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.

700 Harrison Luxury Boston Rentals

In addition to the 8 current for sale listings at the 2007 700 Harrison condo development, some units in the building have turned to rentals to fill vacancies. Rather than let the newly constructed condos remain empty through typically a slow season for sales, Mitchell Properties LLC has opted to allow prospective tenants to sign 9-12 month leases with the option to sign a “lease to purchase contract” to contribute some of their rent towards a future purchase. Even if renters decide to stick with a standard lease, it gives the developer the ability to have positive cash flow until they can try out the luxury condo market again next year.

700 Harrison

The opportunity for renters in a lease to buy situation is compelling. With rents starting at $1,950 for a 1,081 square foot two-bedroom two-bathroom unit on the fourth floor, renters can live in luxury with floor to ceiling walls of glass, sweeping skyline views, open and contemporary kitchens, laundry in unit, as well as beautifully architect-designed baths, all for an affordable price.

To put this in perspective, the average rent for a two-bedroom unt in the South End is approximately $2,600, and will most likely not compare in size or finishes to what is being offered at 700 Harrison. For instance, a comparable rental unit at 216 West Springfield Street, which was recently rented for $2,500, had only one bathroom and 610 square feet of living space. A high-end contemporary option for South End renters, Church Park, which is located at 221 Massachusetts Avenue boasts between 954 and 1,275 square feet of living in their two-bedroom two-bathroom apartments for $2,950-$3,800 depending on the size and view.

700 Harrison Lobby

The only downside is that at such an attractive price point and in such a great location, 700 Harrison condo rentals are moving fast. Since last week, four units were rented after being on the market for only three days. There are still two-bedroom units available for $2,200-$2,300 with immediate occupancy.

– Jay Alberino is the Founder & CEO of Eleven Park Realty, and has recently launched myCityApartment, a guide to houses and apartments for rent in Boston, Brookline, and Cambridge.

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.


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.

Affordable South End Living at 67 Rutland Street

For more information, visit the official 67 Rutland Street webpage.

A 2008 condo conversion, 67 Rutland Street is a 4-unit building on a one-way tree-lined street in the heart of Boston’s South End.  Built in the late 1800’s, 67 Rutland Street served as a rooming house at one time, and was most recently purchased in 2005 as a single building.  Electrical and non-historic portions of the roof were redone in 2006, along with the common areas.  All units in the building offer original pine hardwood floors and some type of existing or exclusive rights to outdoor space.  An alternative to purchasing an individual condo in the building, units 2, 3, and 4 could be converted into a duplex or a triplex. There is a lovely community garden located across the street from the building, as well, there are common laundry facilities on the second floor of the building accessible by all units.

Owner-occupants may want to renovate these condos, or consider them as a rental investment (units had in the past rented for approximately $1,300 per month).

An open house will be held on Sunday, September 21, 2008 from 12:00 PM to 3 PM at 67 Rutland Street (Google Map).  For more details and photos of each individual unit, priced from $275,000 to $329,000, continue reading.

67 Rutland Street 67 Rutland Street Garden

67 Rutland Street Unit 2

Unit 2 is a 1+ bedroom 1-bathroom unit with 2 original nineteenth-century marble mantels, complemented nicely by 10′ ceilings with crown molding in the living room. Listed for $329,000, unit 2 offers approximately 618 square feet of living space, along with exclusive access to a large private roof deck with views of the John Hancock Tower and the Prudential Center.

67 Rutland Street Unit 267 Rutland Street Unit 2

67 Rutland Street Unit 2 67 Rutland Street Unit 2

67 Rutland Street Unit 3

A 1+ bedroom 1-bathroom condo with approximately 654 square feet of living space, unit 3 boasts 9′ ceilings and 2 original nineteenth-century marble mantels, as well as the rights to build a deck on the rear of the unit.  Sealed bids for unit 3, with a minimum bid price of $275,000, are due by October 3, 2008.

67 Rutland Street Unit 3 67 Rutland Street Unit 3

67 Rutland Street Unit 3 67 Rutland Street Unit 3 67 Rutland Street Unit 3

67 Rutland Street Unit 4 (Penthouse)

The penthouse one-bedroom one-bathroom unit is approximately 720 square feet, and is listed for $319,000.  While this unit does not offer the nineteenth-century marble mantels, it does come with unique architectural style, while the large skylight and interior east and west facing windows offer a sun-filled living space.  Unit 4 boasts exclusive roof rights to construct a roof deck.

