Real Estate News

The latest news about the residential real estate market in Boston and the surrounding areas

Lots of unique treasures in this Chestnut Hill mansion

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By Todd Larson | Boston Homes | March 19, 2020

The new sunroom, kitchens, bedroom suites, game-room loft, multipurpose garden level, heated three-car garage and classical terrace/patio reflect the architects’ vision of “picturesque charm and proper setting” and “sympathetic relation to the established historical domestic styles,” as Architectural Record described the house in 1910.

The angular wingspread of 152 Suffolk Road’s Spanish Mediterranean Mission façade – an architectural anomaly in Chestnut Hill – speaks volumes about its unique features: the wide variety of rooms it encompasses, the open-armed welcome it extends and the four elevator-accessible levels of comfortable living it offers.

“Because of its unique flanking design, the home does not feel so overwhelming and linear” said Manuel Davis of Advisors Living–Back Bay, who, along with Kristy Ganong, is co-offering the 14,109-square-foot, seven-bedroom residence at $12 million.

Its hospitality also owes to a three-year restoration, renovation and expansion of its 1904 design by Chapman & Frazer. This included replacing the roof with Spanish barrel clay tiles sourced from the company that made the originals (Ludowici of New Lexington, Ohio) and restoring century-old oak paneling, leaded-glass windows, fireplace mantels and other period details.

The new sunroom, kitchens, bedroom suites, game-room loft, multipurpose garden level, heated three-car garage and classical terrace/patio reflect the architects’ vision of “picturesque charm and proper setting” and “sympathetic relation to the established historical domestic styles,” as Architectural Record described the house in 1910.

This is evident upon entering the Spanish-tiled gateway to an axial path across the vast treed lawn to the arched center-entrance loggia, or motoring up the gravelly carriage drive. The façade hugs the drive, welcoming you warmly from the outset.

The entry gallery continues the warmth with oak paneling, leaded-glass casement windows and convenient direction everywhere. The west gallery leads to the dining room and great room. The east gallery accesses the back stairway/elevator hall and family room.

The central hall reaches the balustraded bluestone terrace from which a split stair descends to a bluestone patio overlooking conservation land – an elegant setting for a wedding. The hall also accesses the chef’s kitchen, the garden-level stairway and the bedrooms via a staircase with a balustrade of columned arches.

Flanking the vestibule are a walk-in coat closet and marble powder room with a hand-hammered metal sink.

The dining room, accessible by a swing door from the garden-level stair, is dressed for dinner with lamp-shaded crystal chandeliers, crown moldings upholding ceiling vaults and a marble fireplace with a carved mantel. For an apéritif or digestif, guests can withdraw to the octagonal sitting room, warm up by its fireplace, framed in carved animal/plant reliefs, and reach the terrace through a French door.

The sitting room and gallery access the great room through its curved wall of bookcases and square columns. Chicago windows with leaded glass, crystal chandeliers and fireplace-flanking French doors flood the space with light.

The French doors spill the entertainment onto a monumental Tuscan-columned porch and down to a balustraded side yard. This descends to a bluestone walk that passes through a stone archway under the terrace en route to the patio and the garden level.

The kitchens – one for formal catering, one for family cooking – boast custom Crown Point cabinetry, quartzite and marble counters including sink islands, six-burner gas ranges, Wolf stainless appliances, Miele integrated dishwashers and Sub-Zero refrigerators and wine coolers. The family kitchen has a Wolf espresso machine and a breakfast bay. Symmetrical with the sitting room, the bay also accesses the terrace through a French door.

The family room preserves a mantel of orange terra cotta tiles with fleur-de-lis and pinwheel accents and a stone hood with scrolled brackets and egg-and-dart moldings. Oaken ceiling beams, wall paneling and benched recesses for the leaded-glass casement windows add baronial grandeur.

Glazed double-doors introduce the sunroom, to which an Arts-and-Crafts tiled floor and a chandelier of bronze serpents and lions dangling bell lights give sympathetic relation to the historic family room. A door with arched transom accesses a deck over the garage.

The front stairway lands at a leaded-glass window on axis with the rear terrace before ascending to the bedroom level where all but one of the six bedrooms have en suite marble baths. A front-window sitting area precedes the junior suite with a bay window.

Across the corridor is the master suite’s dressing room with a window-seat, marble sorting island and a carousel chandelier.

Through a door is the palatial master bath of Calacatta Bellissimo marble.

