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.”
A recent Institute for Policy Studies report offers a decidedly negative view of both the city’s luxury residential market and the homebuyers who support it. The study’s argument that the luxury buildings are populated by faceless corporate entities and international buyers seeking to park their money ignores a larger and exceptionally positive outcome for the city. (Full disclosure: As the principal of a full-service residential and commercial real estate brokerage firm in the Boston market, I represent many real estate owners and developers.)
First, the burgeoning community of luxury condos in Boston is, in economic terms, a net positive for the city — providing significant tax dollars and job opportunities. Contrary to the study’s one-sided viewpoint, luxury development in Boston provides new residential opportunities for those who are looking to move into the city.
In addition, the report seems to view ownership by international buyers as an inherently nefarious undertaking, calling one tower a “classic wealth storage” property. The study’s authors seem to have a decidedly dim view of international real estate transactions — perhaps based on data from other markets such as New York City and Miami, which have experienced an influx of problematic transactions and slow city reaction.
Boston is on the world stage for many respectable reasons — education, medical, life science, technology, and finance. As such, the Boston real estate market has and always will attract local investors, as well as equity from throughout the United States and around the globe.
I’ve worked with many types of investors and home buyers throughout my more than 20 years of working in Boston real estate. My experience is that the majority of the international buyers in Boston are connected to Boston in a variety of positive ways. They buy a home here because their child is attending a Boston university, or they want to be near our world-class medical care, or they are relocating to here for a well-paying job in the tech, medical, life science, or financial services fields.
One of the study’s primary negative data points is that 64 percent of luxury condo owners in the sample do not claim their residential exemption, which the study calls “a clear indication that the condo owners are not using their units as their primary residence.” However, this point is superfluous. The requirements to obtain the exemption are time consuming and unwieldy for an annual exemption that amounts to only a few hundred dollars for most homeowners. As such, many people who purchase luxury units will not spend the time on something with such a small benefit.
Instead of depending on subsidies and rent control like other cities, Boston’s affordable housing policies create a virtuous cycle wherein the more projects that are approved, the more affordable units are delivered — thereby creating a robust workforce with the buying power to fill them. Moreover, every new residential development increases Boston’s property tax base – which helps the city become socioeconomically appealing to all – thereby attracting more and more residents.
While decrying projects like Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing, the study ignores the fact that annual real estate taxes generated from Millennium Tower singlehandedly exceeds $12.6 million — equal to paying the annual salaries for 303 teachers or 168 police or 136 firefighters. Yet the number of police and fire calls to this building was four and the number of children using public schools is de minimis.
Advisors Living is proud to announce the exclusive sales and marketing of The Archer Residences in Beacon Hill. The Archer Residences, a boutique collection of beautifully designed condominium homes, offers individualized details and a full-service concierge experience in Beacon Hill, one of Boston’s most desirable neighborhoods. From the magnificent roof terrace to the state-of-the-art fitness and wellness center, valet service, and exclusive indoor parking, The Archer Residences are designed to make life easier.
From The Archer Residences, many of Boston’s greatest attractions are just a short walk away. Feeling the team spirit? Enjoy the Celtics and the Bruins, two of America’s most successful and historic teams, at TD Garden. Or maybe you just want to take a relaxing stroll around the historic neighborhood? The Boston Public Garden, built in 1837, is a beautiful public park that offers boat rides around its swan-filled lagoon. Louisburg Square, a quiet, historic green near The Archer Residences, was once home to many famous 19th century figures, including architect Charles Bulfinch, painter John Singleton Copley, and author Louisa May Alcott.
The Archer Residences features 67 unique residences ranging in size from one to four bedrooms. Each residence has been thoughtfully designed, blending the historic character of Beacon Hill with an elegant hand-selection of materials and finishes.
Click here to schedule an appointment or call us today at 888-749-4805 to visit our sales center today at 20 Ashburton Place. We look forward to showing you what makes The Archer Residences the most exciting residential new construction project in Boston.
The longtime home of legendary Boston seafood restaurant Anthony’s Pier 4 is rapidly transforming into a luxury condominium complex, and the site’s developer just landed a lease with farm-to-table restaurateur Kristin Canty.
Interest is strong for the Pier 4 condos, said Janice Dumont, CEO of AdvisorsLiving. The firm, which is the residential division of Boston Realty Advisors, is the exclusive sales and marketing agent of the nine-story, 106-unit complex.
Pier 4, a nine story, 106-unit luxury condominium building, will open in late 2018 at the former Anthony’s Pier 4 site in Boston. Tishman Speyer is developing the complex, which was designed by SHoP Architects in collaboration with Boston-based CBT.
