Bryant Back Bay Condo Auction, Again

It was almost one year to the day when the Bryant Back Bay hosted its first condo auction to reestablish market pricing for the luxury South End / Back Bay units and jump start further sales, and the public now gets a second crack at it.  In October 2009, 10 luxury condos at the Bryant were auctioned at approximately $674 per square foot, and now, the remaining 11 units in the building are being brought to auction on Sunday, November 7, 2010 with an average minimum bid at $592 per square foot.

Since the 2009 condo auction at the Bryant, the building has undergone a significant lobby renovation, beautifying both the interior and exterior.  As well, it’s arguable that there is now significantly less risk buying into, what is essentially, a sold out building – buyers in this final auction will not be faced with significant concessions in equity and price point with which, for example, early owners at Nouvelle at Natick were faced (see Nouvelle at Natick Condo Auction Results).

Bryant Back Bay Auction Pricing

Accelerated Marketing Partners, LLC is welcoming potential buyers at an open house preview of available units in the building (303 Columbus Avenue Boston, MA 02116) through November 6, 2010 with hours that include, Wednesday–Friday, 12pm–5:30pm, and Saturday–Sunday, 12pm–4pm. 

The auction event itself will take place on Sunday, November 7, 2010 at the Colonnade Hotel located at 120 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02116.

Bryant Back Bay

Single Bay Village Open House Today

With approximately 500 open houses across downtown Boston set to take place in several hours, one would think there would be vast choice across each of downtown Boston’s neighborhoods. For the most part, that is true, however, today, there is only a single open house taking place in Boston’s Bay Village neighborhood (according to MLSpin).

5 Melrose Street Unit 4 in Boston’s Bay Village neighborhood is a 530 square foot studio unit listed for $329,000. The condo boasts soaring ceilings, huge skylights, and a brick fireplace. The sleeping area is nicely situated away from the common space, and along with the $150 monthly HOA fee, residents have access to a large storage space in the basement with a common washer and dryer, and a beautiful shared outdoor brick courtyard.

An open house will take place at 5 Melrose Street in Bay Village, situated between the South End, Back Bay, and the Theater District, on Sunday, March 21, 2010 from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM.

5 Melrose Street - Bay Village Boston

Boston Bay Village - 5 Melrose Street

Bryant on Columbus Condominiums

After the 25th condo at the Bryant Back Bay (formerly known as the Bryant on Columbus) sold on January 8, 2010, the luxury development on the border of the Back Bay and South End became 50% sold.  However, sales have halted since hitting that 50% threshold.

LINK (one of Boston’s two MLS systems) does currently show that two units are under agreement at the Bryant, and pending the close of these units, building occupancy will inch its way closer to the 60% sold mark.

Bryant Back Bay

The last condo to close at the Bryant Back Bay was a three-bedroom three-bathroom 5th floor 2,259 square foot unit that sold for $1,400,000 ($620 per square foot).  Condo sales statistics for the development include:

Bryant Back Condominiums Sold: 25
Average Sales Price: $1,475,920
Median Sales Price: $1,400,000
Average Price per Square Foot: $735

Sales velocity at the Bryant naturally picked up following the October 2009 limited run auction that took place in the development – the purpose of the auction was to jump start lagging sales in the building and to reestablish a price point that the market would absorb.  The flurry of sales following the auction has slowed substantially at this point.

Remove the auction, and the Bryant Back Bay is showing similar tendencies to the Penmark South End, a combination new construction and renovation 60-unit luxury condo development that has diligently pushed sales forward over the course of approximately 3 years, only recently achieving roughly 90% occupancy.

Penmark South End

258 Marlborough Street Open House

With close proximity to the Green and Orange T lines, Copley Square, Newbury Street shopping and the Esplanade, this beautiful (+/-) 1,420 square foot floor-through penthouse at 258 Marlborough Street with gleaming hardwood floors offers exceptional quality at a reasonable price: $965,000 ($679 per square foot).

This unique, sunny, well maintained home in move-in condition boasts central air, an in-unit washer-dryer, chef’s kitchen, private storage, and two of each of the following: bedrooms, full baths, fireplaces, parlors – and head houses on the private roof deck with spectacular Back Bay views. Because the condo association is owner-managed, the low monthly condo fee of $492.00 includes heat and hot water plus a bonus common bicycle storage room. Quiet, picturesque, one-way Marlborough Street with its charming gas lanterns is among the most coveted streets in Boston.

