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.”
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.
Perched along the waterfront at the edge of Pier 4, sits the empty building that once housed Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant. This week Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant could finally see demolition, according to The Boston Globe.
Tishman Speyer, a New York development company now owns the property and has plans to redevelop the area, incorporating it into the vastly expanding Seaport District. A 9-story luxury condominium with 100 units is set to go up in its place at Pier 4.
Surrounding that are plans for a one-acre park at the end of the pier where residents and locals can take advantage of strolls and evenings along the water’s edge. President of site developer Tishman Speyer, Rob Speyer, said, “We need to honor the site’s history by creating something that will be as relevant to the future as [Anthony’s] was to the past.”
Opened in 1963 by Anthony Athanas, an Albanian immigrant, Anthony’s Pier 4 was a staple of the Boston Waterfront. Celebrities like that of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, and even Julia Child dined at its white table-clothed tables. Celtics players, businessmen, politicians and United States presidents walked through its doors.
Plates of popovers, local seafood dishes and an extensive wine list, made Anthony’s Pier 4 a favorite among locals as well. Overlooking Boston’s harbor, Anthony’s Pier 4 restaurant hosted fundraisers, family dinners and business meetings with views of Boston’s harbor teeming with boats and vessels.
At one point in its storied past the restaurant was one of the most profitable restaurants in the nation, bringing in $12 million a year. Three years ago, Anthony’s Pier 4 shuttered its doors to patrons as the family focused on other businesses.
As the demolition of Anthony’s Pier 4 paves the way for new cityscapes, the surrounding Seaport District continues to evolve into a live, work and play neighborhood. Amid the new Pier 4 luxury residences will sit a 13-story, 373,0000-square-foot commercial building and two levels of parking to draw residents from all over Boston to the Seaport District, just as its restaurant predecessor had once done.
Twenty Two Liberty and Fifty Liberty are other luxury condominiums and apartments building up the Seaport District, near the site of GE’s new headquarters in Fort Point.
It is clear from all of the new construction that something exciting is happening in the Seaport District. Luxury condo buildings, luxury apartment buildings, new restaurants and large corporations (including GE’s new headquarters) are now making their home in the Seaport District. With an abundance of businesses, including hotels, retail and outdoor recreational spaces located in this area, the Seaport is quickly becoming one of Boston’s most popular new neighborhoods.
To meet this rapid increase in demand for new homes, developers are pushing the definition of “luxury” in Boston to unprecedented heights. Below are a few of the most exciting new luxury residences that were delivered in 2015 or will be delivered from 2016 until 2018.
22 Liberty – 22 Liberty was sold out before delivering residences in November 2015. By January 2016 it was completely closed out. 22 Liberty has 106 market rate condos on the Fan Pier and was designed by CBT Architects. With views overlooking the harbor, penthouses fetching over $8.3 million dollars and world-class amenities, it is no wonder 22 Liberty was sold out without area broker participation. 22 Liberty was the pioneer in “luxury condos” in the Seaport District and set the “New Market” with resales and same-day flips all fetching more than $2,000-per-square-foot.
Pier 4 – Pier 4 is being developed by Tishman Speyer, one of New York’s most prominent real estate building and operating companies. Pier 4 is a luxury condo building with over 100 units set to deliver in 2017/2018. To be located where the iconic Anthony’s Pier 4 Restaurant once stood, Pier 4 is surrounded by water on three sides, which will allow for both city and harbor views. Residences will have access to various concierge services, a clubroom with an outdoor grilling area, as well as a fitness and yoga space. In addition, Pier 4 will host dining and convenient retail options and beautiful, open public spaces on the ground level.
50 Liberty – Following in the footsteps of 22 Liberty, 50 Liberty is an upcoming development that will reside on Fan Pier next to 22 Liberty. 50 Liberty is designed by Elkus Manfredi Architects and is expected to have 118 units and is anticipated to be delivered for 2017. Soaring balconies and harbor views accent this development.
50 Liberty, Pier 4, and 22 Liberty are sure to make an additional impact on the waterfront area in the Seaport District, continuing to add to the buzzing new construction happening each day in the area.
For the first time in history, Boston will host the 2016 Grand Prix of the IndyCar Series. May of last year is when city officials announced the Boston race had been added to the 2016 Verizon IndyCar Series season. The Grand Prix of Boston will be a three-day racing competition held in the streets of South Boston and specifically the Seaport.
The race will feature more than twenty of the world’s most talented drivers, and the event will span September 2nd – September 5th, 2016. INDYCAR and IndyCar Boston will offer multiple options of entertainment and activities before, during, and after the race for all ages.
Many different hotels and restaurants have partnered with Grand Prix of Boston to offer the best experiences for all fans and spectators. The Westin Boston Waterfront hotel is located at the heart of the event. You can enjoy the race from the luxurious suites that offer an amazing view or you can join the crowd right on the course. Either way the Westin is a top-notch spectator location. The Seaport Boston Hotel is located on the waterfront in the Seaport District, and offers beautiful city and harbor views, and convenient access to the main entry point of The Grand Prix, the Boston Convention Center.
