Seaport District Million Dollar Open Houses

If you can dig yourself out of the snow drifts after Saturday’s winter storm, or if you park your car in a garage parking space, the Seaport District is hosting two $1 million+ luxury loft open houses that will be sure to impress.

Channel Center Condo 401

On Sunday, January 11, 2009 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM, Unit 401 at 35 Channel Center Street is being held open.  The listing is a stunning loft recently featured in Boston Magazine located in the hot Fort Point Channel neighborhood. Designed by a notable Boston architect and design team, this showcase two-bedroom two-bathroom home was designed with the finest materials and a multitude of custom features including expansive living and dining rooms, generous master bedroom with large dressing area/closet system and spa like bath, open granite/stainless kitchen featuring a large island and abundant storage. Direct access deeded garage parking included.

Unit 401 at Channel Center is listed at $1,190,000 for 1,914 square feet ($622 per square foot) and has monthly HOA fees of $839.

Fort Point Place Condo 622

Additionally appealing is Unit 622 at Fort Point Place (21 Wormwood Street), which is being held open during the same time frame on Sunday, January 11, 2009 from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM. The listing at Fort Point Place is a truly unique contemporary brick and beam corner Penthouse Loft featured in Design Magazine, with over 2,000 square feet of living space. Kitchen & Master bathroom finishes, tile and lighting from Italian design and all imported from Italy. Spiral up to a 270 square foot private roof deck constructed with Special IPE environmentally friendly wood designed by Beth Whittaker. Juliet Balcony in living area, and southeast exposures offer an abundance of natural light within. Single deeded garage parking space included.

Unit 622 at Fort Point Place is listed at $1,199,000 for 2,058 square feet ($583 per square foot) and has monthly HOA fees of $622.

DNA Lofts Maintain Momentum

After a relatively successful start out of the gate, DNA Lofts, the latest loft-style development to hit Dorchester, recently made the decision to lower unit prices to maintain momentum and sales velocity heading into 2009.

Prices at the 59-unit DNA Lofts development formerly ranged in price from $245,000 to $599,000, and have since been reduced to $207,000 to $591,000.  On the lower end of this scale are studio units, with excellent light, and on the higher end, expansive penthouse units with their own outdoor space.

The DNA Lofts development, where units include a parking space in the onsite garage or parking lot and a short walk to the Red Line, have been touted as an alternative to South End condos, especially new developments farther south in that neighborhood.

Lofts at 36 A Offer Unique Value

In the Summer of 2007, a hotbed of activity was happening surrounding the (Red Line) Broadway T-Stop in South Boston.  The Macallen Building had recently opened with fanfare as Boston’s first green building adjacent to the existing Court Square Press loft development, work was underway on the Allele, and a boutique development on the corner of A Street and W 4th Street called the Lofts at 36 A promised to offer something unique to its residents. In late 2008, 36 A is approaching sold out status, and residents and potential Buyers are enjoying the building.

Lofts at 36 A Exterior

36 A goes beyond the no frills exterior and posh interior finishes, and someone who knows this well is Beth Dailey, who has served as the Sales Director for the Lofts at 36 A since preconstruction.  Dailey is a prominent listing agent in South Boston, and speaks very knowledgeably about the 36 A property and the surrounding area.

One of the things about the Lofts at 36 A that residents are most excited about is the the low condo fees, which give you “everything you’d want in a building in the city without the expense of a concierge or gym passed on to unit owners,” says Dailey.  “People are choosing to buy a second parking space [in the building] because the condo fees are so low – they are purchasing a second vehicle with the extra money they save in condo fees.”

Proximity to the Mass Pike and 93, as well as being just 280 steps to the T are amenities that don’t go unnoticed by residents.  36 A truly shines when you turn to the inside of the building and begin to look at some of the finishes with which the developer outfitted the boutique development.  The developer was actually planning to move into the building with his wife, young daughter and pets, however, when his wife became pregnant with their second child, he needed a little more space.  The fact that the developer was going to call the building home is a blessing in disguise to residents, as the building was constructed with personal care.

