Lisa Howe

Ground lease acquisition and rehabilitation of two adjoining historic buildings - the Ropewalk and Tar House - into a synergistic combination of artist studios, light industrial spaces, office space and medical research facilities. The Ropewalk building is 1325 feet long, and the two buildings were constructed in 1838. 


The development consists of the acquisition and rehabilitation of two adjoining historic buildings, the Ropewalk and Tar House, into a synergistic combination of artist studios, light industrial spaces, offices linked to the thriving medical research endeavors surrounding the site, and cafes to support the new and existing workforce and residential population. The unique Ropewalk building is 1325 feet long and located within the Charlestown Navy Yard, a neighborhood in Boston, Massachusetts. Both buildings were constructed in 1838 and are considered the most historic buildings within the Navy Yard, which is a key part of the Boston National Historical Park tourist destination.

The buildings have been vacant since 1970 and were acquired in 1973 by the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA), Boston’s planning and redevelopment authority. The lack of development since decommissioning make them one of the only remaining and the most intact ropewalk in the United States. These buildings provide a direct link to our industrial ingenuity. Developing the buildings into artists’ studios, light industrial space and research facilities, continues the buildings’ use as a center of innovation where ideas are explored and new technologies discovered.

The primary goal of this development is to design and construct a project that respects this incredible historic resource while simultaneously incorporating the best sustainability practices. We have the opportunity to respect the past through the restoration and the future by touching the earth as lightly as possible with the construction products we use and the efficiency of the operating systems. The building was constructed of durable, locally sourced materials that, properly maintained, could easily remain in service another 250 years.


University of Maryland,

Building ARC 145, College Park, MD 20742





© 2014 Colvin Institute of Real Estate Development