JP Condo Development Has Exceptional Finishes

The kitchen at 23R Cheshire, JP.
The kitchen at 23R Cheshire, JP.

“Chin literally gaping,” says Mark Hand, an agent with William Raveis Real Estate, describing the visceral response many buyers have when viewing the high quality finishes at his new listing: The Farmhouse Residences at 23 Cheshire, Jamaica Plain.

Standing in the midst of a huge, open floor plan in #23R – which of course reflects a farmhouse themed design – Hand points out hickory wide plank flooring, cast iron HVAC covers, and a huge kitchen island topped with one piece of Imported Italian marble. “It’s very difficult to get a 10-12 foot piece of marble,” he explains. Difficult is probably a way to say expensive, I think, as Hand turns his attention to the Thermador appliance package included with the condos.

In my experience, Jamaica Plain new construction has always been one of the Hub’s leading markets for design finishes; however; it seems that a couple of factors inspired the developer of the farm residences to go to pretty extreme extents. First, Jamaica Plain broke the glass ceiling. Hand says that a few years back, it was typical for really high-end JP homes to get $400 a square foot. But now, he notes they can get $500 a square As we go red backfoot or more, as the recent sales at 54 Burroughs did when they sold between $564 and $704 a square foot. As a result of the increased square foot value, JP condo sales are cracking or shall we say absolutely shattering another glass ceiling by garnering sales prices in excess of $2 million. The massive Farmhouse Residences in Central JP, with their over-the top finishes, are priced at $1.649 million ($437 per square foot) and $1.895 million ($464 per square foot). By the new pricing standards, these condos seem to be going with the JP trends rather than outpacing them.

According to Hand, another reason for the ultra-cool designs is that the neighborhood is environmentally conscious. Even though 23 Cheshire resides on a very large lot by city standards – 12,243 square feet – the neighborhood was hoping for two units on it in lieu of a more dense development. Cedar Hill, one of the most active developers in JP, was sensitive to the collective hopes and wishes of the community and chose to maintain the integrity of the street. They even preserved the front building. Additionally, they chose to keep as much of the lot’s open space open, rather than push the boundaries of the buildings as close to the lot lines as possible. The benefit to the buyers is that the two condos on the property are huge: 23 Cheshire is 3775 square feet and 23R is 4,086 square feet. (To view nine photos and see perhaps the first eco friendly driveway in Boston, hit continued!) Continued

The Real Estate Reason Boston’s Biggest Employer Fears Cleveland

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, about the only thing I know about Cleveland, other than the mistake known as Johnny Manziel.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland.

Yesterday, at the latest Bisnow “State of the Market” presentation, Jim Rooney, the new President and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, told a crowd of about 400 that the substantial cost of Hub housing is often a huge liability when local companies try to convince the country’s best and the brightest to come work in Boston.

Rooney described housing as “an issue that transcends economic status” and revealed part of a conversation he had with Peter Slavin, the President of the Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston’s biggest employer, who voiced to Rooney that his number one concern was the hospital’s ability to compete with booming medical centers around the country, like Cleveland, for medical talent. Why are cities the likes of Cleveland considered by some healthcare honchos to be better destinations than Boston? “They can get much more house in those cities,” explained Rooney.

This, of course, provoked me to look up the median price of a home in Cleveland, Continued

What To Say When the Boston List Price is Under $100K

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Newly listed 175 Clare
Newly listed 175 Clare

This came up as new in the Greater Boston MLS yesterday. I guess if you are going to put a Boston condo on market for under $100K, there’s no reason to put any photos in the listing. Why mention what’s been updated in it, or take valuable time to point out that the condo fee is $0 a month, or give more than the slightest hint about what neighborhood its located in (Hyde Park)? For, if you write in the remarks section something as simple as that it comes with a full bath, it sets expectations way, way too high. Bragging about amenities like that in this cheap a Boston condo will encourage other agents and consumers to deluge you with nonsensical questions. You don’t want to spend your whole day answering whether it comes with parking, or if there’s an elevator and laundry in the building, and how old the kitchen and baths are? For the love of Hub real estate, it’s under $100,000 and in Boston, so the only thing to say is “Great price!”

New Newton Home LOVES Chandeliers

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Does this Newton home set the record for chandeliers?

I don’t know how many chandeliers this new construction home in Waban has. I lost count after seeing one in the dining area, one in the kitchen and three in the master bedroom. Was the developer trying to set a Newton single family record for chandeliers? I wondered. But you know what chandeliers often mean: high ceilings. And this home has vaulted ceilings throughout the second floor. It also has high ceilings on the first floor and surprisingly in the basement. But if you were hoping for chandeliers in the basement, you might be let down. In Newton, you can get three chandeliers in the master for $3.449 million (51 Plainfield St list price), but I get the feeling you’re probably have to spend a lot more than that to get chandeliers in the basement.

