in April

Developing the Navy Yard’s Chain Forge building into a hotel was never going to be easy, but delays have mounted against the developer, but this week CV Properties said it isn’t enough to stop their efforts, and they are hoping to start construction this April.

The project looks to create a 216-room hotel in the old Navy Yard chain manufacturing building, create a museum in the lobby and feature a restaurant on the ground floor – among other amenities. However, working out all of the details and financing for the project has been a two-year process so far, but Dick Galvin of CV Properties said all of the paperwork could likely conclude soon.

“We’re hoping in the next 60 to 90 days to get that paperwork done and be in a position to get on to full-scale construction and really be flying in April,” he said. “It is a $150 million investment and we’re anxious to get going and think it’s a fantastic location…Projects like Chain Forge can really be complicated and hard to do. They are things that take time, but in our experience, they are worth the wait in the end.”

He cited a project done in recent years by CV Properties in Providence that included the rehab of an old, decommissioned power plant. It is now the award-winning South Street Landing development, which he said won accolades once finished.

Already, the Chain Forge is on the agenda at the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) for this Thursday, and the further – and hopefully last – delay is expected to be granted. However, that delay will include another ‘delay fee’ paid by the developer to the BPDA, with the total in fees now being $845,000 – according to BPDA documents.

Galvin said many of the complications include the environmental remediation, the historic rehabilitation (they are in a National Park), and being in a residential neighborhood.

A further complication has been working with the National Parks on how to display the old equipment and what to do with much of what is left in the building. There are 35 pieces of chain making machinery that will be displayed in the lobby, with one piece being outside. That has taken time to negotiate.

A second issue is the Opportunity Zone federal program that CV Properties wants to take advantage of, making the project more appealing to investors. They have been waiting for months for the federal government to release the guidelines for that program, and that was finally done in December.

“That designation doesn’t create any true benefit,” he said. “All it does is potentially give investors a better return 10, 12 or 13 years from now.”

All in all, Galvin said there is progress and there will be much more activity on the site in the near future.

“It’s complicated,” he said. “We have a (hotel) brand picked, and an investor identified.”

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