Historic Ropewalk Building Reopens in Navy Yard

The newest address in the Navy Yard – the Ropewalk Building – is probably the most unique address in all of Boston.

With the longest hallway in the City, repurposed units with amazing industrial flair, and a short walk to the waterfront – the developers and the Boston Planning and Development Agency this summer are celebrating the long-anticipated delivery of the building into the City’s housing stock.

Pictured (left to right) John Shaffer, Jessica Murphy, State Rep. Dan Ryan, Rick Shaffer, Devin Quirk, Grace Bloodwell, and George Ozorowski cut the official ribbon on the Ropewalk residential re-development in the Navy Yard on June 30. The units are expected to be occupied no later than Sept. 1, and leasing has been brisk since last spring.

“Every unit has a little distinct touch of the industrial past preserved within it,” said Grace Bloodwell, who is marketing the units to prospective tenants. “They are also bigger than most Charlestown apartments – plus having modern amenities like air conditioning and laundry with the feel of 1838 all around you. It’s been a long journey, but the timing has been great in getting it done.”

On Wednesday, June 30, officials marked the completion and formal reopening of the historic Ropewalk Building in the Navy Yard with a ribbon cutting. The building has been renovated from its former role as a U.S. Naval rope manufacturer into new apartments, containing both affordable-rate and market-rate units.

Inspired by the late state senator, Joe Timilty, Sr., the vision of the Ropewalk Building to be transformed into new housing for all became a reality through the collaborative work of public private partnerships. The funding for the project consisted of federal and state tax credits, a creative option on lease payments and a combination of private equity and lender financing.  

“We have seen the potential of what the Ropewalk Building could be for years,” said Rick Shaffer, Vision Properties Development Partner. “To be able to maintain the decades of history behind the building while reimagining it into modern housing units was truly an experience. We are thrilled to see the building officially reopen.” 

The New Ropewalk Boston Building contains 97 very unique residential units with at least 20 percent of the units being reserved as affordable, allowing people of all incomes to have access to housing in the historic Navy Yard. It is contained within several buildings – the Spin House, the Tar House and the Head House Annex, which sports some large, cool townhouse units. With new lighting and streetscape surrounding the building, residents can enjoy the “Flirtation Walk” area for a positive experience both inside and outside the building. The Ropewalk Building also offers a museum with thoughtfully designed exhibit space with photography and memorabilia dedicated to preserving the lifelong history the building holds. 

“This completion of this project is a major achievement in delivering on the Navy Yard Master Plan’s vision for modern re-use of historic properties,” said Director of Real Estate for the BPDA, Devin Quirk. “The activation of this property, along with preserving 25% of the new apartments as affordable housing, are important wins for residents of Charlestown.”

After years of sitting abandoned, the Ropewalk Building has been brought to new life by the dedicated team of partners and developers. Through eight years of envisioning and planning, the dream of Joe Timilty, Sr., has finally been put forth.

Units include Studios to three-bedroom units, and the market rate ranges are $2,300 to $4,600 per month. Occupancy is expected no later than Sept. 1.

Bloodwell said it’s been exciting to show off the units and the amazing work that has been done to bring the project to the market.

“It’s a mix of people we’ve seen,” she said. “People come in and are so excited about the property. It’s fun to show it because of the reactions you get and it’s just extremely unique. Most people coming to seriously look end up taking a unit and that’s been the norm in my experience.

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