285 Columbus Lofts Buck Downtown Boston Trend

It was just over a week ago that we visited the 285 Columbus Lofts Broker Open House, at which time, there were 4 units Under Agreement at the luxury rehab of the former American Red Cross building at the corner of Clarendon Street and Columbus Avenue. According to Boston Homes, 12 are now Under Agreement slated for a June 2008 completion.

The absorption of 285 Columbus Lofts, now at approximately 20%, bucks trends elsewhere in the city for new downtown condo developments that have not yet opened. For instance, the neighboring Bryant on Columbus development is approximately 10% Under Agreement, while FP3 Boston in the Seaport District is approximately 20% sold, but has had a significant head start on 285 Columbus Lofts. As we detailed earlier this week (see What’s Happening at Penny Savings Bank?), Penny Savings Bank in the South End is approximately 30% sold, while the development has been open for several months, and had a significant runway of preconstruction showings.

Buyers are taking to the convenience of being next to a transit center – we’re seeing similar developments to 285 Columbus, such as the Carruth in Dorchester popping up adjacent to transit stations. You’ll be able to catch buses, the T, commuter rail, and even the Acela Express from 285 Columbus Lofts’ Back Bay transit station. The developer, Boston Residential Group LLC, at 285 Columbus Lofts did a good job insulating the walls and windows (triple pane) from the exterior noise.

For more information, or to setup a showing at 285 Columbus Lofts, contact us.


  1. I saw weeds coming out of the sidewalk in front of The Penmark, on the other hand …

  2. Anthony Longo says:

    This does not surprise me. Curtis Kemmeny (Boston Residential Group) has built a superior product AGAIN…just like he did with 360 Newbury. Products that far surpass the norm or the standard will always sell at their own pace. 285 Columbus will be a home run for Curtis…best location in town, unreal product = quick sellout!

  3. John Keith says:

    I’m stumped. I assume it’s the pricing. I don’t know, I’ve never had a client interested in seeing it.

    It’s a handsome building. I think the location is fine – apparently others agree, because they did well at Art Block and I think the rentals around the corner are doing well, and those are high-priced.

    Some of the architectural detail at Penmark has been stripped away.

    I dunno. Just bad timing?

    At 25% off, the units become appealing. Enough so to sell them all off? Not sure.

  4. In response to John K, what’s happening at Penmark, why, after 2 years, are they still not able to sell all the units?

  5. Boston Condo Guy says:

    Location is an issue for some, not all, but some.

    ArtBlock went after a different Buyer, and 700 Harrison has unique views and rooftop access, so there are small things that position some of these developments in a different light.

  6. Well, yes, the location is not ideal. It’s right next to the projects. I for one have reservations about paying a million bucks to live next to the ghettos.

    John, a 25% price adjustment would be nice. But I highly doubt they will do that. They rejected an offer that was less than 15% below.

  7. I agree with Anthony. A good development at the right price sells quickly. Location is a big (huge) factor in price.

    285 proves that even in this market, units will sell quickly if priced correctly. 285 isn’t a bargain, but it is very fair value for those units.