It probably won’t be easy to get a table on this weekend but there are some great restaurant spots in the area including: Some of the restaurants in the area include Menton, Ocean Prime, and Strega Waterfront just to name a few.
If you are a part of the community that resides in the Seaport area you already have a front row seat or pretty close to it. Residents of the Twenty Two Liberty luxury condos and the 100 Pier 4 luxury apartments will be able to walk out their front doors to be a part of the action. And if all goes well and this becomes an annual stop on the racing schedule, future residents of 50 Liberty and Pier 4 will be right there with them.
Advisors Living CEO, Janice Dumont, led the panel discussion on the future of the Seaport at BisNow’s State of the Seaport. The panel talked about what we can expect for the future of this ever-evolving neighborhood. Panelists included John Drew, President of The Drew Company, Dick Marks, EVP of WS Development, and Alex Sing, Founder of Cottonwood Management. Each spoke on aspects of development within the Seaport, setting the stage for where this bustling port is poised to go next.
Luxury buildings such as Fan Pier and Twenty Two Liberty were some of the most recent projects discussed. Fred Kramer, VP of Stantec, who was also present at the talk said, “Right now capital flow remains solid, there’s an undersupply of quality housing and the market is strong.” All are important factors in the future of the development of office spaces, retail spaces, and luxury lofts and condominiums like that of PIER 4 and 319A Street in the Seaport District.
This rapid expansion does bring transportation concerns. However, all present at the event were excited by the energy forming in the Seaport as it continues to evolve. Plans to alleviate some of this anticipated traffic have also begun to be put into place. The reconstruction of the Northern Avenue Bridge could help connect pedestrian traffic to the Seaport.
Has the Seaport become a true live, work, play neighborhood yet? What’s in store for the latest parcels slated for development? For the full recap visit BisNow.
Your walk to work could look very different with a new addition to one of Downtown Boston’s most notable buildings. Just beyond Post Office Square sits 100 Federal Street in the center of Downtown Boston. Famous for the protruding appearance from the outside, Downtown office workers have fondly deemed it as the building with the bulge. Boston Properties wants to spruce it up and take advantage of the open street-level space below the building. Boston Civic Design Commission granted Boston Properties approval on the addition of a glass atrium at the base of the building.
The atrium addition to 100 Federal St. could include 8,500 square feet of retail space, 500 square feet of kiosk space, and 8,990 square feet dedicated to a “winter garden.”
Perkins + Will is the designer for the addition while a familiar face sits behind the landscaping design. Mikyoung Kim Design is slated to coordinate the landscape architecture. Mikyoung Kim Design is working on several projects throughout the city, such as the plaza outside of the Prudential at 888 Boylston St. and the Pier 4 Plaza steps outside of the 100 Pier 4 luxury condominiums in the Seaport.
Boston Properties will seek full approval from the Boston Redevelopment Authority.
The luxury condo market is poised for another record-breaking year. With an unprecedented number of high-profile new developments in the pipeline, buyers are snapping up the ultra-luxury inventory as soon as it hits the market.
Today the Boston Globe reported that ‘Boston can’t build ultra-luxury condos fast enough.’ The excerpt below highlights some of the projects at the forefront of the new luxury landscape.
While the new Millennium Tower won’t open until this summer, most of the skyscraper’s 422 condos are already reserved by buyers, with the recent announcement of the sale of the tower-topping penthouse, which had been on the market for $37.5 million, the icing on the cake.
The new Four Seasons tower (One Dalton) has opened sales office, with its 180 “ultra high-end” condos, some of which have the potential to break the $20 million mark, expected to go fast as well. Brokers representing the developer have already been quietly marketing the uber-luxury condos to “family and friends.”
On the Seaport/Innovation District waterfront, a trio of new super luxury condos high-rises is getting teed up. After selling out 22 Liberty, a 120-unit condo tower at Fan Pier, longtime waterfront developer Joe Fallon has begun work on his next project, 50 Liberty.
Next door at Pier 4, New York developer Tishman Speyer is hoping to break ground soon on a curved, glass 9-story super luxury condo building with 100 units.
Over in the Fenway, work is well underway on the Pierce, a 30-story tower with a mix of condos and apartments, while in the Back Bay, plans for a new condo tower that would soar over the Copley Place Mall and Copley Square have been in the works for years.
Boston is experiencing a formal paradigm shift to a truly international, 24/7 city. With this transformation we have seen a new appetite for luxury Boston real estate and robust price appreciation most notably in the residential new development market. Contemporary architecture is being added to the city’s skyline. Local and foreign buyers are clamoring for this high-end product, driving pricing to unprecedented levels.
Jason Weissman, founder of Boston Realty Advisors & Advisors Living, presented at Biz Now’s Boston Forecast 2016 on December 1st – and he’s bullish on Boston. Unlike NYC which is approaching an oversupply of ultra-luxury product, Boston’s luxury condo sector remains supply constrained. Mr. Weissman anticipates strong sales at Millennium Tower, One Dalton, 50 Liberty and Pier 4 (Advisors Living is the marketing consultant) as well as more record-breaking prices for second generation condo sales.
The new year is just around the corner, and if the real estate market continues the upward momentum as predicted, then 2016 is going be an exciting year for Boston real estate.