Boutique Hotel May Be in Works on Waterfront

The former Kayem property in the waterfront district on Winnisimmet Street has been sold to a prominent Boston developer who will likely be clearing the old buildings in order to make way for a new venture which is likely to be a hostel or something akin to that.

A noted Boston hotel developer told the Record this week that he has, indeed, entered the design phase for a potential boutique hotel and restaurant on the corner of Winnisimmet and Williams Street.

Paul Roiff – a principle at Heath Properties in Boston – said that he understands the challenges of the site, but believes it could be perfect for a special kind of development.

“It’s a funky-shaped parcel and there have been some issues with previous developers there,” he said. “We’re trying to minimize the impacts with direct abutters and neighbors. I love that area. We bought a couple of buildings not long ago in that area on Pembroke Street. I think it’s a special little pocket over there. We’re looking at putting a small boutique hotel with a restaurant. Nothing really expensive, but something nice.”

He said that in their market tests, he believes the site is in good proximity to a number of amenities, and that its historic nature, cobble-stone streets and views of downtown Boston lend to its untapped charm.

“We’re thinking the airport hotels are doing well and if Suffolk Downs becomes a reality, I think that will only help hotels in the area,” he said. “We’re definitely taking a look at doing a small boutique hotel with a  restaurant there. That’s the direction we’re heading now, and my architect and I are working on the plans. We’ll get it ready in the next month or so and then meet with the City and with the neighbors.”

Roiff successfully developed the XV Beacon luxury boutique hotel on Beacon Hill some years ago and is the owner and partner in a number of successful luxury restaurants in Boston – including Mistral and the former Federalist.

He paid $600,000 for the property, which has been vacant for more than four years and previously served as a giant refrigerator for the Kayem Company.

The property was brokered by two well known Chelsea real estate men – Michael Albano and Roy Avellaneda.

Although Albano was not inclined to discuss Roiff’s development options or plans, he said this: Paul is a first class investor who knows what he’s doing. Whatever he does will be done first class and will be the right thing for the site and for the neighborhood. Chelsea is lucky to have such a quality developer coming over here to get involved.”


The site most recently had been sought by a local businessman wanting to locte a tortilla factory there.

That effort failed before the local Zoning Board of Appeals after local residents expressed concern about that type of use for the property in the neighborhood, which is largely made up of late 19th Century residential buildings.

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