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

These Apartments Might Be in Boston’s Hottest Summer Location

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ParkLaneSeaportFromOcean560

The biggest predicament of Park Lane Seaport apartments might be where to eat. The culinary options start directly across the street with Temazcal Tequila Cantina, Jerry Remy’s, and three different Legal Seafood restaurants. Additionally, Sal’s Pizza, J Pace, Legal Test Kitchen, and a host of ever expanding dining options are within walking distance.  So, to be brutally honest, if you lack of gastronomic discipline, Park Lane’s location might not work for you. However, if you like good food and find satisfaction in others’ admiration of your abode, then Park Lane’s ultra-trendy location might be a great fit.

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Hub Real Estate Name Brands and Knock-Offs

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cheeriosandknockoff4Real estate shopping can be like supermarket shopping: you can either buy the name brand or the knock-off. With the name brand, you get all the features, benefits and quality you wanted…but you pay a premium price. The knock-off is clearly lesser in terms of quality and presentation than the name, but offers a similar look and feel as the name and is marketed at a discounted price. In real estate, the name brand is represented by location, location, location and the knock off is often known as “the next market over.” Which Hub name brand markets are losing buyers to their knock-offs? Read my featured column and find out!

Sign of the Hub’s Hot Real Estate Times

sun_powerWhen buyers buy in the best building in the most talked about location, it’s not necessarily a sign that the entire real estate market is red-hot. And when they pay mainstream prices for condos in cache communities, it also doesn’t clearly communicate the total depth of a sellers market. But when condos in tertiary locations attract “six, seven, eight offers, easy,” then somebody better get some water because the market is on fire! What city signifies the Hub’s hot real estate times? Check out my featured column in Boston.Curbed and find out.

Are the Hub’s New Apartments Renting?

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The pool at 100 Pier 4
The pool at 100 Pier 4 in the Seaport

Boston used to be known for it’s red-brick apartment buildings, which had outdated electric, old bathrooms and closets big enough to fit maybe two pairs of jeans. If you were lucky, there was a slightly rehabbed galley kitchen and coin operated laundry in the building’s basement. That’s a far cry from today’s latest iteration of a Boston apartment, buildings that have everything from modern electric, walk-in-closets, in-unit laundry and hotel style amenities. The most frequent question I get about today’s rental market is whether these new buildings are renting, so I asked Adam Mundt, the leasing manager from one of the Hub’s biggest rental agencies. What did he say about today’s market? Read my featured column in Boston.Curbed and find out.

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

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(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”)

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