47-story Copley Square condo tower will be city’s 3rd-tallest
Sep 2011 30

More images have been released of the 47-story condominium tower proposed for Copley Square, in Boston.

The tower, if built as designed, will rise 625’8″ above what is now an empty plaza next to the Copley Place Mall. It would be Boston’s third-tallest building, after the John Hancock Tower and Prudential Center Tower.

Opposition has been fast and furious, mostly focused on the amount of wind and shadow the tower may or may not bring to the immediate area, which includes the Tent City apartment complex, Boston Public Library, and historic Copley Square.

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Images from the Boston Redevelopment Authority website, from the developer’s DPIR.

Mandarin Oriental Boston condo for sale, $12.5 million
Jul 2011 13

A home in the luxury Residences at the Mandarin Oriental condominium project has just been listed for sale with a price of $12.5 million.

You might remember that last month a different condominium at the Mandarin was sold, for $13.2 million. That sale stuck out because the home had never been lived in and was a “shell” in somewhat “raw” condition. That unit, PH2-E, had ~6,800 square feet of living space as well as 3,000 square feet of private outdoor space.

This home, however, is built out.

From the MLS listing:

The Residences at the Mandarin Oriental offer five-star living in the heart of Boston. Unit West 11-B offers 6,000 ± sq. ft. of living space with a gracious floor plan including three bedrooms, four full baths, two half baths and three fireplaces. Beautifully finished with custom detail throughout. Front-facing, it has exposures on three sides and terraces on the north and west sides with fabulous views over Back Bay and the Charles River. Two deeded garage parking spaces and additional storage.

Another million dollar sale took place in June. Unit W12-B is a ~4,900 square home that sold for $12.2 million.

Please contact me for more details and to discuss how I can help you as a buyer’s agent.

Photo of listing above from MLSPIN; the property is listed for sale with Terrance Maitland of Landvest.

54 condos proposed for Broad Street, Boston – Near the Rose Kennedy Greenway
Jul 2011 01

Developer David Goldman’s New Boston Ventures is proposing a new 16-story luxury residential building to be located just steps from the Rose Kennedy Greenway, according to the Boston Business Journal.

Currently the site of several restaurants and offices amongst several buildings, 102-110 Broad Street is also home to the ‘Littlest Bar’.

Ironically, that restaurant/bar, a Boston institution, had to move from its earlier location, on the site of what is now another luxury building, 45 Province.

The proposal plans for the “preservation and restoration of the (circa) 180-1807 Bullfinch warehouse at 102 Broad Street and the introduction of housing above the ground floor retail and restaurant space,” according to paperwork filed with the city of Boston / Boston Redevelopment Authority.

Broad Street is home to several condo projects including the Broadluxe and Folio Boston. At 131 Broad Street, chef Jason Santos is preparing for the imminent opening of his ‘Blue Inc’ restaurant.

That block is within 100 feet of the Rose Kennedy Greenway and within walking distance to Boston’s financial district, shopping district, and Boston Harbor, as well as to South Station and commuter rail, Amtrak, and transportation to Boston’s Logan Airport.

New Boston Ventures is co-developer of The Modern, a 62-unit condo project in the South End, completing construction during the next two months.

W Boston Residences wins reprieve from bankruptcy court
Jan 2011 31

A US Bankruptcy Court judge has just ruled in favor of the W Boston Hotel and Residences, and stopped Prudential Insurance Company’s attempt to take-over control of the project.

The ruling by the judge values the condo and hotel at sufficient collateral for Prudential’s $192 million loan. As such, the project will now have the time to prepare and implement its restructuring plan.

SW Boston Hotel Venture, the developer, expects to present its restructuring plan by the end of March and to emerge from bankruptcy court by the end of June.

As of now, approximately 34, 42% of the 123, condos have sold, with an estimated value of $25 million. Another 13 units are under agreement.

The Boston Globe reports that the developer has paid off part of its obligation to Boston and now owes $6 million of its $10 million loan.

UPDATE: The W Hotel has issued a press release: Court Ruling Clears Way for Continued Ownership of W Hotel and Sale of The Luxury Condominiums (warning, .doc)

New condo lending guidelines may add add’l hurdle
Jan 2011 13

A good job, a big down payment, and great credit will go a long way to getting you approved for your mortgage loan.

There’s just one other thing you’ll need and it’s completely out of your control.

If you’re thinking of buying a condo in a new project, you will have to hope that the project is able to qualify for third-party approval or you’ll likely find your options to be limited when looking for a lender.

The New York Times has a great article on this in yesterday’s newspaper.

The guidelines and approvals come from Fannie Mae, the buyer of home mortgages; Freddie Mac, its smaller competitor; and the Federal Housing Administration, which insures loans. The rules were meant to help strengthen their balance sheets as they faced a surge of loan defaults in the condo market.

“If a condo project is not approved, it makes it very difficult to get financing for a first-time purchase or refinancing,” said David Adamo, the chief executive of the Luxury Mortgage Corporation in Stamford, Conn.

According to the article, the National Association of Realtors estimates that as many as 23,000 condo projects nationwide may lose FHA approval over the coming months.

In order to qualify for FHA approval, generally the project has to have 30 percent of its units sold, the condo association must have a certain amount of money set aside in reserves, and there are limits on how many units can be investor-owned. Fannie Mae’s and Freddie Mac’s guidelines tend to be stricter.

If you can’t get a loan the “traditional” way, you can always use a local lender or through something like your work’s credit union. You may end up having to pay a higher interest rate, however.

What it means to you is that you should do a good amount of due diligence before making an offer on a condo in a new development. Find out if it qualifies for approval. Make sure your offer is contingent upon getting mortgage loan approval by a lender and that you can withdraw without risking your money, if it doesn’t.

Talk with a mortgage loan professional.

More: Stricter Lending Guidelines for Condos

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