W Boston Goes from Big Hole to Shiny Facade

It was just over a year and a half ago that 100 Stuart Street was a large hole, the soon to be site of the Boston W Hotel & Condos (see Boston W Hotel & Condos Construction Photos).  Previously an open-air single-level parking lot that served Boston’s Theatre District, the site had been slated for the development of a hotel and luxury condos for years – the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) originally approved the proposed hotel in June of 2001, then known as the Loews Hotel Project.

Boston W Hotel Construction Site - January 2008

It was less than a year later on October 24, 2008 that the W Boston put the final piece of steel in place and the development “topped off”.  The development is now quickly approaching the October 2009 launch of the hotel, and Buyers are anticipating the opening of condos late this year and early 2010 in the multiple-phased rollout of luxury condos.  The Boston W is a $200 million mixed-use project, which includes a 235-room hotel, 123 residential condos, retail, restaurant and spa use, and 142 underground parking spaces.  Condos at the W are currently price from $430,000 – $4,550,000.

Boston W Hotel Construction Site - July 2009

New Custom Interior Mandarin Oriental Condo for Sale

One of the most interesting features of the luxury Mandarin Oriental condos overlooking Boylston Street and all of Back Bay is that the majority of the interiors have been custom built, with little to no “stock” finishes.  Oftentimes in large-scale condo developments, you have a handful of units that Buyers purchase early in the project lifecycle and custom build, while the Mandarin took the trend of custom buildouts to the extreme as almost every unit in the complex either has been heavily customized, or is a shell and awaits customization.

Unit 9C in the east tower recently hit the market for sale, and its custom finishes abound.  The 2,915 square foot 3 bedroom 2.5 bathroom unit has over $1 million of finishes by New York City designer Foley and Cox, and boasts an upgraded Poggenpohl kitchen, Supai limestone flooring, and custom carpets.  Unit 9C at the Mandarin Oriental offers unobstructed views of the Back Bay and Cambridge in the distance..

Currently listed at $4.95 million ($1,698 per square foot), unit 9C joins 6 additional units for sale in the luxury Back Bay condo development – currently for sale Mandarin Oriental condos have an average listing sales price of $1,650 per square foot, with an average and median listing price in the building of $6,122,857 and $4,950,000 respectively.

Boston Mandarin Oriental 9C

Boston Mandarin Oriental 9C

Movement at Luxury Mandarin Oriental Condos

After a hiatus of approximately 3 months, and shortly after residents took occupancy of units late last year, the Mandarin Oriental recently saw another luxury condo resold.  Unit 11E in the east tower, a two bedroom two bathroom unit, sold for $2.5 million ($1,280 per square foot) on July 15, 2009.

In addition to the sale of 11E, unit 9D in the west tower yesterday underwent its third price adjustment after being listed in April for $3.95 million.  This latest price reduction brings the unit a full million dollars lower than the original asking price to $2.95 million, with a price per square foot value of $1,217, which is more in line with the average price per square foot for units that have sold in the building in the past six months ($1,111, a figure substantially brought down by resale of an unfinished shell that sold at $714 per square foot).

Currently available condos for sale at the Mandarin Oriental are priced from $2,625,000 to $16,990,000 and carry a minimum of two bedrooms and two bathrooms and at least one deeded garage parking space.

Mandarin Oriental Condos for Sale: 8
Average List Price: $6,132,500
Median List Price: $5,025,000
Average $/SF: $1,759
Average DOM: 270

Mandarin Oriental Boston Condos for Sale

Boston W Hotel & Condos Readying

The pedigree of Boston’s luxury condo-hotels began in the 1980s, with the launch of condos linked to the Ritz (now the Taj), Four Seasons, and Boston Harbor Hotel’s Residences at Rowes Wharf.

The Boston W Hotel & Condos was the last major condo construction project in Boston to be fully financed before the global economic downturn hit, and when it launches at the end of this year, it will be the final large-scale condo development that hits the market for the next 2-4 years,  With the mystique of the global W brand, it is one of the most highly anticipated projects the city has seen.

