A behind-the-scenes look at new real estate in one of America’s oldest cities.
By Geoff Nudelman
December 31, 2018
It’s an increasingly familiar scene: hundreds of young professionals mill about a farm-to-table lunch, a hip workout gear shop, or a SoulCycle spin class.
Across America, this is a common snapshot in newer cities where affluent 20- and 30-somethings are starting fresh in more affordable secondary markets.
But this particular scene isn’t happening somewhere new. It’s happening in one of the oldest cities in America: Boston.
While the traditional neighborhoods of Beacon Hill and Back Bay are still alive and well, the growth of Boston’s luxury offerings are front and center in Seaport–a neighborhood that was literally underwater until the late 1800s and is now thriving as an example of the future of American living.
“It’s truly an iconic location,” says Janice Dumont, CEO of Advisors Living, speaking about the site of new building Pier 4–a dramatic, curved, 106-unit enclave tucked behind the Museum of Contemporary Art on Seaport’s northern side.
Pier 4’s modern architecture (designed by renowned firm SHoP), full-service amenities, and integrated waterfront living are drawing buyers from far and wide to the urban environment. (Some are paying as much as $4,200 per square foot for penthouses.)
“[Based on all on of this], Seaport has created a new destination within the city,” Dumont says.
As much as a skyline dotted with cranes and construction is dizzying in Seaport, the center of traditional Boston luxury still resides in the #5 neighborhood of our Top 10 Priciest Neighborhoods in America: Beacon Hill.
“It’s a real village and a tight-knit community,” says Manuel Davis, senior vice president of Advisors Living and the exclusive listing agent at the Archer Residences, Beacon Hill.
The full-service, seven-story building (half of which was the original Suffolk University Law School) underscores the immense work and effort required to restore and modernize a piece of living history–and how attractive that proposition is to luxury buyers.
What started as 75 residences of varying sizes has been condensed to 61 condos due to buyer requests, many averaging above $5 million. (Davis could not give specific sales figures, but noted that they have been “robust.” The building will be completed towards the end of 2019.) The Archer Residences had to work with several historical commissions to carefully restore the combined building, retaining Beacon Hill’s trademark charm and style along the way.
Coupled with extremely limited inventory in single-family homes, Beacon Hill stands to remain an epicenter of Boston luxury for some time to come.
Just across Boston Common, the Four Seasons Boston Hotel and Residences remains another mark of traditional Boston affluence. Built in 1983, the residential side of the building has long been home to some of the city’s wealthiest people with a location overlooking the park and one of the earliest examples of modern, full-service amenity living in the area. Since its opening, residences have rarely traded on the market and haven’t been available for long.
The success of the original property spurred Four Seasons to build a large new residential/hotel hybrid tower just a mile-and-a-half away at One Dalton.
“It’s in a class all its own,” says Michael Carucci, executive vice president at Gibson Sotheby’s, which is the exclusive listing agent for the 61-floor project.
While he can’t reveal sales numbers, he did say that the building is 75 percent sold with “sales at a record pace compared to other Four Seasons projects around the world, and at price premiums above the Boston market that are higher than most price premiums achieved by other comparable projects in their respective markets.”
“Boston is becoming such a global destination [for the ultra-wealthy]. A lot of us were wondering: What took so long?” he says.
Opening in spring 2019, One Dalton will bring 160 condos perched above the new hotel, which marks a decided shift in the local luxury market. Three separate floors are earmarked as dedicated amenity spaces, with several floors at the top of the building reserved for unfinished penthouses. Pricing will range from $2.5 million to over $40 million.
Carucci noted that luxury buyers across the entire spectrum–not just the younger set–are looking for all-in-one, live/work/play lifestyles, drawing them to buildings in places like Back Bay and Seaport that are close to major commercial centers.
“There’s no longer an appetite for commuting,” he says. “It’s very important to people to not to sit in traffic anymore.”
Perhaps therein lies much of this newfound attraction to Boston: it’s a highly walkable city. End-to-end isn’t much more than an hour at a strolling pace, and many of these newer projects are taking advantage of the old “location, location, location” adage.
Boston’s next major neighborhood renewal, Lovejoy Wharf, takes advantage of its waterfront location. While Related Beal has already opened a 15-story, 157-unit building right next to the relocated Converse HQ (and complete with an Instagrammable restaurant facing the water), that’s just the tip of iceberg.
This largely quiet residential area sits next to TD Garden and a major transit hub, and as it stands could be Boston’s next micro-hotspot.
“The evolution has been really interesting,” says the Codman Company (TCC) managing director Sue Hawkes (TCC works with several residential properties throughout Boston). “It’s been a niche area that was formerly cut off by some of Boston’s man-made boundaries.”
Besides shoes and brunch, the Hub on Causeway is bringing a major mixed-use development–complete with Boston’s largest supermarket–to a site across the street from the sports arena. The planned residential and office components are aimed at attracting tech and advertising workers–the ones that can afford luxury properties and the required amenities of 21st century living. (Verizon has already pre-leased a significant chunk of the building’s available office space.)
However, all of this new inventory coming online may present new challenges for a city that has traditionally had a tight luxury housing market.
“The developers are going to have to deliver a really good product,” Carucci says, “because over the next couple of years there will be fierce competition for buyers. There’s no question about that.”
Meet the Archer Residences, 67 very fancy units coming to Beacon Hill in the near future. The Archer’s penthouse, which is currently the most expensive home for sale in the city at a whopping $18 million, is poised to be architectural marvel when it’s completed. Both levels of the home are connected by a floating wood-and-steel staircase enclosed by glass—and the shiny glass accents don’t stop there. Floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors in the main living area open directly to a rooftop terrace, where there’s a Jacuzzi and an infinity-edge pool.
