Million Dollar Hiatus at Atelier Ends

It has been over 7 months since Buyers have seen a “high-end” condo become available in the Atelier 505 condo development at the corner of Tremont and Dartmouth Streets in Boston’s South End.  While the development is the forerunner of luxury in the South End with all units in the 103-unit development being high-end, it was back in early August 2008 when unit 408, a 1,504 square foot 2-bedroom 2.5-bathroom condo closed for $1,340,000 ($891 per square foot), which was the final $1 million + unit to close in the building in 2008.

Annual turnover at Atelier 505 is relatively low compared to similarly sized condo developments in Boston.  In 2008, there were 5 units that sold in the building, with an average sales price of $1,084,600 ($847 per square foot) and an average days on market of 74.

Earlier this week, unit 807 was listed for sale at Atelier, and it represents the first listing of 2009 at the South End luxury development.  Unit 807 is an upper floor 2-bedroom 2.5-bathroom condo listed for $1,495,000.  The unit boasts approximately 1,395 square feet ($1,072 per square foot), floor to ceiling windows, a private balcony space, multiple interior upgrades, a climate controlled storage unit, and one deeded garage parking space in the direct elevator access garage.

Unit 807 adds to the other condo for sale in the building, unit 606, which is an oversized 691 square foot studio unit with a sleeping alcove that was listed for sale in August 2008 and has an asking price of $649,000 ($939 per square foot).

Atelier 505 South End Condos

First Resale at the Modern

Following the last closing at the Modern, a 25-unit condo development that opened in 2007, that took place in August 2008, Buyer are only now seeing the first resale condo available for sale in the building.  Unit 203, a 1,000 square foot one-bedroom one-bathroom unit was listed for sale in late January 2009, and recently underwent a $10,000 price reduction, bringing its list price to $479,000 (approximately $479 per square foot).

The unit is well equipped, with some additional upgrades, including a Bosch washer / dryer, custom Hunter Douglas blinds, custom closet system, small private terrace, and one garage parking space.  The Seller is offering six months of condo fees as an incentive to purchase, which equates to a $1,455 credit at the closing table.

Perhaps the one negative aspect to the south-facing unit (see floorplan 147 KB PDF) is that it overlooks the adjacent gas station.  The building itself is elevator-served, has a large common roofdeck, and there are still plans on the table to do a second phase of the development sometime in the future.

Modern South End 203

Wilkes Passage Condo Sales Now and Then

After a South End Wilkes Passage condo sold for full asking price in early February, it was time to take a look at pricing at the development.  Wilkes Passage is a 158-unit high-end loft-style condo development in Boston’s South End.  Over the past several years, the building has seen a turnover rate of approximately 10% per year, and given the development’s size, there are almost always units on the market for sale.

According the Boston MLS, on February 2, 2009, unit 509, a 1,889 square foot two-bedroom two-bathroom unit sold for full (original) asking price of $1,050,000.  That’s approximately $556 a square foot, and is in line with the $563 per per square foot seen for the four units in the building that sold over the past 3 months.  However, a year on year comparison shows that average price per square foot at Wilkes Passage has gone down.

1313 Washington Street

For the same three month period in 2007-2008, there were again four units that sold at Wilkes Passage, however, a year ago, the average price per square foot was approximately $636, a 13% decrease year on year for the South End condo development.  Two of the four units (in both years) were luxury $1 million+ units, and based on a recent article (see Downtown Boston Market Slows in Piecemeal), the luxury market has seen slowdowns in the past year versus appreciation seen in the under $1 million market.

There are currently three condos for sale at Wilkes Passage, priced from $429,000 (790 square foot one-bedroom) to $775,000 (1,459 square foot one-bedroom), with an average price per square foot of $514. Additionally, there are multiple deeded garage parking spaces for sale in Wilkes’ underground parking garage.

1850 South End Lofts Still Selling

It had been several months since a loft-style condo had closed at the 1850, a new 60-unit condo development on the southern border of the South End, but with two closings in December, the building is now more than 1/3 sold.

Selling prices at the 1850 South End have stayed relatively close to their original list prices, with only a small handful of the units being sold for less than list price, pushing up the sales to list price ratio to near 100%. Summary sales statistics at 1850, where units started going Under Agreement in early 2008, include the following.

Units Sold: 21 of 60
Average Sales Price: $351,395
Median Sales Price: $369,000
Average Price per Square Foot: $447

Sales to list price ratios, specifically at new developments, should be taken with a grain of salt, however,”pricing of a new development is more an art than a science,” says John Keith, a local real estate agent. “Unlike other new developments where all the units were listed for sale (in the MLS), here they are wisely releasing them over time, apparently being able to keep the building looking attractive from a price perspective.”

The Boston MLS currently shows lofts at the 1850 listed from $329,000 for 732 square feet to $565,000 for 1,148 square feet.  There is a parking lot adjacent to the building where spots are being made available for sale separately at $39,000 each.

