Although the permits granted in 2016 by the Boston Zoning Board of Appeals for the ‘Loftel’ project on the corner of Orleans and Porter streets are still valid, the new attorney for the project did not want to take any chances.
At last week’s ZBA hearing Attorney Richard Lynds asked and was granted an extension on the 2016 permits to make sure they were still good through the 10 to 14 month construction phase for the project.
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. The Patels bought the permitted and Boston Planning and Development Agency-approved project from developer and restaurateur Paul Roiff for $14.75 million.
The owners recently announced they have retained Attorney Richard Lynds to help get the project to construct a 123 room boutique-style hotel over the goal line.
Lynds told the ZBA his client plans 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.
Lynds understood the frustration from the community about nothing being done to the building since it was purchased from Roiff.
“There’s a lot of talk in the community about why the delay,” said Lynds. “As most of you know there are a number of telecommunication antennas on the roof of the building. The owners have been in a long dialogue with the owner of the antennas on how to best relocate them on the roof to make it more aesthetically pleasing. These antennas are part of a telecommunication easement. You cannot evict them from the building because they are the owners of the space they occupy on the building’s roof.”
Lynds told the ZBA the telecommunication equipment will remain on the roof but moved to the middle so it will be less visible.
Another reason for the delay is that the Patels have applied for a Historic Renovation Tax Credit as part of the project.
“While the building doesn’t strike you as a historic building there is some significance and history to the property,” Lynds said of the old shoe factory. “It does have some historic value in the neighborhood and applying and receiving tax credit funding ensures that the redevelopment of the building is done in a way that respects the property’s history and is incorporated into the hotel’s design.”
The owners said they have been working with the Architectural Commission to bring back the original windows that were part of the building in the 1920s.
As far as a timeline Lynds said he is hopeful that can get full building permits issued before the end of the year.
“The owners are eager to get this off the ground, each day that construction is not happening is costing them money,” said Lynds. “This is something that won’t take forever once the permits are issued.”