Lofts at 36 A Concrete Floors

The building has been built with some of the latest advances in systems, and some of the sleekest finishes in Boston, for instance, the stained and scored concrete floors are by far the most unique and hip floors you will currently find in the city.  The quality of the (high velocity) systems have helped condo Buyers save on heating and cooling bills says Dailey, as “many residents have not even turned on their heat yet this season, sound deadening insulation, and staggered stud 2 x 6 construction between units, and concrete between floors,” all assist in making the most efficient use out of the available square footage

The contemporary loft-style units at 36 A are all south facing, and offer curtain walls of glass.  All condo fees in the building are below $280 per month, and Buyers seem to appreciate the straightforward pricing that is inclusive of at least one parking space in the two-level garage parking (street level and a below grade level accessed via a car lift).  The building is built to be family and pet friendly, and has a bicycle and baby carriage area, and extra storage.

Lofts at 36 A Kitchen

Given the economic downturn that Boston is faced with, 36 A positions itself from a unique value perspective as “a small boutique building with very low condo fees and taxes relative to the other buildings in the neighborhood.  It’s brand new construction which limits the exposure to assessments and having to replace common area elements,” says Dailey.  The ground floor commercial space is uniquely controlled, and deemed a low impact commercial space (i.e. no restaurant or food use), and is currently occupied by a residential real estate brokerage. The common space that does exist in the building is decorated in a contemporary and subtle way, especially the elevator lobby, which is adorned with a commissioned piece of artwork by a resident in the building.

There are currently 6 units for sale at 36 A, ranging in price from $519,000 to $659,000, which includes at least one heated garage parking space, as well as access to a common roofdeck with expansive city views.

Lofts at 36 A Lobby Artwork

Lofts at 36 A Bathroom

Lofts at 36 A Roofdeck

FP3 Seaport District Condos Slow to Sell

When Berkeley Investments Inc., local restaurateur Barbara Lynch, and Mayor Thomas Menino broke ground at the mixed-use FP3 condo development on Friday, April 20, 2007, the project was heralded as the new luxury baseline in the Fort Point Channel.  More than a year and a half later, the development is now a reality, but the 92 residential loft-style condos are not moving off the market.

In July of 2008, a Berkeley employee was quoted in Banker & Tradesman saying that 38 units were Under Agreement poised to close when the certificate of occupancy was issued later in the summer (see Brokers: Fort Point Condo Project Too Pricey for Neighborhood 100 KB PDF), yet, fast forward to today, and a very different reality exists with the certificate of occupancy indeed in place, but only 9 units have sold, and 2 are Under Agreement.

The pertinent condo sales statistics at FP3 currently include:

  • Number of Listings Sold: 9
  • Percentage of Building Sold: 9.8%
  • Average Sale Price: $610,436
  • Median Sale Price: $541,000
  • Average Price per Square Foot: $659
  • Average Days on Market: 120

FP3 Boston Condos

The popular restaurateur Barbara Lynch has opened the much hyped Sportello restaurant on the ground floor of FP3, alongside her new lounge, simply called Drink. The presence of Lynch onsite has been one of the cornerstones of marketing for FP3 developers, both for the condo development itself, and the overall neighborhood, but condo sales in the building have not been able to keep pace with the opening of Lynch’s new posh attractions.

Local real estate broker, Elad Bushari of Bushari Group Real Estate says that he is a fan of the area,”the location is great, close to the Financial District, the red line and great restaurants. The top floors are amazing, big windows, outdoor space, and great views.” However, Bushari cites price in accounting for the significant difference in sales velocity between FP3 and more popular condo developments such as 285 Columbus Lofts that are approaching sold out status in a much shorter sales cycle with,”I think that it has a lot to do with the developer’s flexibility on prices, most of the feedback I received from my buyers is that it’s just too expensive; the area is going to be great but it’s not there yet.”

While the price points, and lack of price reductions, may be keeping potential new Buyers at bay, current residents have reason to smile. Berkeley Investments has yet to cut prices to the point where current residents are stuck with negative equity in their units, an unfortunate reality for some Bostonians who buy early at new luxury condo developments. It’s a balancing act to try and buy the specific unit that you desire in a new condo development early in the preconstruction sales cycle, but at the same time, avoid buying in too early so as to avoid (oftentimes inevitable) developer price reductions on future unsold units that will ultimately bring palatable building price points below preconstruction levels.

“I don’t think they need to do much more. Their marketing looks pretty good to me, I don’t know their traffic, but they are noticeable, at least in the brokers community,” states Bushari.