South Boston Buyers Start Drinking the Over Ask Kool-Aid

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“Bidding wars have increased tremendously,” observes Joyce Lebedew of Joyce Lebedew Real Estate, describing the competitive state of the current South Boston condo market. According to Lebedew, who has been active in South Boston real estate since 2002, “Supply does not meet demand.”

Too much competition for too few properties is only one of a variety of factors that increased South Boston’s median sales price from $475K last August to $545K this August. Another reason for both the run-up in price and the high volume of super-strong offers is that more financially able buyers than ever before are purchasing condos in South Boston. “We have always attracted the young professionals in price points up to 600k; now we have all the empty nesters over 800k,” said Lebedew. Jay Rooney, an agent with William Raveis Real Estate, has listed more than 25 South Boston condos for sale in the last 12 months. He shared with me in May that he noticed empty nesters, who would traditionally consider Back Bay, were now purchasing in South Boston because they wanted to be near the Seaport. South Boston instead of Back Bay – how do you like them real estate apples?

I see your list priceIn the last few years, several Hub neighborhoods have spawned reputations for buyers paying more than list, but during that time South Boston remained a locale where buyers tended to offer less than the asking price.  In 2015, however, low offers are as bygone in South Boston as Whitey Bulger. This May, Anthony Menounos and Nikki Dinari with Coldwell Banker had 50-60 groups at a listing on E 2nd. The condo generated eight over ask offers, closed $20,100 over ask, and at the end of July garnered $637 per square foot which, according to Menounos, was about $200 more per square foot than similar South Boston condos sold only two years ago.

(How aggressive have South Boston condo offers got? Read more!) Continued

The Feature That Makes Boston’s Millennium Tower World Class

Millennium Tower worker outside performing work outside perimeter.
Millennium Tower worker is on other side of safety net.


Describing Christopher M. Jeffries, Anthony Pangaro, a principal at Millennium Partners-Boston, said Jeffries has a habit of seeing things before anyone else does…and a habit of building them. In Boston, Jeffries ‘crystal ball’ apparently has 4K clarity.

Some years back, the Millennium Partners founding partner took a look at a seedy Boston neighborhood with the less than appealing nickname “the combat zone” and somehow saw luxury condominiums. A few years later, Millennium was selling out its Ritz Carlton Condominiums development in the neighborhood.

More recently, while everyone else was mired in the midst of one of the toughest recessions in memory, Jeffries saw high end condo sales coming back in vogue. And soon after, Millennium Place, another Millennium Partners Boston development was selling out, this time in record time.

BaumertThen, when other Millennium execs took a look at a crater left behind by a would-be developer of a once glorified Boston parcel and started toying with the idea of putting a two hundred unit building on top of it, Pangaro said that Jeffries decided to double down, maximizing  the height of the building, and proposing a 60-story mixed-use development with 442 condominiums. Continued

Don’t Be Fooled by This Hub Apartment’s Address: It’s Great!

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Almost everything is pleasantly surprisingly at Currents on the Charles.
Almost everything is pleasantly surprisingly at Currents on the Charles.

Currents on the Charles, a brand new 200-unit apartment building located at 36 River Street, Waltham, has a misleading address. The deception really starts with the suffix: street. Certainly, if Currents’ address ended in “center,” or “square,” or even “row,” it might convey the abundance of retail that is nearby. While some Hub neighborhoods pine for even one supermarket (and it becomes news when they get it), Currents has three sizable groceries within a half mile, including Russo’s, whose reputation for quality fruits and produce is so well-known that folks make significant treks to buy them there.

Additionally, Newton’s most popular Italian restaurant, Fiorella’s, is steps from Currents, and Continued

Boston’s Newest Hotel Has a Message for the City

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The Envoy  Hotel 2015From the small lobby to the striking art pieces throughout the common areas, to the faux water view in the elevator, to the rooms with an unusual floor choice and glass bathroom doors infused with historic Boston maps, and heretofore never seen minibar offerings, the new The Envoy Hotel at 70 Sleeper Street is communicating that it’s unlike any hotel we’ve had in Boston, and it’s a safe bet that it’s unlike any we will see for some time to come.

The Envoy, a Norwich Partners creation, is in the bustling Fort Point/Seaport neighborhoods and part of the Marriot Autograph Collection, a brand that sets a high bar. These hotels promise “bold originality” and to be “like nothing else.” My wife and I arrived at The Envoy last Friday evening to celebrate our 11th anniversary, and our unanimous opinion was that The Envoy lives up to that standard.

The small lobby set the tone for this 136 room hotel, where during check-in we saw staff behind a desk that was more art form than function. As we provided credit card info, we spied behind us a framed painting of a dark haired woman with white sunglasses and red lipstick. Further study of the painting revealed a canvas of old VHS cassettes. Continued

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