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.

Fort Point Channel / Innovation District / Seaport District / South Boston Waterfront apartments and condos available
Apr 2011 15

If you’re looking for an apartment or condominium home in the hot Fort Point Channel / Innovation District / Seaport District / South Boston Waterfront neighborhood, you have plenty of options, with more coming soon.

The Boston Herald had an article in today’s newspaper about the neighborhood, pointing out many of the options.

They talk about the new Atlantic Wharf apartments. Originally planned as condos, the developer of this new office / residential hybrid chose instead to take advantage of the hot rental market, building 85 “loft-style” units.

Boston Properties has just completed Atlantic Wharf, consisting of residential, restaurant and commercial space between the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway and the harbor.

The Lofts at Atlantic consist of 85 luxury rentals priced from $2,200 to $8,000 per month with amenities including a clubroom lounge, a fitness facility and on-site boat slips.

Also in the area are the FP3 condos, priced from the $400,000′s to over a million. Further into the neighborhood is the Park Lane apartment complex, practically at the tip of Boston, facing its Harbor and near the new Liberty Wharf destination spot, complete with restaurants and bars.

There is also a wide selection of already-built condo projects in the neighborhood, including the Channel Center, along with attractive, spacious lofts in the Leather District, near South Station.

And, just a block from Atlantic Wharf are the Residences at the InterContinental and Rowes Wharf.

For more information about rentals and condos in these neighborhoods, send me an email.

Above, artist’s rendering of the lofts at Atlantic Wharf.

Condo association fights and arguments cause trouble
Feb 2011 23

If you want to own a home in downtown Boston, just about 90% of you are going to end up living in a condominium. The lucky/fortunate few will be able to buy a single-family home, but the vast majority of you (us) are going to end up owning a floor in a five-story walk-up with neighbors in very close proximity to us, a part of what’s known as the “condo association”.

A few weeks back, the Boston Globe ran a series of articles on what it’s like to live in a condo association. Basically, hell on earth, was their point of view. There was the story of the condo owner in a building on Beacon Hill who basically hated her neighbors who hated her back.

But, for most of us, living with others in a condo building is simply a part of life. Infrequently do we get involved in the personal lives of our neighbors – we may never even see them in the hallways for months at a time. (Yes, it’s true.)

The Boston.com real estate blog had a clever little entry about the different types of condo associations you might encounter. I think the author, Sam Schneiderman, hit it right on the head, in his Challenging condo associations entry.

He organizes the typical condo associations under five headings. Which one’s yours?

1.) Financially-mismanaged condo assoc.
2.) Physically-mismanaged condo assoc.
3.) Invisible condo assoc.
4.) The broke condo assoc.
5.) The well-managed condo assoc.

I’ve never been a part of any of those, truth-be-told. Maybe well-managed, but that’s only because it was still under the control of the builder, and he took care of everything.

Each of the other four comes with its own set of problems. If I had to rank, the “financially- and broke-association” is worst: the type of association where there’s never enough money to pay for desperately-needed repairs. Try coming up with $30,000 as a special assessment from owners when you need a new roof. Better would be to have monthly condo fees sufficient to build a capital reserve. And, these days, not only is it wise because you’ll have money on hand, it’s practically a necessity if you ever expect to get a potential buyer approved for a home loan.

If your association has low owner-occupancy, then you may have already encountered the “physically-mismanaged” association. If a lot of owners are renting out their units, and they live elsewhere, they probably don’t know or care about leaks or broken doors – they just want their rent checks. Only a disaster or major crime will get a rise out of them.

A commenter adds one more: There’s also the mentally mismanaged condo association, with at least one member who is both highly vocal and bats**t insane. Apparently this is required by city ordinance in Cambridge, where every association has one.

Boston condo sales volume down in January, avg. prices down
Feb 2011 22

The Warren Group is out with condo and single-family home sales data for January 2011.

Condominium sales in Massachusetts posted a significant decrease in January, dropping almost 18.5 percent to 808 from 991 in January 2010. January marks the seventh consecutive month that condo sales decreased in Massachusetts.

The median condo price in January also declined 4.6 percent to $233,750 from $245,000 in January 2010.

Boston Proper condo sales dropped 4.76% from January 2010.

The median condo price dropped, according to the Warren Group, by 19.23%, from $572,000 to $462,000.

The drop is confusing to me because of the size. Obviously, something else is going on here.

Let me take a closer look and get back to you. My guess is that we had a bunch of high-end condo sales closings (The Clarendon and/or The Bryant) that is skewing the numbers.

Fourth group bails on Rose Kennedy Greenway developments
Feb 2011 17

Sad news regarding the Rose Kennedy Greenway.

The Boston Globe reports today that the YMCA has canceled its plan to build a new facility on a parcel atop the Rose Kennedy Greenway. It’s the fourth and final organization to pull out after being awarded rights to build. The others are the New Center of Arts and Culture, the Boston Museum, and the Massachusetts Horticultural Society’s “Garden Under Glass”.

The most disturbing part of the announcement is what was said by a city official regarding future plans for the multi-acre swath of land.

I spit up my lunch at this quote:

“The notion that this could be one continuous space, and not subdivided by buildings, is a powerful realization,’’ said Kairos Shen, the city of Boston’s chief planner. “The question now is, how do we make sure there are enough activities on or around the Greenway to bring more people down there?’’

The four parcels set aside for buildings were chosen because they are the sites of off- and on-ramps from and to the now-submerged Central Artery.

Leaving them exposed means no one will be able to enjoy the entire walk from one edge of the Greenway to the other. It won’t be aesthetically pleasing, at all.

This latest development means we are back at square one. The wrong decision would be to not build anything. With a turning economy, perhaps now is the time to hear new proposals. By the time they get going, we should see a lot more spending, both private and public. We can certainly find people to donate money to fund new museums and centers.

I was ambivalent about the YMCA proposal, only because the facility wouldn’t be located in a neighborhood, but beside it (the North End). The other proposals were for projects that could be enjoyed by “everyone”.

But, it’s a moot point. They all failed.

The Greenway was conceived from the beginning as a mix of open space and short buildings to be used by community and cultural organizations.

That’s the only smart decision those in charge of the Greenway have made over the past twenty years!

The image above is from the Boston Globe website. It comes from the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority – because, of course, they’re involved, too

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