An Open House will be held at 258 Marlborough Street on Sunday, January 24, 2010 from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, and every Sunday thereafter until the condo is sold.




The Bryant: Beginning to End Photos

October 2006 saw construction begin on the Bryant Back Bay (at that time, known as the Bryant on Columbus), and recently released is the first time series set of Bryant Back Bay construction photos that chronicles the building from ground-up construction to the 50-unit luxury condo development that it is today.

The north side of the block between Dartmouth and Clarendon now appears complete, with a significantly different feel from the blacktop parking lot that occupied the site before construction on the Bryant began in late 2006.

Bryant Construction Site Pre-2006

Bryant Back Bay November 2009

Bryant Back Bay Condo Auction Results

Sold. On a crisp fall day at the Colonnade Hotel in Boston’s Back Bay , the second much anticipated downtown Boston condo auction of 2009 took place in front of a group of poised bidders and their real estate professionals.  The market waited patiently for less than an hour to see what the results would show for the first large-scale Back Bay condo auction of the decade.

10 units at the 50-unit Bryant Back Bay high-end condo development on the border of the Back Bay and the South End were released by the developer for sale at auction, and were sold within 45 minutes of the auction commencing.  Bidders, each with a $20,000 certified check in hand, watched the auction process unfold in front of them.  The Bryant Back Bay is the fourth downtown Boston property to go to auction since 2006, following the Folio, Broadluxe, and the 1850 Lofts, and it is the first Back Bay property to partially go to auction this decade.

The development “partially” went to auction because there were approximately 45 units remaining for sale in the building before the auction began, the developer released 10 for sale at the auction event, and intends for the auction to set a market driven price for the remainder of units which will be sold at auction prices, but through a normal sales process.

The price point at which the developer was listing units for sale before the auction began was approximately $980 per square foot.  The auction was coordinated with minimum bids that averaged $597 per square foot.  The auction event itself resulted in the market setting an average price point of $675 per square foot, approximately 30% off original asking prices, and some $300,000 above minimum bid prices.

Download the full Bryant Back Bay Condo Auction Results (PDF 52 KB)

Accelerated Marketing Partners, the firm the Bryant’s developer hired to bring the property to auction, leveraged a similar tactic at the recent Nouvelle at Natick condo auction outside of Boston earlier this month, where they sold 43 units at auction prices, and used the newly established price point to drive further sales of remaining units at the development (see Nouvelle at Natick Condo Auction Results).  The Bryant Back Bay will leverage the auction results as a bell weather for eventually moving remaining units in the building to a sold status.

Colonnade Boston Hotel

The Bryant: Why Auction, Why Now?

Touted as a boutique luxury condo development that offered more expansive floor plans than neighboring buildings, the Bryant Back Bay missed its stride with the buying market and has reverted to an auction event to generate new demand for the some 45 units remaining for sale in the building.

According to LINK (one of Boston’s two MLS systems), 5 unites at the Bryant Back Bay, a 50-unit high-end development on the border of the Back Bay and the South End, have been sold.  These units have an average sales price per square foot of $826, a figure significantly bolstered by the sale of a single penthouse unit at $1,479 per square foot.

On paper, the development has a tremendous amount going for itself.  From a convenient and desirable location to direct elevator access floor-through units.  When construction began in October 2006, the building generated a significant amount of anticipation for sprawling three, and sometimes four, bedroom condos in a new construction Back Bay / South End building.  Yet there were a number of factors that ultimately impacted the Bryant’s ability to drive sales velocity.

The Bryant is a ground-up new construction building, and not unexpectantly, the development pushed out the scheduled occupancy date five times, and in the end, missed its mark of opening by over a year.  Buyers, rightfully so, are hesitant to buy in earlier to a new development, oftentimes signing a purchase and sale agreement months before construction completes, however, if the occupancy date is continuously pushed out, Buyers become even more hesitant to place reservations in a building, tying up personal capital in deposits of anywhere from 5-10% of a unit’s purchase price.  One of the most notable concerns from Buyers was the proximity of the Bryant to the 131 Dartmouth building, and the potential impact it could have on views and light in the Bryant.  If you fast forward to the present, while 131 Dartmouth is immediately visible outside of the Bryant’s bedroom windows, 131 Dartmouth tapers away from the Bryant, and especially in the summer months, this spacing allows light to pour into the back half of units.  Nonetheless, Buyers weren’t able to gain this knowledge first-hand because a model unit was not developed inside the building until late in the Bryant’s sales cycle.  In lieu of a true model unit, potential Buyers visited the sales center adjacent to the Bryant to see a sample kitchen and bath, but unfortunately, could not get a true feel for lighting and flow of an actual unit in the building.