1850 South End

1850 South End Kitchen

Resale Condos for Sale at D4

After opening to the public in late 2007, the D4 Police Station redevelopment in the heart of the South End now boasts resale condos for sale.  The 25-unit boutique Philippe Starck building is almost sold out, with currently one developer unit remaining for sale.

The resale unit is number 11, listed at $729,000 ($914 per square foot), it is a 798 square foot one-bedroom one-bathroom condo with a small outdoor terrace and a tandem garage parking space in the below grade onsite parking garage.  Condo fees of approximately $651 include heat, hot water, gas, water, sewer, master insurance, security / concierge, elevator, exterior maintenance, landscaping, and snow removal.  Unit 11 is on the second floor of the four D4 condo development,  on the north side, overlooking the one-way Gray Street.

Unit 11 offers essentially all the upgrades you could get in the development, including outdoor space, marble bath and kitchen, high end appliances, and parking, however, the difference in price per square foot of the unit compared to the remaining developer corner unit (number 13, a two-bedroom two-bathroom 1,426 square foot unit priced at $835,000 ($586 per square foot)) is significant.  Also, there’s steep competition in the area given the recent price reductions at 285 Columbus Lofts, where an eighth floor one-bedroom one-bathroom 753 square foot unit is priced at $615,500 ($817 per square foot).

While this D4 resale condo (number 11) is superb (see pictures below), given the plethora of luxury condos in the South End available for sale, it may not be priced competitively to sell, time well tell.

D4 Condos Unit 11

D4 Condos Kitchen

D4 Condos Bathroom

South End Concord Baptist Church Redevelopment

The BRA recently held a Small Project Review of the proposed redevelopment of 199 West Brookline Street (Concord Baptist Church).  At the meeting, Peter Zagorianakos, the proposed  developer, presented updated plans of the project. Highlights include:

  • 9 market rate condominiums
  • Parking in basement accessed via an elevator off Warren Ave at the location of the existing double doors.  The opening will be widened to 8′-3″ and new mahogany double leaf doors will be installed.
  • Original roof lines will be recreated, excepting the addition of two small dormers and skylights. To achieve this, current roof structure will be removed and replaced with a new structure.
  • North and south walls will also have to be largely rebuilt with the stated intention of recreating the original brick detail.
  • 4 sets of non-operable windows are proposed for the West Canton Street side

Attendees at the project review expressed concern about vehicle access off Warren Ave.  Concerns centered on noise and safety of pedestrians.  The developer stated that an audible alarm announcing cars leaving the elevator is not a requirement.  He offered the possibility of mirrors to allow drivers leaving the elevator to see pedestrians on the sidewalk.  Kristin Kara of the BRA stated that the City’s traffic department will review the project design. The developer also indicated that, for a number of reasons, access to the garage from the alley is no longer under consideration.

Concern was also expressed about potential construction impacts.  The developer estimated construction would last approximately 18 months, during which time  he will need to lease several on-street parking spaces on Warren Ave from the city, a common practice.  HVAC equipment will be on the roof, only partially visible from the street.

Some that have been connected to the progress of this proposed development state that the updated plans represent movement on the part of Zagorianakos toward a project that preserves the architecture of the existing church and is one the neighborhood can support.

Plans may be reviewed at the Office of the Secretary of the BRA, Room 910, Boston City Hall between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday except legal holidays.  The phone number of Boston’s Planning and Economic Development Office is 617-722-4300.

Graffiti Marks Modern South End

The Modern South End, a 25-unit condo development that opened in 2007 to residents, attempted to push the border of upscale South End living west of the Massachusetts Avenue border that currently separates the South End and Roxbury.  Developers attempted to fuse stylish (Dennis Duffy) design and contemporary living spaces, with quality finishes and amenities like a common roof deck and small parking garage at the 255 Northampton Street address. The outcome of the development’s success is perhaps different for different people, but it recently sold out, and developers are considering phase 2 of the project on the adjacent lot next door to the current site of the Modern.

Modern South End

The Modern gained solid sales velocity starting in September 2007, when 7 units (approximately 30% of the building) that went Under Agreement in the building’s preconstruction phase closed and residents moved in.  Through the winter months and early part of 2008, sales momentum slowed slightly, and the developer of the Modern partnered with Accelerated Marketing Partners, a spinoff of Boston-based The Collaborative Companies, to plan a condo auction to sell off the last 10 units on Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 1PM at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay. The auction, however, was canceled several days before it was scheduled to take place – the developer commented that they received enough inquiries and early bid submittal interest (it was reported that 3 units went Under Agreement during this time), that they pulled plans to hold the actual auction event in an effort to save costs.  Instead, offers were solicited via a sealed bid process on the remaining units up through 7pm on Sunday May 18, 2008, at which time the developer reviewed all offers. Following this effort, the units that still remained for sale were repriced and eventually sold through a standard listing process by the same firm that represented the property before the auction happenings.  Some of the data points specific to the Modern sales effort are noted below.

