What does the development of the Boston Mandarin Oriental mean for the local community? Well, aside from casting a shadow on coffee drinkers at the Starbucks outside terrace across the street, it has the potential of continuing to fuel an advancing Back Bay.
All joking aside, the Mandarin residences are a spectacle, and truly a “to be seen at” high profile development, with the minimum condo price coming in near $3 million. It was an invite only affair, and the local condo experts have had relatively little access to knowledge on the building given its hush-hush nature. The core downtown market continues to see multi-million dollar condo developments, with corresponding $1,000+ square foot prices, and it’s amazing that the trend is not stopping – that said, kudos go to Robin Brown, the brainchild behind the Boston Mandarin project, as he has essentially sold out the building well before construction is complete. Arguably, the race is on to finish on time, not upsetting 50 Buyers who plan to plunk down $200+ million for a piece of the new hotspot in Boston real estate.
We ran a reader poll in 2007 asking readers if Boston needed another ultra-luxury development like the Mandarin Oriental. It’s a fair question, as we receive mail and comments from readers all the time asking us to cover more of the under $500K market. The average condo price in the core of downtown Boston for 2007 was over $600,000. Overall, pollsters said that Boston didn’t need more luxury developments. Given that the Mandarin will indeed be built, what’s it mean for the surrounding neighborhood?
Some could argue that the Mandarin will simply continue to feed the high-brow flame that the Back Bay has commonly become known for, but let’s take a positive approach and look at what it’s going to add to the area. Bear in mind that the Mandarin development will encompass 50 condo units, as well as a 148-room hotel. If you have seen recent tourism figures, you’ll know that Boston is one of several cities in the US that can absorb hotel room capacity (i.e. more tourists are flocking to the city, and hotel rooms are needed, and the Mandarin, much like the upcoming Boston W Hotel & Condos, will take advantage of this). Essentially, with the influx of both upper class condo buyers, and and a consistent supply of affluent tourists, the Mandarin makes the following a reality:
- High-end restaurants directly across the street, including Atlantic Fish Co., Vox, and others, will be even more busy than they are now. Owners will accept the shadows the Mandarin casts on their terraces for the steady stream of customers looking for a “good meal” in a “foreign town”.
- The entire Newbury Street corridor will be bolstered with discerning buyers, looking to pick up a pair of boots, or enjoy a scoop of ice cream at JP Licks.
- Lord & Taylor will finally be connected to the core of Copley Mall via an enclosed pedestrian bridge over Ring Road, thus driving further traffic and sales into the more easily reached store – thanks go to Lord & Taylor for recently beautifying the southeast corner of Ring Road and Boylston Street.
- The Back Bay will receive an injection of condo related attention, furthering stabilization, and even appreciation, of condo pricing in the area.
- Residents and tourists will be well-positioned to take advantage of close by shopping and eateries – you remember the difficulty in finding “the” place to eat, or that eclectic shop the last time you were visiting a city you weren’t familiar with. The Mandarin puts you in the center of the Back Bay’s action, and makes selecting a place to eat, oftentimes one of the hardest things to do in a foreign city, easy.
- And finally, on a lighter note, our understanding is that very high-end Commonwealth Avenue condos and townhouses will become vacant and ready for sale as some area residents make the move to the Mandarin.
Will there be negatives related to the opening of the Boston Mandarin Oriental currently scheduled for a July 2008 completion? Sure, some folks are not impressed with the exterior design of the building, and some might say that the focus in the city should be on trying to build out other neighborhoods with high quality, but more affordably-priced housing, such as deep in the South End. Nonetheless, the Mandarin has a suite of positives associated with it, and we’ll be happy to welcome it into the fold later this year.