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BRA Board approves $131 million in projects at March meeting

Mar 13, 2015

New hotel will transform historic building in Charlestown Navy Yard
The Board of Directors for the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) approved five development proposals at last night’s meeting. Combined, the projects represent over $131 million of investment in Boston’s economy, and they are projected to create nearly 500 construction jobs. New housing projects were approved for East Boston, Brighton, and South Boston, and a new hotel in the Charlestown Navy Yard also won approval. Several of the proposals on the agenda involve adaptive reuses of existing buildings.

Below is a summary of the projects that are set to move forward.

Historic building in Charlestown Navy Yard to be rehabilitated for new hotel and restaurant

Total Project Cost: $85,000,000
Total SF: 180,000
Construction Jobs: 353

Kavanagh Advisory Group received approval to redevelop the Chain Forge Building, also known as Building 105, in the Charlestown Navy Yard as a 230-key limited service and extended stay hotel with 6,000 square feet of restaurant space. The site, part of the Navy Yard’s Historic Monument Area, has undergone extensive environmental remediation for asbestos, lead paint, and contaminated soil and piping to make way for the new Chain Forge Hotel.

The developer will construct within the existing footprint of the vacant building to create several interior floors as well as an additional floor on one side of the property. The hotel, designed by BH&A Architects, will manage approximately 200 off-site parking spaces for guests with the help of a valet parking service.

Given the historic nature of the building, which once provided chain for the U.S. Navy, the National Parks Service, Boston Landmarks Commission, and Massachusetts Historical Society have all vetted and expressed support for the project. It has also received support from the Charlestown Waterfront Coalition, Boston Preservation Alliance, and the Friends of the Charlestown Navy Yard.

Former Gate of Heaven School to be redeveloped for housing in South Boston

Total Project Cost: $7,350,000
Total SF: 33,238
Construction Jobs: 31

Gate-of-Heaven.JPGAfter a lengthy community process, the BRA Board approved Ornamore Enterprises’ redevelopment plans for the former Gate of Heaven School in South Boston. Redevelopment of the property has been in discussion since the Archdiocese of Boston closed the school in 2008. While some community members pushed for another school to fill the vacant building, no viable option was found.

Ornamore’s proposal involves an adaptive reuse of the existing four-story building, which will contain 26 condominium units, with a mix of one-, two, and three-bedroom residences, when complete. Three of the units will be designated as affordable, in conformity with the city’s affordable housing policy. There will also be 40 on-site parking spaces.

The project, which has been under review by the BRA for over a year, will include renovation of the existing façade in order to preserve the historical details of the building. The bulk of construction will occur within the building’s interior, where new mechanical, electrical, plumbing, fire alarm, and sprinkler systems will be installed. The roof will also be retrofitted with a garden for residents.

The developer hopes to begin rehabilitation of the property by the fall, with the goal of finishing construction within a year.

Boston Teachers Union set to construct new headquarters in Dorchester’s Columbia Point

Total Project Cost: $23,000,000
Total SF: 52,469
Construction Jobs: 40

BTU-Hall-(2).JPGThe Boston Teachers Union (BTU) will replace its existing headquarters in Columbia Point with a brand new building and parking structure as part of a two-phase project. The first phase of the BTU Building Replacement Project entails demolition of the existing building and construction of a new three-story building to be used for the BTU Health and Welfare Fund Offices, union offices, an optical shop, a credit union, meeting spaces, and a function hall supported by 135 surface parking spaces. A 300-space, two-story parking facility will be constructed in phase two, which will alleviate BTU’s current need to utilize parking on the nearby University of Massachusetts Boston campus.

The project will include a pedestrian walkway in the direction of Carson Beach that could serve as a future connection to the Boston Harborwalk. Designers also incorporated a 6,500-square foot outdoor event plaza. Permeable paving blocks, rather than traditional asphalt pavement, will be used for aesthetic appeal and to filter storm water runoff. BTU hopes the project will achieve at least a LEED Silver designation for its sustainable elements.

BTU expects phase one construction to last from December 2015 to February 2017, with phase two likely occurring after the first phase is completed.

80 New apartments slated for 1505 Commonwealth Ave in Brighton

Total Project Cost: $9,000,000
Total SF: 67,000
Construction Jobs: 37

1505-Comm-Ave.JPGAn underutilized five-story office building will be transformed into 80 new apartments at 1505 Commonwealth Avenue in Brighton. Partners Propoerties, LLC will renovate the existing building and construct a new 8,000 square foot addition within the current footprint of the site. The developer anticipates a mix of studios, one- and two-bedroom units, and one-bedroom lofts. Ten of the units will be designated as affordable in accordance with the city’s policy.

There will be 80 on-site parking spaces for residents as well as a landscaped plaza that opens onto Commonwealth Avenue. The developer will make a voluntary contribution of $25,000 to the City of Boston’s Fund for Parks to help maintain green space in the neighborhood and a $5,000 donation to the Brighton Youth Soccer Program.

Construction is anticipated to begin in the third quarter of this year and last for 12 to 14 months.

New housing approved for East Boston’s Jeffries Point neighborhood

Total Project Cost: $7,000,000
Total SF: 36,275
Construction Jobs: 27

320-Maverick-Street.JPGThe site of a former gas station that has sat vacant for many years will be redeveloped with 33 units of housing in Jeffries Point, a short distance from the East Boston Greenway and Maverick Square MBTA Station. The project, located at 320 Maverick Street, will contain a mix of one- and two-bedroom units, as well as 32 on-site parking spaces. Four of the units will be designated as affordable.

Residents will have access to a courtyard in the rear of the building, and six penthouse units will include rooftop terraces that overlook Boston’s skyline.

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