So far the relationship between the new owners of what has become known locally as the ‘Loftel’ project and neighbors has been rocky at best.
Since developer and restaurateur Paul Roiff sold his Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) approved project to Boston Trade International for $14.75 million, residents have been anxiously awaiting construction to begin on the boutique-style hotel on the corner of Orleans and Porter Streets.
Boston Trade International, owned by the Patel family, has taken some hits in the community as abutters to property have complained for months now that the old industrial factory looks worse than ever.
Members of both the Gove Street Citizens Association (GSCA) and the Jeffries Point Neighborhood Association have been seeking answers from the Patels on when the building would be cleaned up and construction would start once and for all.
At Monday night’s GSCA Sudhir Patel assured the group that construction would begin soon.
“The Boston Planning and Development Agency is looking at the original (Paul Roiff’s) approval and comparing it to the plans we submitted to make sure they match up,” explained Patel.
Under BPDA guidelines if a developer purchases an already permitted project that received BPDA approval and changes more than 10 percent of the approved project it is subjected to further BPDA approvals and an additional community process.
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.
According to the BPDA website a “75,000 square foot boutique hotel is approved for construction on the site and will incorporate an existing gutted historic industrial building”. The approved BPDA plans allows the old industrial building on the corner of Porter and Orleans Streets to be turned into a ‘loftel’ style hotel with 127 guest rooms. The BPDA also called for a green roof and additional lighting to make the building more appealing to the neighborhood that surrounds it while cutting down on noise.
At Monday night’s meeting Patel said his company plan to honor the design and concept put forth by Roiff’s team when they owned the property. That concept included a boutique-style hotel with amenities like a full service restaurant or cafe on the ground level that would breath new life into the neighborhood.
“We are also working with the Architectural Commission to bring back the original windows that were part of the building in the 1920s,” said Patel.
Once permits are pulled and exterior work and windows placed on the structure, Patel said the interior construction could take about 12 to 15 months.
Patel said once the BPDA signs off on his company’s plans in order to make sure no drastic changes have been made he can pull his building permits and get to work.
Residents and members of both the GSCA and JPNA hope the Patels do not change the original design and concept too much.. The Patels already put some on edge when they announced at previous community meetings they would abandon the independently owned ‘Loftel’ concept and partner with a national chain. The Patels said they would still ensure the hotel would still have the look and feel of a small independently owned hotel despite a nation brand sign on the building.
When asked by a GSCA member to give members the ‘top three’ hotel chains he was eying–Patel said it would most likely be a Hilton, Marriott or Continental.
“We are leaning to a more higher end chain,” he said.