Harborview Navy Yard High End Rentals

The saga that was Harborview at the Navy Yard in Charlestown finally came to a close this fall as Roseland Property Company decided to stick with rentals, but the changes and confusion haven’t stopped. Originally priced between $3,050 and $5,500 for two bedroom rentals, management decided to lower its price to a more reasonable $2,800 for all of its two-bedroom units. While waterfront property is hard to come by in Boston, it’s no surprise to me that renters weren’t flocking to the property at $3,050 for their street-facing units.

Harborview at the Navy Yard

The reason for this was two-fold. First, the economy of course has had its impact on rents in Boston and was bound to trickle into the luxury market as executive and associate level unemployment has accelerated. Secondly, management’s offer lacked a differentiating factor to attract renters who might otherwise call Archstone Boston Common, West End Apartments or the like, their home. Some of the West End Apartments boast amazing Charles River views and the panoramic outlook from higher floors at the Archstone are hard to beat, so the water views are not enough of a factor amongst the competition. Also, despite condo quality units, their prices were the same or even more than most luxury apartment buildings in (downtown) Boston, and they had a less desirable location for commuting renters (in my experience renters have tended to be even more concerned with public transportation access than Buyers of for-sale condos).

Harborview at the Navy Yard

Harborview at the Navy Yard Rentals Now Discounted

However, things have changed at the Navy Yard. Rent was reduced to below market for luxury apartments, underground parking is now included – as are all utilities except for electricity and cable, and harbor views became affordable. After all, who wants to rent at the Harborview at the Navy Yard without a harbor view?

Harborview at the Navy Yard

Don’t believe that these deals will last. It’s normal for luxury apartment complexes to offer free months rent and other incentives to woo renters in the dull winter months. For instance, the Watermark, a luxury residence in Kendall Square, was offering its renters two months free rent if they signed a lease by January 1st and the West End Apartments are also currently offering reduced rent for winter leases. I expect that the spring will bring the rents back up in the low $3,000 range for two-bedroom units at the Harborview, but they will likely keep the parking incentive as long as there stands the availability to do so…We all know how valuable parking is in Boston, especially underground and Roseland would be keen to keep this advantage intact even after the slower season.

– 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. Jay can be contacted to stay up to date with prices and offers, or to take a tour of Harborview at the Navy Yard or other luxury apartments in Boston.

Harborview at the Navy Yard

Harborview Auction Postponed…Again

A quick update on the Charlestown Harborview at the Navy Yard condominium development. As we reported in 2007, the condo development went from for sale condos to being announced as a rental development, then came the spin that the entire development (building, land, etc.) would be sold via auction, then the lawsuits began, and now we’ve seen two delays in the actual auction.

The auction that was scheduled for November 8, 2007 was postponed until February 1, 2008, and was rescheduled for March 1, 2008, however, according to Pesco (who is handling the sale), the sale did not go forward on this date.

We receive a stream of requests every day regarding Harborview, anywhere from how much rent will be, to when can I buy a condo.  At this point, everything is at a stand still.  It’s obviously a mystery as to why the current owner is “sitting on” an essentially completed property that could be recouping investment.  Stay tuned for more information.

Boston Harborview Navy Yard Auction Postponed

We recently received notice that the Harborview Navy Yard auction (see Harborview Navy Yard Condo Auction Status) scheduled for Thursday, November 8, 2007 at 11am, has been postponed until February 1, 2008 at 11am.

It’s rather unfortunate that this development will sit vacant for 6 months.  We receive inquiries on this development daily, and Bostonians will now wait even longer to obtain clarity on how this development will actually proceed.  Based on where things currently stand, a pure rental development looks promising.

Avenir Boston Condos Now Luxury Rental

Following suit with Harborview at the Navy Yard, Avenir Boston, a large-scale 241-unit condo development in Boston’s West End is officially changing directions, and will now become a luxury rental development rather than for-sale condos.

A Dennis Duffy design, Avenir Boston was to play host to condos with price tags up to $1.5 million. When the Sales Center opened, they were only able to put one unit under agreement. If you call the Sales Center today, you receive a recording that states “reservations are not being taken”, and calls go unreturned.

Not to worry. Construction is moving on, and Trinity Financial, a Boston-based real estate development firm (also behind The Carruth in Dorchester), is anticipating a 2009 completion of Avenir, at which time, the building will be turned over to Archstone Smith for management.

We’ve received a lot of inquiries on Avenir, especially from those of you who work close to the construction site, in anticipation of purchasing a unit. Until 2009, and a rental at that, we suggest looking at Strada 234, which is quite close to Avenir and offers upscale living in a development that is about half the size of Avenir. 2 one-bedroom units are currently available at Strada 234 (priced at $455K and $549K). Contact us for further details.

Avenir Boston

Harborview Navy Yard Condo Auction Status

There’s been some confusion, and ambiguity, surrounding the Harborview at the Navy Yard auction. As Boston Condo Guy reported in early September (Harborview Navy Yard Fails, Now Luxury Rental), Harborview was yanked from the market as a 224-unit for sale condo development, and was slated to become a luxury rental property. It was recently announced that parties involved with Harborview are inching towards making that a reality.

Why do we say inching? Well, the auction that will be take place on Thursday, November 8, 2007 at 11am is looking for a suitor of the entire development, not the individual condos themselves. The entire development still has to be sold off, and the new owner would then proceed with renting out, or perhaps even selling off, units. In other words, if you are a Buyer looking to acquire an individual Harborview condo at below market rates, do not show up to the auction. The development’s suitor needs to put down $1 million in a cashier’s check the day of the auction, with 10% forthcoming 10 days later.