Some quick facts about the Boston W Hotel & Condo development being built at 100 Stuart Street in Boston’s Theatre District include:

  • The Hotel (on the lower floors of the building) is scheduled to open in the September / October 2009 timeframe.
  • Buyers will begin to move into the Boston W condos in approximately 5-6 months.
  • Condo openings will take place in two phases, with lower floors opening first, spread out over the December 2009 / January 2010 timeframe.
  • Percentage of units Under Agreement (including penthouses) is relatively strong, especially in light of the building being marketed for just six months.
  • Current preconstruction prices range approximately from $430,000 for a studio to $4,550,000 for one of the largest penthouses, with price per square foot ranging from $700 to $1,400 depending on floor level, unit type, and location within the building’s footprint.
  • Studio units and smaller one-bedrooms are not accompanied by a deeded parking space in the onsite underground garage.

Condos at the W will begin on the 16th floor, and top out at the 28th floor penthouse. The approximate 235 hotel rooms will be on lower floors, which garners condo residents preferential city views. Floors 16 through 27 will house 9 to 10 condos per floor, including an occasional 520 square foot studio unit, while the penthouse level will be home to 5 generously sized condos.

Interior condo buildout is presently underway, and customizations, including the combining of units, is being entertained – something that would be much more difficult (and costly) as the building is completed.

Boston W Hotel

Bryant Back Bay Open House

After several delays in opening, the Bryant (formerly the Bryant on Columbus and now called the Bryant Back Bay) is poised for closings to begin next week.  The luxury development played host on Tuesday evening to a swath of real estate agents, many of whom were getting their first look at the development.


The Bryant boasts many of the amenities that have become nearly ubiquitous for high-end condo developments in downtown Boston, in one of the premier locations in the city (offering both neighborhood South End feel and easy access to Back Bay and Midtown).  The questions, and more importantly, their answers, that are on the minds of most include:

  • Between 15 and 20 percent of the building has been sold
  • South End views really open up starting on the 8th floor (see panoramic view below taken from the 8th floor)
  • The back of the units (where the master bedrooms are situated) are much farther away from 131 Dartmouth than originally anticipated.
  • Lower floor units do receive substantial amounts of light

The most notable concern from buyers has been the proximity of the Bryant to 131 Dartmouth, and it’s impact on the building.  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, light pours into the back of units.

The Bryant Back Bay has a resident manager Katherine Collins, who will serve as concierge during the day, and Tillinger’s Concierge will handle the post after 4pm and on weekends.  Barkan Management is providing management services.  Soon to come amenities will include a fitness center with a massage room, a spa and state of the art equipment.  For a limited time, Buyers will receive a single one-year membership at Equinox Fitness Club, located around the corner at 131 Dartmouth.

With direct elevator access to units and parking, a highly desirable location supported by excellent nearby dining and nightlife, the Bryant is a stellar addition to the South End / Back Bay border.

Bryant 8th Floor View

Bryant 8th Floor Balcony Looking Down Columbus Avenue

Albert Pope Condo Sales in Boston

There are several condo developments in the heart of the city that maintain their appeal over the years in the midst of new inventory and choice around Boston, and the Albert A. Pope Building is one of those developments. That said, it’s rather surprising to see that the latest sale in the luxury building came at $577 per square foot.  Not so surprising is the fact that there has only been one sale in the development over the past six months – residents seem to stay longer in the Pope Building than in other developments, and coupled with the fact that there are only 25 units in the building, turnover is rather low.

221 Columbus Avenue Boston, MA 02116

Unit 203 in the development sold for $875,000 on April 30, 2009 after being on the market for 82 days with an original listing price of $949,000.  Condo fees for the unit are $1,094, and the unit came with a deeded parking space in the onsite garage, and access to the building’s common roofdeck.

Unit 203’s lower price per square foot, compared to a 12-month moving average of over $600 per square foot, could be attributed to its placement within the building, level, and the fact that the Clarendon Back Bay will block views of the Hancock Tower from the Pope Building (see Clarendon Back Bay to Block Pope’s View).

Nonetheless, the real estate community will need to place assumptions on the sidelines until another unit in the building comes available, at present, no condos are listed for sale in the boutique concierge-served Albert Pope Building.