Heading into the winter months, there are currently two units (210, 217) Under Agreement at FP3 Boston, both units at the lower end of the price scale in the building with a studio and a one-bedroom listed at  $349,000 and $449,000 respectively – FP3 condo fees
do include concierge services.

FP3 Boston Lofts Lobby

Dorchester Loft with Extras

the annual Dorchester Open Studios event is being held this weekend at various locations (see the Dorchester Arts Collaborative for more details) throughout the neighborhood.  If the art draws you in, a stop into unit 202 at 950 Dorchester Avenue could also inspire you.  Unit 202 is part of an intimate recent new redevelopment that houses 13 condos, 12 of which are owner occupied.

Currently listed for sale at $399,000, unit 202 offers 1,207 square feet, a true loft feel with exposed brick and beam and polished concrete floors.  The large open living space is splashed with light from the 8 foot windows, which go well with the 13 foot ceilings.  Upgrades in the unit include concrete countertops, custom cabinets, high-end appliances, and a large private deck that spans the entire length of the unit.  Parking, and extra storage, are included.  Condo fees are $184 per month, and include water, sewer, and master insurance.

An open house will take place at this Dorchester loft on Sunday, October 26, 2008 from 12:00 PM to 1:15 PM.  For more information, contact us by using the link at the top of this page.

950 Dorchester Avenue Unit 202

950 Dorchester Avenue Unit 202

Broadluxe Lofts – Studio 5F

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoEpC1byhKw 285 234]

Affordable Financial District Loft Living

Situated in the heart of Boston’s Financial District, the Broadluxe loft-style condo development is, after several months, now down to its final two developer units. The final two units, both studios, and essentially the same floor plan, are approximately 540 square feet, have the same finishes that other units in the building contain, including granite countertops, exposed brick and beam, washer / dryer hookup, and extra storage in the basement.

Broadluxe 5F Kitchen

The two units, 4F and 5F, are both listed at $299,000, however, this price comes on the heels of several price reductions in an effort to move the last of the remaining inventory off the books of owner Apex, Inc. (a subsidiary of TD Banknorth).  The developer has appraisals in hand for the units at approximately $340,000, and are being aggressive about closing out the remaining two studio lofts.

Condo fees for these units are approximately $320 per month, and include hot water, water, sewer, master insurance, security (including concierge Monday through Friday), elevator, exterior maintenance, snow removal, refuse removal.  For more information, use the contact us link at the top of this page.

DNA Lofts Dorchester Set New Standard

A six to seven minute south bearing Red Line T ride from Downtown Crossing will put you near the front door of perhaps one of the hippest condo developments to take shape in Boston (Dorchester) in some time.  Cleverly called DNA Lofts, the 59 unit loft-style condo development molds the old and the new with class and style.

DNA Lofts Dorchester

The old is a three-story brick building constructed in 1929 that provides the historic anchor for the property, originally serving as a printing press factory for the Meisel Press Manufacturing Company. The new is two separate four-story buildings that flank the Meisel building, all sharing a roof line, melding the old and the new, something that has been seen with such downtown projects as FP3 Boston where the character and history of older buildings is maintained, built upon, and enhanced. The 3-building DNA Lofts complex is centered around a beautifully landscaped north-facing courtyard, which will serve as the main entrance to the development

Loft-style condos will range in price from $245,000 to $599,000, and in size from 577 to 1,648 square feet, with the average unit boasting approximately 1,000 square feet.  Building A is the original Meisel building and contains 36 units with polished concrete floors. Building B, the west building, will house 11 units, and Building C, on the east side, has 21 units and will house the common roofdeck area. Lofts in Building C are presented to Buyers as a blank canvas, with the ability to build a unique space from a plethora of design options.

That is ultimately where DNA Lofts got its name.  It’s the idea, the concept, of customization in making your living space your own – truly stamping a home with your personal DNA.

