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

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

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.

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

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

Bryant on Columbus Condos

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Facade Visible at Bryant on Columbus

Columbus Avenue, slicing the Back Bay and the South End, is home to multiple condo developments, both new and old.  285 Columbus Lofts recently completed construction and is approximately 90% sold.  While just a stone’s throw from that site at the corner of Clarendon and Columbus is the Bryant.

We’ve been tracking the Bryant since before it broke ground, and provide the only exclusive time-series photo set of the development through construction (see Bryant on Columbus).  Recently, the Bryant began revealing its face to the outside world.  Moving away the construction tarps, Bostonians are getting their first look at the facade of the Bryant on Columbus, and it appears as though it will do a good job of blending a clean, and perhaps stately, polished looking finish with the older neighboring buildings.

Bryant on Columbus Facade

While nearby residents to the Bryant have not enjoyed the constant construction noise, they will be happy to know that their property values will go up as a result of having a boutique luxury building nearby, beautifying the area along Columbus, and injecting more demand into local businesses.

The Bryant on Columbus currently lists 11 units, only part of their existing inventory, available in the MLS, providing a good feel for what is available in the building – mainly three-bedroom units, as well as an unprecedented four-bedroom unit, all ranging in size and price from approximately 1,900 to 2,800 square feet and $1,550,000 to $2,950,000 (penthouse).  The Bryant will be a unique addition to the area, for more information and/or to setup a tour of the sales center, please contact us.

Bryant on Columbus

Bryant on Columbus From Near and Far

If you’ve been along the border of the Back Bay and the South End over the past several months, you have more than likely seen the significant progress that has been made on the buildout of the Bryant on Columbus, a 50-unit luxury boutique condo development, that by the looks of it, will finish late this year if it continues at the same pace it’s on now. For a time series photo set, visit our Bryant on Columbus page.

The latest up close construction shot of the development is below. As well, we have an exclusive photo of the Bryant’s construction progress taken from the rooftop of the D4 condos several blocks away (you can see the crane rising above the completed floors at the Bryant, just in front of the 131 Dartmouth building – D4 opened to residents last year, and they are down to only 3 available units in the 25-unit boutique Philippe Starck condo redevelopment of the 1932 D4 Police Station.