By John Lynds
Following votes in favor of the East Boston Loftel project by both the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association (JPNA) and the Gove Street Citizens Association (GSCA) and the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) approved the project at its meeting last Tuesday.
The $20 million projects plans to convert the old industrial building on the corner of Porter and Orleans Streets into a ‘loftel’ style hotel with 127 guestrooms.
Developer Paul Roiff and his team, known for such celebrated restaurants as Mistral and Mooo Steak House as well as the renovation of the 1903 Beaux Arts building to create the luxury hotel XV Beacon and The Inn at St. Botoloph, made several changes to the project following a series of community meetings with both the JPNA and GSCA.
“We are very excited to be moving forward with the project that will bring new life to this historic building,” said Roiff in a statement Tuesday. “We are grateful to our neighbors for their strong support and look forward to creating a first-class hotel that both we and the East Boston neighborhood can be proud of.”
The approved plans to allow Roiff to restore the existing building at 175 Orleans Street and add 127 guest rooms. The guestrooms will feature loft-style 12-foot high ceilings, large windows, and exposed concrete.
Originally Roiff wanted to build 150 guest rooms and add an entire level to the building. However, this was rejected by the community and the planned addition of an entire floor was eliminated to cut down on the height.
The proposal now has more parking spaces, up from 65 to 68. The development team will also add a shuttle bus to reduce the number of vehicles coming to and from the airport or other locations.
The project team also added a green roof, and additional lighting to make the building more appealing to the neighborhood that surrounds it while cutting down on noise.
One of the biggest features of the project is the planned restaurant and cafe on the ground floor that will include a Roiff-brand eatery.
“A new restaurant serving hotel guests and the East Boston community will be constructed on the ground floor of the project, and a café facing Orleans Street will help to further activate this corner of the neighborhood,” wrote the BRA in their ruling.
“All these changes were the result of listening to the concerns of the IAG that was appointed by the Mayor and elected officials,” said Roiff. “We heard that the height was to tall so we lowered it significantly, which reduced the number of rooms. These other changes allows us to address the concerns of the community while satisfying the desire to have something along Orleans Street that brings activity there.”