The development boasts 30 different floorplans, with 80% of units accompanied by outdoor space. All residents will have access to a large north-facing common roof deck that offers views of Boston’s downtown skyline. While there is no concierge onsite, all units will be outfitted with in-home vision-phone annunciators.  In addition to a large outdoor parking lot, DNA Lofts will offer  17 indoor parking spaces with direct elevator access – each loft will be accompanied by at least one parking space, be that indoors or out. All units offer washer / dryer hookups.  Buyers have an abundance of choice with these condos, for instance, there are several different countertop choices, including White Sands and Quartz Reflections by CaesarStone and Genesis by Han Stone (one of their darker stones). Kitchen appliances are GE stainless steel, and HOA fees will be kept reasonably low at approximately $0.40 per square foot.

DNA Lofts Dorchester

DNA Lofts is backed by a well-recognized team that has gone to great lengths in creating an appealing condo development that sets a new standard for loft living just south of Boston.

  • Developer: RaiCoh Partners, LLC
  • Architect: The Architectural Team, Inc (TAT)
  • Landscape Architect: Brian DeVellis of RaiCoh Partners LLC
  • General Contractor: Green Builders, Inc.
  • Listing Agency: Coldwell Banker
  • Interior Design: Gregor Cann, Cann Design

We see a lot of condo developments, so it’s important to highlight some of the subtle differences that make DNA Lofts stand out from others in Boston, and especially other recent Dorchester developments. Proximity to the city is a key selling point, you’re removed from the core of the city so you’ll get more bang for your buck, but you’re a $7 cab ride to the northern part of the South End and steps from the JFK U Mass T-Stop that will put you at Downtown Crossing quickly – it’s a subtle difference from other developments that are farther removed from downtown Boston.  DNA Lofts is part of an established neighborhood with local restaurants such as The Avenue Grill and Sugar Bowl.  Ceiling heights range from 10 to 16 feet, true loft style spaces with a mix of exposed brick and beam and “finished” units, along with high-end finishes and unique design features.  The development is served by two elevator banks, which provide another subtle feature to residents in that you avoid the endless Las Vegas hotel hallway effect that you see in other condo developments that are 50+ units in size – living spaces feel more intimate and unique because of this.

The clever and thoughtful packaging of this new development is paying off, with a reported 4 units already Under Agreement, and a sales pipeline with good velocity.  Targeted for a late 2008 completion, the sales center recently opened, and several model units allow Buyers to get a hands on feel for the product.  Contact us using the link at the top of this page for more information.

DNA Lofts Dorchester

DNA Lofts Dorchester

DNA Lofts Dorchester

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.

100_0763

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.

100_0760

Flip That Condo at Broadluxe

Not more than two months following the condo auction at Broadluxe in Boston’s Financial District, there are three resale units available for sale – all of which sold at the auction on June 21, 2008 to a single bidder. If you’re at all close to the Boston MLS, you may have even seen these units hit the market in July, however, they were removed because the auction bidder did not actually own the units at the time. Closings on auction units at Broadluxe began on July 28, 2008.

These three Broadluxe flips have steep price increases from the prices paid at auction less than two months ago (unit number – price paid at auction / new list price):

  • 5A – $482,500 / $688,500 ($635 per square foot)
  • 7A – $375,000 / $750,000 ($739 per square foot)
  • 8B – $595,000 / $1,075,000 ($809 per square foot)

Bear in mind that Broadluxe had two overarching unit types, finished units, and what were called shell units. The former are move in ready, while the latter need to be finished by the Buyer (i.e. unfinished concrete floors, sheet rock on the walls, and rough plumbing and electrical installed, that’s it).  Terms were written into the Purchase and Sale Agreement for the shell units that construction to finish the units needed to commence no later than 6 months following purchase, and finish no later than 18 months following purchase.

Unit 5A will remain as is, it’s a corner unit that came finished. Units 7A and 8B appear to have plans to be finished by the current owner (i.e. in addition to the price paid at auction, an investment will be made into finishing the unit to make it move in ready) . All in (including finishing units 7A and 8B), the current owner is attempting to make, as they say on the Flip This House TV show, an “expected profit” of at least $200K on each unit. 15 units remained for sale following the June auction, and most of those sold rather quickly in the month following the auction, but while post auction units have not been selling at (minimum bid) auction prices (i.e. they have been selling for more than auction minimum bid prices), tremendous value has still been available for most Buyers.

While the Broadluxe auction presented downtown Boston Buyers with one of the best bargains available in 2008, time will tell if such flips as the three described above will command anything close to their asking prices.

broadluxe