Paul E Saperstein Co., the party who is handling the auction, is working on behalf of Riemer & Braunstein LLP, who is foreclosing upon Eurohypo AG, who apparently backed Trammell Crow (project developer) to get the work done for them. The mortgage of record is for approximately $95 million, so the auction should fetch somewhere in that area – it’s currently uncertain as to what the outstanding balance actually is, given construction loans and other financing more than likely obtained throughout the development process.

Will the Harborview condos ever be sold off to individual Buyers? The answer to that is more than likely, no, at least in the short term. At this point there has not been any condo documents filed. A new owner could potentially use the property for rental purposes or proceed to move forward in the documentation required for condos. It looks more realistic that Harborview will continue down its course of becoming a luxury rental property, eventually.

For further details, view the Harborview Auction Packet (6.7 MB PDF)

Harborview Lawsuits Begin

Thank you to the Boston Business Journal for breaking the news that a first lawsuit has been filed in relation to the failed Harborview at the Navy Yard condo development, the interesting part of this, is that the lawsuit is not coming from upset buyers that got their deposits back and a pat on the back, but from the construction crew that built Harborview, Turner Construction Company.

Essentially, Turner Construction is claiming that Trammel Crow, Harborview’s owner, did not have the money to pay Turner, and Trammel Crow misled Turner into finishing the job (to the tune of $10 million). Unfortunately, that which is surrounding the Harborview project continues to get worse.

The suit highlights the risks of building large-scale condominium projects in Greater Boston’s softening residential real estate market. The market’s turn has prompted some developers, particularly those with properties priced in the midrange, such as HarborView at the Navy Yard, to convert condominium projects into rentals or rethink building condominiums at all.

Harborview Navy Yard Fails, Now Luxury Rental

The phone is dead at the sales office, and the plug has been pulled on what was slated to be a hot new condo development in the Charlestown Navy Yard. Thank you to the Boston Biz Journal for recently reporting that Harborview at the Navy Yard, which was to be a 224-unit condo development scheduled for a September 10, 2007 opening, has completely changed direction from being a for-sale development, and now will become a luxury rental property.

With mortgage markets tightening nationwide and local housing sales continuing their slowdown, we determined that the best direction for the project is to reposition the property as an upscale rental building,” said Joseph Torg, a principal with Trammell Crow Residential (the project’s lead developer), in a statement.

We spoke with the Sales Director at the Harborview sales office in mid-June, and we received the thumbs up that everything was progressing nicely, hard-hat tours were taking place with prospective clients, they were on track for a September 10, 2007 opening, and 20% of the units were under reservation. As of today, the sales office main phone number is no longer in service, and any and all mention of Harborview has been pulled from the Boston MLS.

Harborview Navy Yard Condos

Other recent Boston condo development projects with similar reservation levels around the 20% mark have not experienced the same”luxury rental fate” – take Penny Savings Bank for instance, which is well past its July opening, and still, only 6 of its 23 units are sold and there is no mention of changing course.

One of the significant difference between Harborview and other developments that are willing to stick it out in the current market is size (number of units). Harborview at the Navy Yard is a 224-unit monster of a development, nothing else that has hit the market over the past year (or let’s say after the “credit crunch” that is being stoked at every opportunity) compares to it.

However, larger Boston developments have thrived in the past several years, even those that are in Charlestown. The 2005-built Parris Landing, just a stone’s throw from Harborview, boasts 367 units – 21 resale units are on the market currently, ranging in price from $289,000 to $920,000. One Charles (Back Bay / Midtown area), with 232 units, built in 2004, currently has 8 resale units available priced between $795,000 and $2,395,000.

Ultimately, it’s a case of development size and market timing that has given Trammell Crow cold feet about moving forward with Harborview as a for-sale property. Simply put, they had little confidence that they could sell the 180 units that remained in a reasonable timeframe given their impression of the Boston (Charlestown) real estate market (or perhaps that is their real problem, they too have bought into the idea that city center condos are akin to residential suburbs and pan-US housing, which is wrong in theory and when looking at the numbers).

The fate of Harborview does, unfortunately, put into question upcoming “super” developments such as Avenir Boston and The Clarendon Back Bay, two large-scale projects with 241 and 400 residential units respectively, with construction already started, they are both poised to hit the market with occupancy by 2010.

Harborview Navy Yard Condo Update

Interested buyers looking at Harborview Navy Yard should be happy to hear that move in day is scheduled for September 10, 2007. Approximately 20% of this new Charlestown Waterfront 224 unit condo development is sold, and there continues to be a great selection of floor plans available.

Harborview Navy Yard Condos

You can lock in on anything from a studio to a duplex penthouse, anywhere from $359,000 to over $1 million, along with at least one parking spot in the four-level parking garage below Harborview, as well as a storage unit.

Here is a general look at what you will get for your money at Harborview Navy Yard (note that each type of unit has a +/- range of around 300 square feet given the number of bathrooms and the overall configuration):

  • Studios (+/- 550 square feet) starting at $359,000
  • One-bedrooms (+/- 700 square feet) starting at $409,000
  • One-bedrooms plus a study (+/- 900 square feet) starting at $485,000
  • Two-bedrooms (+/- 1,000 square feet) starting at $509,000
  • Two-bedrooms plus a study (+/- 1,250 square feet) starting at $689,000
  • Premier Units (+/- 2,000 square feet with exclusive placement) starting at $1,077,000

Contact us to learn more and setup a visit to the sales center, and an appointment to tour the development itself.