67 Rutland Street Unit 4 (Penthouse)67 Rutland Street Unit 4 (Penthouse)

67 Rutland Street Unit 4 (Penthouse) 67 Rutland Street Unit 4 (Penthouse)

Penmark Boston Condos

2008 has been a good year for the Penmark Boston, with roughly 15 of the 60-unit South End development going Under Agreement or being sold. After what some would say a slow start to sales, occupancy levels have been climbing steadily. The development recently moved their model unit to another unit in the building because their previous model was one of those 15 that sold.

Currently, the Boston MLS lists 10 available units at the Penmark, ranging in size from 929 square feet up to 1,497, and in price from $557,500 to $852,500. The average price per square foot for available units is currently $612, which is quite consistent with the overall South End, and reasonable given the finishes and amenities of this new development – for comparison, see South End Average Price Per Square Foot. The SoWa (South of Washington Street) location puts you in proximity to a solid mix of amenities, but quite far south in the South End.

Open Houses are being held at the development each Sunday from noon until 3pm. After stopping in, contact us with questions, analysis of comparable properties on the market, and the benefits of leveraging a Buyer’s Agent.

Modern South End Auction Canceled

It has not been terribly clear what is happening with the Modern South End. An auction was planned for Sunday May 18th at the Colonnade Hotel to unload the remaining 10 units in the building, however, the auction has been canceled.

The 10 units are still for sale, but the developer received enough inquiries and subsequent interest in submitting early bids, that they plan to not hold the actual auction event, and instead, solicit offers via a sealed bid process on the units up through 7pm on Sunday May 18, 2008, at which time the developer will review all of the offers. 3 of the units have already gone Under Agreement.

Several major takeaways from this information:

  1. Do not show up at the Colonnade Hotel trying to attend the now canceled auction on Sunday May 18, 2008.
  2. If you are interested in submitting an offer on one of the remaining units at the Modern, please contact us, we will work with you to submit an offer before the 7pm deadline on Sunday May 18, 2008.

Second Phase for Modern South End?

With all the buzz about the Modern South End auction (see Modern South End Auction), the thought of a second phase of loft-style condos adjacent to the current development site has been tabled as a topic of popular conversation. The official situation is that no record of a potential second phase currently exists in the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s records.

The unofficial word is that there are still rumors that the second phase will eventually happen, which would be a great addition to the neighborhood. One of the underlying goals of building a development like the Modern South End at the far western border of the South End (some may, and do, even say Roxbury), was to take a bold step forward in enriching the architectural landscape and residential options in a part of the city that has not seen a tremendous amount of such development happen. Will the trend continue? We think the answer is yes. At its core, this is a function of supply and demand, and space limitations that are the standard in major metropolitan areas. Simply put, there is little to no undeveloped land remaining in the core of the city, demand to live in downtown Boston (or any major city for that matter) remains high, and thus, we’ll continue to see further development and gentrification of the area surrounding the Modern South End building.

Are there immediate plans to move forward with a second phase of the Modern South End? The blank slate is there and available based on the below exclusive photos of the cleared land to the immediate north of the current Modern building. Time will tell.

modern-south-end-1 modern-south-end-2

Modern South End Auction

Note: The Modern South End Auction has been canceled. Click on ‘The Modern South End’ tag above to see the most recent updates.

Ten units at the Modern South End will go to auction on Sunday, May 18, 2008 at 1PM in the Colonnade Hotel (125 Huntington Avenue). To tour the units before the auction, you can visit the building’s auction information center, located onsite at 255 Northampton Street from Noon to 7PM daily. The units being auctioned are referenced below:


Note that minimum bids have been set for units. Bidders should arrive for check-in at Noon on auction date. The Auction will begin promptly at 1:00 PM and will last approximately 1.5 hours. For Buyer Agency representation throughout the purchase, contact us.

Registration is required to attend the auction and to become eligible to bid. Complete and return the Auction Registration Form prior to auction day – Contact 617.236.0350 for details.

If you are planning to purchase more than one residence, your completed Auction Registration Form must be received no later than May 12, 2008. Registrants will be notified of the number of homes they have been approved to purchase.

On auction day, all approved registered bidders must present a separate Cashier’s Check, Traveler’s Check, Certified Check or Money Order (“Cash Equivalent”) in the amount of $5,000 for each residence that they have been approved to purchase. Each bidder is also required to bring a blank personal check. The blank check will then be added to the $5,000 to equal 5% of the winning bid price. Cash Equivalent(s) should be made payable to yourself.

Those who register on auction day will be required to complete the Auction Registration Form and present a $5,000 Cash Equivalent as well as a blank personal check. Auction day registrants will be limited to the purchase of one residence only.