With slow business due to COVID-19, and a resumption of the sales process, the Constitution Inn in the Navy Yard announced it will officially close its doors on Oct. 31 – putting the Inn back on the market to sell while the YMCA will continue to operate for at least three or four more years.
James Morton, YMCA of Greater Boston president, said the Inn re-opened in June under the COVID-19 guidelines, but has operated since then with about 20 percent occupancy. He said they worked with educational institutions looking to house students, but that didn’t work out either. Now, Morton said they have decided to close the Inn and focus on selling the property.
“We are announcing that we will close the Inn on Oct. 31 and the property will return to the market for sale,” he said. “That closing will allow the continuation of marketing the property to those that might be interested in purchasing the Constitution Inn itself. Our intent is to keep the YMCA open and in full operations for three to five years while we look to find another location in Charlestown, where we intend to build a new full-service YMCA.”
The news isn’t new news, in fact. The Inn has been difficult to operate for the YMCA, and they put it up for sale last fall. However, COVID-19 hampered their efforts significantly and they had to put any sale on hold.
“We took it off the market for a couple of months because the market for a couple of months because the market was hampered as COVID-19 was in full steam,” he said. “During the last six months, our organization has been focused on providing families, children and seniors with food. For the first five months, we also provided essential child care to the children of essential workers.”
Now, he said, the YMCA is focusing on operating Learning Centers or Pods for school children to come to for remote schooling – while also being enriched by YMCA activities when not in classes. All of that, he said, was top priority over selling the Inn, but now they have decided the time is right to get it back on the market.
“We believe the space is feasible for a number of different uses and options, including a hotel,” he said. “But it could also provide student housing for one of our local universities or colleges. It could provide a condo development for individuals wanting to purchase real estate in Charlestown. There are a number of different possibilities. It’s a great space and a great location and the building is in great shape. It’s also close to several health care providers in the Charlestown Navy Yard, so it’s convenient for those services as well.”
The Inn property has 147 rooms, a lobby and a large function room. It has significant square footage, Morton said, and is obviously in a prime location close to downtown.
Meanwhile, the existing Charlestown YMCA is going nowhere, he said, for the next few years. There are no major announcements on where they might land after their time expires in the Navy Yard, but they’re working on ideas.
“We’re just beginning the process of exploring other options, but we’re early in that process and we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch,” he said.