“The designer Marie Share and ownership bought excess marble used to hand-pick only the tiles that perfectly match,” said Davis.

Matching fixtures include a bay-windowed Victoria & Albert soaking tub made from volcanic limestone, a twin-sink vanity with central makeup station, a benched shower with rain, fixed and hand-held shower heads, a towel-warming rack and water-closet where the commode automatically lifts up when the frosted-glass door is opened.

A double French door connects the bath to the master suite’s central hall, where a wet bar is handy. The hall accesses a triangular walk-in closet and the master bedroom, where a classic mantel frames a white marble fireplace and a double French door opens to the great-room porch’s roof, which can be decked.

Along the opposite corridor are the separate bedroom and bath, the bay-windowed study, a windowed laundry room and the three remaining bedroom suites. One has a sitting bay and a walk-in closet; another has deck access over the garage.

The hipped roof forms a cathedral game room with paneled square pillars that conceal the steel columns that were newly installed to support the rebuilt roof. Off the game room are a windowed bonus room, a shower bath and storage/mechanical attics under the wings’ roofs.

The garden level has three entertainment spaces. One displays framed original blueprints of the house and a reclaimed copper-hooded brick fireplace – newly framed with a classic wood mantel.

Also down here are a 4,000-bottle-capacity wine cellar; an overflow laundry room and an au pair suite with a separate entrance from the bluestone walk. There’s also a spa/gym with a bath, steam shower and cedar sauna; and a mudroom incorporating a pet spa with hand-held shower and an antique coal-burning stove by “Cyrus Carpenter & Co., 44 Hanover St., Boston” from the original basement kitchen.

Beside the mudroom are a powder room and garage access.

100 Shawmut project will offer 138 new luxury condos

By Wayne Braverman | Boston Homes | March 10, 2020

“We are thrilled to celebrate yet another milestone of 100 Shawmut,” said Jonathan Davis, Founder & CEO of The Davis Companies during Monday’s Topping Off Ceremony. “This project is a great example of an innovative and sustainable development in what is becoming a new nexus between the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods. We are honored to be a part of it.”

The last beam is in now in place at one of Boston’s newest and most exciting projects. On Monday, The Davis Companies, along with the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC) and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA), signed and raised the final steel beam on 100 Shawmut.

“We are thrilled to celebrate yet another milestone of 100 Shawmut,” said Jonathan Davis, Founder & CEO of The Davis Companies during Monday’s Topping Off Ceremony. “This project is a great example of an innovative and sustainable development in what is becoming a new nexus between the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods. We are honored to be a part of it.”

He added, “This project would not have been possible without the efforts of my leadership team, led by Brian Fallon, who have been working with our South End partners to reach this milestone. Thank you for your continued commitment to this project.”

The Architectural Team, Inc. located in Chelsea, was in charge of designing the building’s exterior and EMBARC Studio, located in Boston, designed the interiors. Suffolk Construction is the general contractor for 100 Shawmut. Also involved in this project is Copley Wolff Design Group. They are taking care of the landscape architecture.

Engineers for 100 Shawmut are Howard Stein Hudson Associates, McNamara Salvia and WSP. Construction lenders for 100 Shawmut include M&T Bank, Berkshire Bank, HarborOne Bank, Needham Bank and Bank of New England.

In a recent interview, Colleen Daniels, a member of the 100 Shawmut team, talked about how a lot of work has been done to preserve the “sweetness of the original structure.” When 100 Shawmut is completed, the 232,000-square-foot property will “seamlessly integrate the historic character of the original 1920s facade with a newly constructed glass structure, designed by The Architectural Team (TAT).”

The original brick and arched windows will form the heart of a hybrid building topped with elegant, angular glass curtain walls showcased on the upper levels.

This 13-story residential project offers a wide range (from studios to four-bedrooms) of one-of-a-kind condominium residences. The exquisite collection of 138 luxury residences encompasses 22 studios, 34 one-bedroom units, 23 one-bedroom units with a den, 27 two-bedroom homes, 15 two-bedroom homes with a den, 12 three-bedroom units, 3 three-bedroom units with a den and 2 four-bedroom homes – 11 of which are penthouses.

EMBARC Studio, the interior design team, “has created a modern approach to the interiors with a mixture of white oak wood detailing and textural stone conveying a warm, neutral color palette, transitioning and merging the historic architecture with a fresh, new interior.”

The new residents will enjoy a treasure-trove of features that create an exceptional blend of classic character and contemporary comfort, complemented by an ample expanse of glass providing impressive panoramas of the Boston skyline.