“Given the nostalgia of the site, and the fact that so many people have had wedding receptions, bar mitzvahs, confirmations, at the site, it’s been very exciting,” Dumont said in an interview with the Business Journal.
Two-bedroom units at Pier 4 will start at $2 million-plus. Each home has its own private outdoor space and water views, and penthouse units will feature private roof decks. Amenities include an outdoor terrace, an outdoor seating and dining area with a fire pit, virtual golf and 24-hour concierge services from First Service Residential.
The Boston Upscale and Luxury Condo Market had a Strong 2016.
Sales volume in the Boston Upscale and Luxury condo market in 2016 was up 7% with the average price up 20% to $1,150,000. An unseasonably high fourth quarter 2015 can be attributed to the closing of 22 Liberty, while the third and fourth quarters 2016 benefited from the closing of Millennium Tower. Overall, when comparing fourth quarter 2015 and 2016 absolute prices remained fairly flat, with fewer transactions happening in 2016 because a majority of the Millennium Tower sales happened in third quarter versus fourth quarter 2016. We define the Upscale market as condos $700/SF+, $500,000+, 4+ units, and central AC in the building, while Luxury is the top 10% of the market. Even though the average price per square foot may be 6% below the end of last year average PPSF, it is still 5% higher than the next highest quarter. As condo prices continue to go up, many buildings that did not qualify as “Upscale” in 2015 do now, as they are now trading higher than $700/SF and $500,000, further showing that pricing along all residential segments is up.
Neighborhood Supply Low and Demand High. When observing all Boston markets, there is still a shortage of supply in all neighborhoods. Market equilibrium is typically defined as 6 months of available inventory. Very few large residential projects are delivering in 2017, but those that are, are 40%+ sold out. The two largest buildings delivering in 2017, Pierce (The Fenway) and 50 Liberty (Seaport), are both 40-50% sold out as of the end of 2016. A few other projects slated to be delivered this year are Siena (South End), 110 Broad (Financial District) and Telford 180 (Brighton) are also selling fast. Sales offices for LoveJoy Wharf (Waterfront, near North Station) with plans to capture some of the pent up demand in the “Upscale” market for homes located on the water but with no parking in the building offered. Back Bay continues to go strong with One Dalton condos selling at record high selling prices with a new high watermark on price per square foot as well.
What’s Hot? By the end of 2016, the main three condo types (1, 2 and 3 bedrooms) in the upscale and luxury markets all saw big jumps in asking prices. Both one and two bedroom condos saw the largest jump at approximately a $100,000 increase to average asking prices, bringing them up to $1.1 million and $1.9 million, respectively. Three bedrooms saw the largest sales to ask spread of three condo types, but still achieved an average sales price over $3 million.
Overall, 2017 looks to be an exciting year in the Boston real estate market, with prices only expected to continue to rise in a supply constrained market.
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.
Advisors Living recently completed the sell out of 42 market-rate condominiums at the Mosaic on the Riverway. Closing prices averaged nearly $1,000 per square foot. Below is an excerpt from Curbed Boston’s coverage on the new development success:
In October 2015, sales at Mission Hill’s under-construction Mosaic on the Riverway residential complex got underway. Some 85 of the 10-story building’s 145 units were slated as condos, with 42 of them market-rate and the rest below-market-rate (the remaining 60 units are designated as affordable rentals).
All 85 Mosaic condos have traded and closings have started.
As of Oct. 5, 11 condos have closed at an average price of $928 per square foot, according to Bldup.com. That is a not-insignificant sum for the neighborhood, but not all that high by new-development standards in present-day Boston.
A very rare opportunity has opened up in the Seaport District, with an incredible penthouse loft.
33 Sleeper Street is perfectly situated across from an open air lot with 100 year city lease, protecting the unobstructed water and city skyline views from this beautiful penthouse.
The authentic loft space boasts an entire wall of red brick, exposed sand blasted wooden ceilings and beams and incredible high ceilings complete with four skylights.
The open space offers the perfect opportunity for a new resident to really customize it and add their own creative touch.
There is a custom platform with hardwood floors and built-in bookcases that offers a definition to the space and separation. The layout can easily be converted into a second bedroom, creating many possibilities for the space.
Other building amenities at 33 Sleeper Street include deeded courtyard parking just steps from the entrance, deeded storage, extra bike storage, in-unit washer and dryer, large closet space, a doorman and new elevators.
The location is unmatched, situated right in the heart of Boston’s newest restaurant row, just minutes from multiple transit lines and with easy access to the Financial District, Downtown and the rest of Boston.
Contact Kristy Ganong or Manuel Davis to find out more about this rare opportunity to own this beautiful Seaport District space.