During the latter half of 2007, another luxury condo development, 285 Columbus Lofts, began construction (or more accurately, began redevelopment).  Unfortunately for the Bryant, 285 Columbus Lofts was two doors down the street, and while the two buildings differ on some levels, the property represented direct competition for the Bryant at a lower price point.  It was during the latter half of 2007 and early part of 2008 when the Bryant made its biggest slips.  While the Bryant began pushing out its occupancy date from Spring 2008 to August 2008, 285 Columbus Lofts actually moved their occupancy date up, from June 2008 to May 2008.  And the key here was that 285 Columbus Lofts delivered on their prediction.  This was the first condo development to be delivered on time or ahead of schedule in quite some time.  Price points at 285 Columbus Lofts were lower, and the development was quickly approaching sold out status when it opened its doors to residents in late May 2008.  Nothing should be taken away from 285 Columbus Lofts launching so quickly, and finishing ahead of schedule, but as it relates to the Bryant, 285 Columbus Lofts did have a leg up on the competition by doing a gut rehab project versus a ground up new building construction.

In the spring of 2009, the Bryant was rebranded from the ‘Bryant on Columbus’ to the ‘Bryant Back Bay’, and in conjunction with that, the developers, Vornado Realty Trust and Wasserman Real Estate Capital LLC, switched listing brokerages from Otis & Ahearn to Campion & Company.  The renaming of the development attempted to drive deeper association with the prestige of the Back Bay versus any connotations the development carried sitting on the border of the Back Bay and the South End.  Despite 3 additional units going under agreement relatively quickly following these changes, the shifts still left 90% of the building sitting vacant, and the developers decided to leverage an entirely different strategy to generate cash flow and take out existing debt, an auction.

Accelerated Marketing Partners, led by Jon Gollinger, announced on September 22, 2009 that they would take 10 of the available 45 units from the Bryant Back Bay and auction them off to the highest bidder during an October 17, 2009 auction event.  Gollinger’s thoughts are that rather than drag out the normal listing process, it’s much more effective to sell a bunch of units at once, figure out what the market is willing to pay, and then coordinate prices on any remaining units in the building.  This tactic, of auctioning only a small pool of remaining units in a building followed by trying to sell remaining units post-auction at auction prices (auction pricing without the auction) is a tactic that has been relatively effective for Nouvelle at Natick.  The Nouvelle development recently auctioned off 43 units, and in a week’s time, has sold 17 additional units at prices established at the auction (see Nouvelle at Natick Condo Auction Results).

There will be seven 3-bedroom units and three two-bedroom units auctioned at the Bryant on October 17th, with minimum bid prices ranging from $1,075,000 to $1,475,000 ($476 to $811 per square foot). The appraised value of the Bryant Back Bay condos will be left to lenders, but Buyers can look at average sales price per square foot for the past 6 months in the Back Bay of $746 and the South End of $577 as a very high-level starting point.

Given the legacy of the Bryant Back Bay project, an auction to at least kick start sales velocity for remaining units in the development appears to be the next logical option in the sales process, especially in light of success that the auction sales format has had on other downtown Boston, and metro-Boston, properties.

South End Listing Prices Adjusted…Up

In the face of a luxury condo auction less than four blocks away (see Bryant Back Bay to Auction 10 Luxury Condos), listing prices at the Atelier 505 building, the South End’s first large-scale luxury condo development, are actually being adjusted up, rather than down.

Unit 307 at Atelier 505 was listed for sale on September 8, 2009 for $1,750,000, and 20 days later, a price adjustment of $45,000 has taken place.  The interesting note is that the price adjustment is up, not down, and the condo is now listed at $1,795,000.  The condo boasts 1,810 square feet ($992 per square foot), 2+ bedrooms 2.5 bathrooms, floor to ceiling windows, and 2 deeded garage parking spaces in the onsite underground garage.