Some of these luxurious facets include high ceilings and white oak wood floors throughout; professionally designed upscale kitchens with state-of-the-art, fully integrated appliances; and Silestone countertops in the kitchens and baths.

100 Shawmut is a full-service lifestyle building offering a comprehensive suite of amenities that will make living here a special experience.

The enjoyment will begin upon arrival, stepping into the beautifully appointed lobby, punctuated by a stunning pass-through fireplace, and will continue in the adjacent suite of spaces designed for entertainment and leisure, co-starring a chef’s kitchen, library and a billiards room.

Residents will also enjoy the Great Room, private dining/conference rooms with entertaining/ caterer’s kitchens, and additional lounge/activity areas, including a fitness center. And that’s not all. Kids will delight in the children’s playground and the family pet will relish being pampered at their own spa.

According to project leaders, “the building will have an unprecedented amount of outdoor space, including a number of private balconies offering unmatched vistas of the city.”

In addition to the generous private balconies, residents will enjoy the 13th-floor, which features an indoor and outdoor lounge as well as a rooftop sky lounge equipped with gas grills and fire pits and a backdrop of the Boston’s skyline.

Other building amenities include 24-hour concierge, an elevator and private garage parking.

Thanks to a partnership between The Davis Companies with the BCEC and the CCBA, there will be up to 536 rental and home ownership units, including 26 percent dedicated to affordable housing, as part of this project.

100 Shawmut also incorporates the ground floor retail, commercial, community and cultural spaces that will enliven the Washington Street and Shawmut Avenue corridors.

Moreover, 100 Shawmut will provide 26 percent on-property public open space, including an East/West pedestrian connection that will provide local residents with a safe, well-lit public pathway.

The Davis Companies also committed $200,000 to community programs, including the planning, designing, engineering and construction of an open space area, job training and services to the Asian American Civic Association and additional funds to the Community Benefits Grant application process.

The new owners of 100 Shawmut will appreciate the location, which is at the intersection of Herald Street and Shawmut Avenue just around the corner from Whole Foods and minutes to Chinatown, Back Bay and Seaport.

Boston’s legendary South End neighborhood is home to historic brownstones and more than 20 parks nestled among its meandering, tree-lined streets, as well as an array of restaurants, locally-owned specialty shops, lifestyle amenities and a vibrant art scene.

The home is within walking distance of the very popular SoWa Art and Design District, not far from the Boston Center for the Arts and the Underground at Ink Block. It’s also within easy reach of Peter’s Park, Castle Square Parks, William Gary Walsh Playground and the Berkeley Community Garden.

PRICE PRESSURES

In Boston’s luxury condos, supply-and-demand economics don’t apply

Boston’s luxury condo market is facing a mismatch between supply and demand: Developers are building condos aimed at the wealthiest buyers, but buyers are looking for a wider range of prices, according to real estate experts and recent data.
While Boston’s population is growing, wage growth hasn’t kept up with the fast rise of prices, according to a recent recap of Boston’s luxury condominium market by The Collaborative Cos.
“Buyers have not been able to fully engage in this new, costlier market,” the report said. “The factors which would traditionally support a fast-absorbing pricing dynamic do not appear to be available for this current supply of product.”
In other words, thousands of luxury units are being built across the city, but sellers may have to lower those prices or risk sitting on unsold condos until the supply-demand imbalance gets restored. The report recommends that a consistent volume of sales can only happen if new residential units are designed with a broader range of sizes and price points.
Record-high sales prices

Total home sales fell over the course of 2019, sending worries through Boston’s residential brokerage community. But at the same time, Boston saw record-high sales prices: The median cost for a condo in Boston was $810,000 in 2019, and average listing prices were $280,000 higher in 2019 than in 2018, said Laura Gollinger, vice president of The Collaborative Cos., who oversees research and design development programs for the Boston-based residential consulting and analytics firm.

“Some people were kind of saying the sky was falling. And in reality, yeah, the absorption was less. But the price points were much higher,” Gollinger said. “The number of transactions was slightly less, but the price points were record-setting.”

For instance, at both the recently opened Four Seasons Private Residences One Dalton Street in Back Bay, and at Pier Four in the Seaport District, some units sold at over $4,000 per square foot. “The city’s never seen anything like that,” Gollinger said.

Some 25,700 units are either planned or under construction across Greater Boston, according to the report. In the Seaport alone, some 1,200 apartments and condominiums are expected to come online within one block of each other, at NEMA Boston, EchelonSeaport, Gables Seaport and the St. Regis Residences, Boston.

EchelonSeaport is a good example of unit diversity: With a price range of $700,000 to $5 million and higher, EchelonSeaport has seen a “brisk pace,” selling around 10 units per month.
This year prices may level off, which could allow wage growth to catch up, said Mike Schlott, president of Kinlin Grover Real Estate, which operates from Cape Cod through Plymouth and Bristol counties.

“The last couple of years I think we’ve seen a more normalization in price appreciation in Massachusetts,” Schlott said. “Hopefully wage growth is keeping up with that.”

Million-dollar battles

The heaviest competition continues to be for homes priced under $1.5 million. In past years, the buyer pool would have been focused on the under $1 million range, Brian Dougherty, managing director of residential brokerage Compass in Boston and head of the firm’s private brokerage division, said.

“The price band under $1.5 (million) is where buyers have to roll up their sleeves and really make a very strategic effort to find a place in core Boston,” Dougherty said.

Dougherty recalled one property, priced at $1.25 million, that recently received 17 offers to buy. “There are for sure buyers that in years past would have been in the mix, and they’re kind of waiting it out, or they’re priced out of the market,” he said.

Boston’s buyers have predominately been locals, Gollinger said, as opposed to Manhattan, which tends to draw a larger pool of foreign investors. As a result, the pool of buyers who can afford an ultra-luxury product is small relative to the city’s entire residential market. In 2019, for all of Boston’s luxury residential buildings, there were just 60 transactions at $6 million and above, Gollinger said. Most of those were at One Dalton and Pier 4.

“As you get larger in terms of your price point, your demand dips,” Gollinger said.
At the ultra-luxury Raffles Back Bay Hotel & Residences, now under construction now at 40 Trinity Place, a majority of units will be priced between $2 million and $5 million. That’s an example of where The Collaborative Cos. is advising developers to not emphasize the top 1% of buyers.

“There’s definitely demand for both new luxury and new mid-luxury,” Gollinger said. “I just caution that, as people are planning new projects, really keeping in mind who the buyer is, because having empty buildings isn’t good for anybody.”

100 Shawmut Developer Says Presales Strong

By Banker & Tradesman | March 9, 2020

The developer of a 138-unit luxury condominium tower in Boston’s South End says presales activity has been strong ahead of its scheduled completion this fall. The Davis Cos. partnered with the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church and Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association on the 100 Shawmut condo development, which held a topping-off ceremony Tuesday.

Designed by The Architectural Team of Chelsea with Suffolk as construction manager, 100 Shawmut redeveloped and expanded a 6-story office building into a 13-story, 232,000-square-foot condo tower. The building will feature high-end finishes designed by Embarc Studio and a 13th floor indoor-outdoor lounge.

Advisors Living is the project’s sales agent. Other members of the project team include Copley Wolff Design Group, Howard Stein Hudson Associates, McNamara Salvia and WSP. Construction lenders include M&T Bank, Berkshire Bank, HarborOne Bank, Needham Bank and Bank of New England. The project complied with Boston’s inclusionary development policy by designating BCEC and CCBA as recipient of its affordable housing contribution. The organizations are planning to develop 536 apartments and condos on neighboring parcels, including 26 percent dedicated for affordable housing.

South End’s 100 Shawmut tops off, with fall opening expected

The 13-story condo building in the busy Boston enclave is expected to have 138 luxury units

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The 13-story, 138-unit condo building at 100 Shawmut Avenue in Boston’s South End officially topped off on March 9, lead developer the Davis Companies announced. The luxury development in a neighborhood peppered with them is expected to open this fall.

Pre-sales have already started at 100 Shawmut, and a release from Davis says that they’ve been met “with strong interest.” But a spokeswoman declined to elaborate.

The development at Herald Street and Shawmut Avenue is due to include 22 studios, 34 one-bedrooms, 23 one-bedrooms with a den, 27 two-bedrooms, 15 two-bedrooms with a den, 12 three-bedrooms, three three-bedrooms with a den, and two four-bedrooms. Eleven of the units will be penthouses.

“We are thrilled to celebrate yet another milestone of 100 Shawmut,” Jonathan Davis, founder and chief executive of the Davis Companies, said in a statement. “This project is a great example of an innovative and sustainable development in what is becoming a new nexus between the Back Bay and South End neighborhoods.”

