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BOSTON-A few weeks after the board of the Boston Redevelopment Authority postponed making a decision about approving the redevelopment of the former Charles Street Jail into a 305-room luxury hotel because of the developer’s failed negotiations with the hotel workers’ union, the board has suddenly approved the project.

Developer Richard Friedman has yet to come to an agreement with the union but according to Meredith Baumann, spokesperson for the BRA, the agency has been “apprised that they are back at the table talking.” Baumann, tells GlobeSt.com that the BRA is not getting involved in the union issues. She says that the BRA tabled the initial vote because they felt there were issues that “needed to be pondered. Now, we feel confident that in approving the [project] issues will be worked out.”

At issue is a “neutrality agreement” which the union wants Friedman to sign. The agreement would state that the hotel operator would agree to allow its workers to be part of the union. Sources tell GlobeSt.com that Friedman is saying the lack of a flag for the hotel is keeping him from signing the agreement. But industry sources insist that as a developer, Friedman can sign the agreement. “If it wasn’t in his purview as a developer to sign the agreement, this wouldn’t be an issue,” says a source.

Friedman is not out of the woods yet. He still needs to go before the city’s zoning board because the size of the project necessitates that the area be designated a planned development area. That process opens the door for additional public input and the union issues could rear its head then, becoming a thorn in Friedman’s side again.

He also has yet to nail down financing for the project. At the hearing, Friedman said that final financing would come together once all the regulatory approvals were in place but hotel financing in the area has become notoriously difficult recently.

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