  • First closing was September 4, 2007
  • Last closing was August 22, 2008
  • Approximate average price per square foot was $466
  • Sales value of $12 million +

At the top end of the price per square foot scale in the development ($670), the Skyhouse (unit 701) that sits atop the entire building boasting 1,341 square feet (the largest single unit) was the first unit to close at the Modern.  This is somewhat typical, that is, the premier unit in a development sells early – we’ve seen the same thing happen at places like Zero Marlborough and the Providence on Newbury to name several Back Bay examples.

Unit 503 was the last unit to close at the Modern on August 22, 2008, with an original list price of $699,000 and a final sales price of $575,000 – 1,330 square feet, equating to $432 per square foot. The largest single price drop (according to the Boston MLS) recorded during the building’s sales cycle was $168,000 for unit 601, a 1,040 square foot unit that was originally priced at $635,000, but sold for $467,000 (this was one of the final units to sell in the building).

Some residents of the Modern have been unhappy with the mix of units that ended up in the hands of renters, with the majority of the complaints surrounding noise from parties. However, the building was never touted as a rental development, and the significant majority of the units are owned by single individuals, rather than a contingent of developers and/or investors. According to the public record, there are only two multiple unit owners in the Modern – one owner has three separate units, while a different owner has two separate units.


An unfortunate site has been the graffiti that has marked the north side of the finished condo development.  Graffiti tags are splattered several feet from the front door entrance to the new condo development, and leave residents and neighbors frustrated, but not deterred from pushing forward with further development in this area west of Massachusetts Avenue.

Developers are in talks, and the banners are visible (see photo), regarding a second phase of the Modern.  The additional cost of adding underground parking to a development is significant, but the second phase of the Modern may be well served by having a full-size parking garage that can accommodate vehicles of all sizes (the small garage and system of car lifts in the current garage have deterred some Buyers from purchasing in the first phase of the Modern simply from a practicality standpoint).  While the existing development partially overlooks a rather busy gas station to the south, the proposed second phase of the development would not be burdened with this, and outdoor space that accompanies many units in the existing building would be more desirable in a new second phase.

In looking at the goals of the developers at the Modern South End, many of them were accomplished, and the overall project has pushed the boundaries of South End condo development west of Massachusetts Avenue, into Roxbury, and sets the tone for more bold and cutting edge design and development to enrich the city.


Only One Left at D4

The sales cycle is very close to completion at D4, one of two landmark buildings in the South End to be renovated into high-end luxury condos over the past 2 years (the other being the Penny Savings Bank).  Yesterday, unit 15, a 985 square foot two-bedroom one-bathroom unit, went under agreement, thus leaving only a single unit remaining for sale in the building.

Final remaining units at D4 underwent several price reductions over the summer, and with the entrance of 285 Columbus Lofts earlier this year, experienced heightened competition in the northern areas of the South End for luxury living.  D4 offers a boutique community feel of 25 units, and a calm and sophisticated ambiance amongst the cleverness of the Philippe Starck design features.

Unit 15, a 1,426 square foot two-bedroom two-bathroom corner unit is now the last unit for sale at D4.  Priced at $835,000 ($586 per square foot), the unit offers a solid value for getting into one of the South End’s most unique condo developments, and puts you just behind the Atelier 505 building, off the head of Tremont Street and all the restaurants and shops of the South End.  For more information, feel free to contact us using the link at the top of this page.

D4 Condos

Sealed Bid South End Condo Auction

Real estate auctions, or auction style listings, have become more prominent in Boston over the past year.  Auctions do not yet represent a mainstream commonplace sales method in the city, but it has proved to be an innovative way to expose a property to the market and let the market determine its value.

In June 2008, there was a South End condo on Warren Avenue that underwent a sealed bid condo auction, and there is now another South End condo auction opportunity. Sealed bids are being taken on 67 Rutland Street Unit 3 until this Friday, October 3, 2008.  Unit 3 is a 1+ bedroom 1 bathroom floor-through with approximately 654 square feet of living space.  With a minimum bid price of $275,000, unit 3 represents the least expensive one-bedroom unit in the South End.  More information about the unit (as well as the other units available for sale in the building) can be found at our 67 Rutland Street webpage.

67 Rutland Street

67 Rutland Street Unit 3 67 Rutland Street Unit 3

Least Expensive South End Condo

If you do a search on South End Condos that are under $300,000 in the Boston MLS, five (5) results will be returned. One of the 5 is a parking space, and 3 of them are studio units no larger than 378 square feet.  The remaining unit, 67 Rutland Street (Unit 3) is a 654 square foot one-bedroom in the heart of the South End steps from Tremont Street and four blocks east of Massachusetts Avenue.

67 Rutland Street Unit 3 67 Rutland Street Unit 3

67 Rutland Street Unit 2, the least expensive one-bedroom South End condo, is currently accepting sealed bids with a minimum bid price of $275,000.  Bids are being accepted until October 3, 2008. Keep your umbrella handy today and head out to the open house at 67 Rutland Street, taking place Sunday, September 28, 2008 from 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM.