Hub’s New Apartments Aren’t The Same As Hub’s Old Apartments

posted in: Boston, Real Estate | 0

(This post first appeared as my Banker and Tradesman May Column)

Philip Koether, an architect for 30 years, told me that before the recession rental properties were different than condominiums, that they were “quite a bit lesser.” But post-recession, Koether who designed the common space at the new Batchyard apartments in Everett, noted “it’s a complete blur,” and there’s little distinction between the two.

I was told that it has gotten to the point that in New York City it can be very hard to tell the difference between new condo buildings and new apartments. Ditto, Boston. In fact, Boston has such great new apartment buildings, in such enviable locations, with so many amazing amenities, in many instances buying instead of renting would mean taking a step down in terms of the quality of one’s residential life.

These new Hub apartments with their high-end appliances and in-unit laundry, they’re not your dad’s apartment. Their better finishes aren’t the only difference. When your dad rented, he didn’t have free wifi in the common areas, ultra-cool chill spaces or the local craft brewery serving beers at the building’s St. Patrick’s Day Party. And the building he rented in when he was fresh out of college, for sure, didn’t have indoor pet relief options and bike repair areas like the ones I found in so many of the new Hub buildings that I have toured.

(To see the Hub’s most unusual new apartment layout and find out why the Hub exec hated it, click “more”)


Boston Reporter Rejects Hub Condo life

posted in: Back Bay, Boston | 0

worriedOn Saturday, Boston Globe correspondent Susan Urbanetti wrote “Woman’s home was her hassle,” an article that recounted the problems that arose when she purchased a Boston condominium. “If condos were cars, mine was a lemon,” wrote Urbanetti, whose home encountered everything from repeated HVAC problems to mice infestation.  The reporter who had been looking forward to living out the rest of her natural life in the residence, ended up selling the condominium within two years and I’m assuming dejectedly returned to her self-described “life as a renting nomad.” A search of MLS records shows the address of the condominium as 341 Beacon #2D, which recently sold for $695K, far above Urbanetti’s 2004 sales price of $527,500.

Why These Suburban Office Destinations Are Becoming So Popular

posted in: Real Estate | 0

tipadvisorYou could take it for granted that the city is operating a super powerful magnet that is attracting more and more companies and residents, or you could read my featured column in Boston.Curbed about NAIOP’s 13th Annual Bus Tour and find out what is drawing corporations like TripAdvisor, Constant Contact, Clarks, and iRobot, to suburban office campuses.

Hub Neighborhood of Emerson, Alcott, Clarke and Fuller

Jerome Tour2This past Saturday, I took another Stephen Jerome walking tour of another fascinating Boston neighborhood, Parkside in Jamaica Plain. Jerome is a architectural and social historian and a conservationist who brings history to life with his neighborhood tours. Here’s part of the narrative Jerome provided early in the tour, which began to sum up the historical importance of this key Boston neighborhood:

“In a way, outside of Concord, there isn’t any place except maybe Beacon Hill that has such a rich connection to the transcendentalists, the great reformers and free thinkers and intellectuals that dominated American thought in in the antebellum period and into the late nineteenth century, as well as Parkside. In this neighborhood alone, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, Louisa May Alcott, James Freeman Clarke, lived and worked. Emerson and Fuller shared rooms in a boarding house that was closer to Forest Hills station, no longer standing today. And he taught school while he was living in a boarding house in a school that was up here on what’s now the park. So, Schoolmaster’s Hill there is no plaque there that is in memoriam to Emerson. And Emerson and Clarke had known each other all their lives. James Freeman Clarke was in love with Margaret Fuller.”

Jerome has three tours coming up: The Architecture and History of Chestnut Hill, History and Rural Beauty: Walnut Hills Cemetery Tour, The Social and Architectural History of Back Bay Churches. You can sign up for any one them at the Brookline Center for Adult Education.

Hub’s April Condo Market Results

1Charlesview.jpgHow was the Hub condo market market in April? Put simply: sales tanked, but over-ask offers skyrocketed. Incredibly, despite significantly fewer sales, there were significantly more extreme over ask offers, offers that went at least $25,000 over ask. In one Hub condo neighborhood, three out of four April sellers got more than they asked for. In another, the percentage of April sellers who took offers $25,000 over ask increased by five fold. Which neighborhoods were the most competitive? Read my featured column in Boston.Curbed and find out!

Three Interesting Stories About New Hub Buildings

viridianWhat happened when construction was about to begin and the client called up and said they wanted an extra floor on the building, and what happens?

What happened when  an underground garage was found to need $160 million in repairs?

What valuable lesson was learned when a condo project came to market at the absolute worst time possible.

Read my featured column in Curbed and find out!

Trends in (Successful) Suburban Office Building Design

photo of recently redeveloped 16 Crosby Dr, Bedford, via Davis Companies.
photo of recently redeveloped 16 Crosby Dr, Bedford (via Davis Companies).

For some time, it seems, the trend has been for companies and talent to centralize in Downtown Boston. NAIOP’s latest presentation, “Repositioning for Suburban Success,” tells a different story.

Andy Majewski, a Partner at CBRE New England, opened the presentation by assuring the audience that, despite the growth and attraction that Downtown Boston offers, there was a formula for suburban success. Then, Marc Margulies of Margulies Perruzzi Architects revealed four main areas that drive the suburban market: Continued

Tell-Tale Signs Of Up-And-Coming Condo Neighborhoods

17 DorrHere are some tell tale signs that a previously unheralded condo neighborhood may be changing its image.

The finishes in the condos that come to market SING.

The prices look like deals.

Developers start salivating over the sound of opportunities.

Boston’s Fort Hill has a lot of history, but just not much condo history. Is that about to change? Check out my featured column in Curbed and find out!

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