Davis broke ground on the project in summer 2019. It had acquired the six-story office property there for $26.2 million four years earlier, touching off speculation about what the developer might build in a South End used to construction cranes and new housing.

The 232,000-square-foot 100 Shawmut incorporates the 1920s facade of the office building that was there within a new glass structure. The Architectural Team, based in Chelsea, handled that design, and EMBARC Studio of Boston designed the interiors. Copley Wolff is the landscape architect.

The building’s amenities are due to include a 24-hour concierge, private parking for 112, billiards, a fitness center, a dog-washing station, and a playroom for the kids. A rooftop lounge is expected to include gas grills and fire pits.

In the end, the years-in-the-making project came about through a partnership between Davis, the Boston Chinese Evangelical Church (BCEC), and the Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association (CCBA).

Davis, as part of advancing 100 Shawmut, is contributing $15 million to a city-controlled escrow account for developing affordable housing at a CCBA-owned site at 50 Herald Street next to 100 Shawmut. That project is expected to hold 313 apartments, 26 percent of which will be designated affordable.

The partnership also means an expanded BCEC building at 120 Shawmut Avenue in the same vicinity, which will house ecclesiastical space as well as 84 housing units. Davis has also committed $200,000 to various community programs as part of the partnership, the developer said last summer.

2019 Boston Submarket Condo Report

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2019 AT A GLANCE

2019 was a landmark year in Boston’s condo market as a wave of new luxury construction projects throughout the city begin to close. Just as the closings at Millennium Tower did in 2016, Pier 4, One Dalton, and Echelon sales pushed 2019 sales prices and price per foot metrics to new heights and dramatically impacted the overall Boston condo market; for the first time, multiple buildings have had sales that breached the $4,000/sf threshold, and average $/sf for buildings outside of Back Bay and Beacon Hill have crossed the $2,000/sf line. This signals that the top end of the luxury condo market continues to be strong in this economy heading into 2020.

View full report here.

100 Shawmut Tops Off

By BLDUP | February 17, 2020

100 Shawmut in the South End has topped off. The new 13-story tower which incorporates the preserved facade of the brick and beam building on the site will offer 138 luxury condos. Amenities at 100 Shawmut will include a 13th-floor rooftop deck and amenity space and a 9th-floor rooftop terrace, both offering sweeping views of the Boston skyline.

2020 Sales Meeting Kick Off

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Team Advisors Living hosted the first 2020 Sales Meeting kickoff event on Wednesday. The whole team from the suburbs to HQ spent the day engaging together and strategizing how to make 2020 the best year yet.

Janice Dumont, Jennifer Frizzell and Mary Beth Canova thoughtfully planned the meeting from start to finish. Taking a page from Ellen DeGeneres, the opening meeting kicked off with a dance around the BRA office to the Lizzo hit, ‘Good as Hell’. A method behind the madness, once reconvening in the board room; Janice asked how everyone felt when she asked them to dance around the office. Mostly everyone was in agreeance they felt uncomfortable, Janice then asked everyone to think of how a person might feel when going into an appointment, might those feelings of uneasiness be the same?

Next on the agenda, the Break out Session. The Advisors Living team broke off into 4 reading groups to digest and discuss a Wall Street Journal Bestseller, “The Coffee Bean” by Jon Gordon and Damon West. When put in a pot of hot water, the carrot softens, the egg hardens, but the coffee bean transforms into a pot of coffee. A theme for the meeting, 2020 is the year to be the coffee bean. When put in hot water apply this to the sales office- transform your environment.

Guaranteed Rate hosted lunch by Flour and Allyson Kreycik gave a comprehensive presentation on 2020 Forecast & Financing Tools. Offering an open dialogue with Q & A with the Advisors Living team.

The afternoon session involved a Marketing and Social Media discussion by Stephanie Gallagher and Mary Beth Canova. 2020 will be a year for stellar Instagram feeds! The first of many 2020 Team Meeting’s – the kick off brought together both new and familiar faces; promoting Advisors Living as a team. Overall the meeting was a great success!

Steel Framing Rising for 100

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By BLDUP | January 11, 2020

Steel framing is rising for the luxury condo project, 100 Shawmut in the South End. The project will offer 138 homes featuring elegant finishes including white oak wood floors and Silestone countertops. Resident amenities will include a 24-hour concierge service, valet parking, a fitness center, library, pet spa, children’s playroom, and a rooftop sky lounge.