Atelier 505 - Unit 307

In the past six months (according to MLSPin, one of Boston’s two MLS systems), of the 296 units that sold in the South End, there have been 17 condos that have sold for prices higher than the original listing price.  Condos such as unit 317 at Wilkes Passage sold for $31,000 over its original asking price on August 28, 2009, or unit 3 at 116 W Concord Street sold for $10,000 above the original asking price on September 24, 2009.  This adds to the 13 units that sold for full original listing price during that same time period.  There are, nonetheless, instances that go in the opposite direction, including 437 Columbus Avenue unit 4, which labored on the market for 262 days and closed $89,000 below its original asking price.  Clearly, being priced “right” out of the gate is a clear predictor in a unit moving quickly and at or above its original asking price, as the units that sold for at or above original listing prices over the past six months had an average days on market of 21, compared with an average of 76 for those that sold for anything less than full asking price.

Perhaps part of the allure to an auction format that South End / Back Bay residents will soon see when the Bryant condos are auctioned on October 17th is that the units will inherently be priced “right”, not arbitrarily, but by the uninhibited economic forces of the market.

Bryant Back Bay to Auction 10 Luxury Condos

After multiple project occupancy delays, changes in listing brokerages, and amongst rumors swirling this past week, the Bryant Back Bay condo auction has been announced by Accelerated Marketing Partners.  The auction event, slated for Saturday October 17th,  will offer 10 luxury floor-through direct elevator access units with minimum bids starting at $1,075,000.

Similar to the recently announced Nouvelle at Natick auction (see Nouvelle at Natick Condo Auction), the Bryant Back Bay, a somewhat boutique 50-unit development, is currently advertising that only 10 of its some 45 available units will be brought to auction, in an effort to eventually kick-start market sales of other units, a tactic that has not yet been tested in the downtown Boston market.

The property is available for previews September 22 – October 16 (Monday to Sunday noon – 6 PM) onsite at 303 Columbus Avenue Boston, MA 02116.

The auction will take place on Saturday, October 17, 2009 at the The Colonnade Hotel located in the Back Bay at 120 Huntington Avenue Boston, MA 02116.

Bryant Back Bay Auction

The Clarendon Brings Unique Living to Back Bay

If the Boston W Hotel construction site has done anything for the Boston skyline, it has shown Bostonians how quickly a 25+ story tower can be constructed, and the Clarendon Back Bay, a 33-story structure adjacent to the John Hancock Tower has been no exception to a speedy ascent.  Approximately 2 years ago, the Clarendon construction site was simply a large hole in the ground, and to see it today in its almost completed facade is a testament to the innovative construction techniques, including construction both up and down at the same time, used on the job site (see Clarendon Back Bay Plywood Siding).

The building, essentially the first and only large-scale tower condo development in the Back Bay, has come a long way since late 2007 and the early stages of construction (for early construction site photos, see The Clarendon Back Bay Says Me Too!, or look even further back with additional photos, see Clarendon Back Bay Condos Looking Up).

Similar to, but taking a slightly different tact than, the Mandarin Oriental and the Boston W, which both have luxury hotel rooms on their lower floors, the Clarendon Back Bay will have luxury rental apartments (a rental development called One Back Bay) on the first 14 floors of the building.  Accessed via a separate entrance on the Clarendon Street side of the development.  Apartments in the building will boast similar but separate amenities to the for-sale condos above and carry monthly rental prices of $2,695 for a studio to $7,500 for a two-bedroom two-bathroom.

The for-sale luxury condominiums (commonly known as the Clarendon Back Bay) has its separate entrance and lobby on the Stuart Street side of the building, specifically at 400 Stuart Street.  Both Boston MLS systems show units continuing to go under agreement at the luxury condo development, which will be housed on the upper floors of the building – thus, sales at the Clarendon appear strong.  Listings have been consistently advertised at an average of approximately $1,200 per square foot with listing prices ranging from $695,000 to over $4,000,000.

Post 390, the “urban tavern” restaurant which will anchor the corner of the building is currently slated to open in 22 days. The name is a play on the address (390 Stuart Street) and the Back Bay Post Office that once stood on the site. The restaurant, from the owners of Grill 23 & Bar and Harvest, will bring some additional interest and traffic to the building before the building above Post 390 receive occupancy.

Combined with the Back Bay Orange Line transit station (providing T, Commuter Rail, Amtrak, local bus, and regional bus (Mega Bus for instance)) just one block away, the Clarendon Back Bay development brings together a host of living options and amenities in a single package.

One Back Bay Rentals

Clarendon Back Bay

One Back Bay Rental Entrance

Clarendon Back Bay Condo Entrance

Clarendon Back Bay Condo Entrance

Clarendon Back Bay

Post 390 Restaurant Back Bay

Clarendon Back Bay