By John Lynds
East Boston residents who supported and hoped that a Paul Roiff signature hotel would breathe new life into the Orleans Street corridor, are sure to be disappointed this week.
It was announced that Roiff has sold his Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved ‘Loftel’ project to another hotel developer.
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, received support for the Loftel project from local neighborhood community groups.
According to published records in the Suffolk County Register of Deeds, Roiff sold the Loftel project for $14.75 million to hotel developer Boston Trade International, owned by brothers Pravin and Sudhir Patel.
A 75,000 square foot boutique hotel is approved for construction on the site and will incorporate an existing gutted historic industrial building. The site last sold in October 2013 for $2.1 million prior to the hotel’s approval. Boston Trade has acquired $10.3 million of financing for the hotel project through Northern Bank & Trust Company.
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), the BPDA approved the project.
The approved BPDA plans aims to convert the old industrial building on the corner of Porter and Orleans Streets into a ‘loftel’ style hotel with 127 guest rooms.
Originally Roiff wanted to build 150 guest rooms and add an entire level to the building. However, this plan was rejected by the community and the addition of an entire floor was eliminated to cut down on the height.
The approved proposal now has more parking spaces, up from 65 to 68.
The BPDA also had the prior developers add 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 under Roiff was the planned restaurant and cafe on the ground floor that will include a Roiff-brand eatery. However, this will no longer be the case under the new ownership.
“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 BPDA in their ruling on the project.
Developers permitting a project and then selling the project to another developer are nothing new in Eastie. The Seville project was planned and permitted by the Lombardo Family who later sold their interest to another developer after gaining BPDA approval. The project had to follow the BPDA approved plans or face going back before the community and an additional community process.