Advisors Living is pleased to introduce our newest exclusive listing. This luxury new construction contemporary single family home is located at 175 K Street in South Boston. Designed by the local and talented architectural firm Embarc Studio, this home was built to offer a multi-level contemporary and luxurious lifestyle while maintaining the much sought after and often over looked traditional layout. The transitional finishes embody a pronounced elegance and sophisticated design, culminated by an exceptional use of material and craftsmanship.
THE SUBSTANTIAL FOUR BEDROOM HOME is remarkable in nature with its open concept and impeccable custom design. The abundant oversized Marvin integrity windows and the 10’ ceiling heights throughout offer a natural rhythm shared with the exterior, a design that prioritizes quality of light and use of space.
THE PROFESSIONAL CHEF’S KITCHEN features Jenn-Air stainless steel appliances. The custom painted light grey, beaded edged maple cabinets are accented by the Quartz Artic white honed counters which present clean and modern lines.
The build and layout exceeds by including a wonderful living room accented by a centered modern gas fireplace and a well-positioned separate dining area that fills with natural light via exceptional window placement.
The 29-story tower planned for 2 Charlesgate West will bring 173 new apartments to the area, as well as 122 condos and some office space.
Developer Trans National Properties is hoping to create an iconic new landmark in the city, that will serve as an eastern gateway to Fenway.
The three small buildings currently on the site will be demolished to make space for the completely iconic new development.
While specific details of the units have yet to be released, the building will also include a ground floor restaurant, parking spaces and resident amenities such as, outdoor terraces and grilling stations.
This development would be the latest in a number of new projects hoping to create major change in the Fenway neighborhood. Including the Van Ness luxury apartments and The Pierce.
Along with the development there will be new lighting and artwork installed beneath the Charlesgate overpass nearby. This will be done in collaboration with Artists for Humanity and the Boston Art Academy.
Contact our advisors for more information on all new developments in Fenway and the rest of Boston. Find your new home today!
Luxury amenities in new developments are becoming more common and increasingly important to residents and developers.
One of the top amenities seeing a major increase throughout Boston is upscale restaurants built into new residential developments.
By incorporating a restaurant into a luxury residential development, they are adding another level to the generic high-rise and making it into a community and giving residents easy access to another high level service.
Many new developments in Boston are bringing in luxury brands and head chefs to up the ante and attract more residents.
One of the largest scale developments utilizing this is Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing. PABU, led by award-winning chef Michael Mina, will open in the building this fall, but residents will also be able to experience the delicious cooking privately in the building’s owners’ lounge. Pre-measured ingredients will also be available for residents who prefer to cook on their own.
The Van Ness in Fenway is hoping to become a dining destination with several chef driven restaurant concepts and Porto has just recently opened in the Avalon in Back Bay.
Ink Block is a major complex in the South End that has really focused on creating a neighborhood feeling within the development, including opening Bar Menzanna, designed with residents and the success of the restaurant in mind.
By giving residents not only close access to highly sought after chefs and restaurants, but also the ability to gain private access or extra privileges is something that makes their new home even more valuable.
High rise development in Boston is booming and with more people spending more money on dining out, this was the logical step for most developers to make.
The speed of the current housing market is no secret, but depending on what neighborhood you’re buying or selling in, this speed can vary.
NeighborhoodX has put out a report looking at the speed at which condos in various Boston neighborhoods have sold.
By analyzing transactions from various Boston neighborhoods in the month of July and looking at data from the number of days condos were on the market, they were able to create a list of the fastest-selling neighborhoods.
Price also played an important factor in this analysis. The neighborhoods where condos spent the fewest days on the market had an average price of $450,000. The average selling price in Back Bay where the average days on the market were the longest, was $1.7 million.
For years the Downtown Crossing area has been a popular shopping destination, with plenty of retail and restaurants, but very little residents.
The transformation of this area into a more residential space started when Emerson College began building housing off Washington Street just a few years ago. Since then, developments have increased dramatically.
The iconic Millennium Tower has just been completed and the new development at Winthrop Square is expected to be complete by 2020. There have also been speculation about a skyscraper on Bromfield Street, however no plans are finalized for that space.
The Downtown area is always busy with a diverse mix of tourists, shoppers, residents and those working in the area. This diverse mix is only increasing with the added residential space, making for a very lively and inviting neighborhood.
Plenty of factors keep this area accessible to everyone and will prevent it from becoming solely sterile condo buildings.
The Millennium development at Winthrop Square Garage alone will bring a great hall with restaurants and retail and plenty of public space.
By the time these new developments are complete the city hopes to have a clearer picture of the future of this neighborhood, but it is clear right now that it is going to create a more residential, neighborhood feel in the heart of the city.
Doorbell is a new app developed by Harvard students hoping to connect building residents with one another and coming to Boston this September.
This multifaceted property management app focuses on creating quality co-living experiences with building residents, according to Bostinno.
The platform has already been tested in New York City and given developers a good idea of what residents really want before they launch in Boston this fall.
Doorbell allows residents in a building the opportunity to communicate, share goods and services, coordinate building events and other interactions. The inspiration comes from co-living environments and attempts to replicate the opportunities that stem from communal areas in buildings that may not have the same amenities.
Local stores and restaurants will also have the opportunity to become involved, by offering nearby residents special discounts and perks.
As for property managers who make use of the app, they will have functionalities such as ways to handle maintenance requests and rent collection.
Doorbell is first planning to launch in Cambridge and Somerville this fall, in Holden Green, Peabody Terrace and 45 Concord Ave. While Holden Green is a large development with 483 units, 45 Concord only has about 50 units.
In the future the app plans to expand to Fenway, particularly some of the new construction projects, where it would benefit from starting fresh with a new development and new residents coming in at the same time.