Albert A. Pope Building

W Hotel Boston Condo Photos

Exterior work at the Boston W Hotel & Condos mixed use development has shown great advances over the past several months, with the steel structure being topped off quite quickly. The glass and steel structure inserts a very unique feel to the area at the corners of Stuart and Tremont Streets (100 Stuart Street Boston, MA 02116 will be the development address), and continues on pace to be delivered to hotel guests and residents later this year.  Reservations are currently being taken for units, for planning purposes, overall price points will be similar to new full-service luxury buildings such as the Intercontinental ($900+ per square foot) and the Clarendon Back Bay ($1,100+ per square foot).  Condos at the W will begin on the 16th floor, and top out at the 28th floor penthouse. The approximate 235 hotel rooms will be on lower floors, garnering condo residents preferential city views. Floors 16 through 27 will house 9 to 10 units per floor, including an occasional 520 square foot studio unit, while the penthouse level will be home to 5 generously sized condos.

New exclusive photos of the Boston W development are below.

Boston W Hotel & Condos

Boston W Hotel & Condos Boston W Hotel & Condos

Boston W Hotel & Condos Looking up Tremont Street

Boston W Hotel & Condos and Wang Theater

Luxury Back Bay Condos at Zero Marlborough

After two years of (re)construction, closings at the luxury Zero Marlborough building began in September of 2008.  Anticipation grew as the art deco 12-unit building was transformed into one of the latest boutique concierge buildings in the Back Bay, sitting in an ideal location at the corner of Arlington and Marlborough Streets, adjacent to the Public Garden. Quietly, Zero Marlborough has come very close in unseating the Mandarin Oriental for consistently driving the highest price per square foot values in the Back Bay (and the city for that matter) with closing prices averaging approximately $1,400 per square foot – the Mandarin, over the course of its 52 closings, has an average price per square foot of over $1,500.

Back Bay housing prices have stayed resilient over the past year, with average and median prices increasing substantially when looking at performance over the same 3 month period from 2008 to 2009

January 1, 2008 – March 25, 2008
Back Bay Condos Sold: 70
Back Bay Average Sales Price: $1,185,402
Back Bay Median Sales Price: $671,250
Back Bay Average Price per Square Foot: $793
Back Bay Average Days on Market:    107

January 1, 2009 – March 25, 2009
Back Bay Condos Sold: 47
Back Bay Average Sales Price: $1,334,491
Back Bay Median Sales Price: $781,000
Back Bay Average Price per Square Foot: $785
Back Bay Average Days on Market: 155

It’s interesting to note that these numbers are not inflated by ultra-luxury closings that would include Zero Marlborough or the Mandarin Oriental, as there have been no closings for either of these two buildings during the first quarter of 2008 or 2009.

8 of the 12 units at Zero Marlborough have sold, the 4 that remain for sale are all 3,300+ square foot 3+ bedroom 3.5 bathroom units listed for sale between $4,669,000 and $4,765,000 (approximately $1,421 per square foot).

Zero Marlborough Back Bay Condos

Are Mandarin Oriental Condos Selling?

The luxury condos at Boston’s Mandarin Oriental sold out well before construction was complete, one of the first condo developments to pull off such a feat in the city.  Once closings took place in the September / October 2008 timeframe, roughly 10% of the units in the building went up for resale, even before owners moved in.  Approximately 20% of the building (11 units) is now for sale.  Buyers seem to have a fair amount of choice, in terms of unit styles, location, and amount of finishing (some units are being delivered as shells), however, Sellers at the Mandarin Oriental aren’t seeing their product move that quickly.

Despite the overall lull in sales activity, unit 9H in the east building may be the forerunner for future sales, after being listed in late January 2009 for $2,600,000, it went Under Agreement last week.  9H would represent the first resale following project completion.  The unit is a 2-bedroom 2.5-bathroom 1,906 square foot unit that includes one deeded garage parking space (valet).  Condo fees for a unit like this are approximately $2,800 per month.  Closing at or around the list price would maintain the $1,000+ price per square foot that has been seen at the Mandarin, one of a (growing) handful of condo developments in downtown Boston that commands a four digit price per square foot.

Boston Mandarin Oriental East Building

In addition to unit 9H, there are currently 10 condos for sale at the Mandarin, ranging in price from $2,554,000 to $16,990,000.  Units at the ultra luxury development have been sitting on the market for an average of 163 days, with that average somewhat bloated by a listing that has been available since January 2008 (or approximately 420 days).

Why did unit 9H go Under Agreement while the others sit on the market?  As always, it depends, but price surely had something to do with it.  At $2,600,000, unit 9H is offered at approximately $1,364 per square foot, while the remaining condos for sale in the building have an average price per square foot of $1,846.

Boston Mandarin Oriental East Building

Boston Mandarin Oriental

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