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Suffolk University sells Fenton Building on Beacon Hill for $15M

From Banker & Tradesman:

Suffolk University has sold its six-story Fenton Building on Beacon Hill for $15 million.

The buyer was 32 Derne Street LLC, an affiliate of Brookline-based Derne Street Partners.

The university plans to move classrooms and administrative offices that were located in the 47,480-square-foot Derne Street building to other parts of campus this summer and eventually to the new $62 million 20 Somerset building under construction.

No word on what the new owners plan to do. But we have a two-word suggestion: Condos, please.

Here’s our past post on the Fenton Building.

Read other posts about: Beacon Hill Real Estate

The historic Market Basket protests

To veer completely off the subject of real estate, the ongoing saga at the Market Basket supermarket chain is really an amazing story, arguably the top local story now unfolding in Boston.

The thousands of employees, who are not unionized, are literally bringing the company to its knees. They are doing it without union help. Indeed, they’re dismissing offers of help from unions, saying they don’t need or want unions.

No matter where the truth lies in this complicated story, we think this showdown will probably be studied by labor academics for years to come. It’s simply an extraordinary event, involving a dysfunctional family who owns the company and employees who generally care about the company, perhaps too much.

Somewhere, the whole issue of continually squeezing employees around the country, or their fears of being squeezed, is at the heart of this massive protest, not who’s actually right or wrong in the DeMoulas family feud.

Read other posts about: nothing about real estate

Bank branches, bad. Cupcake shops, good

Actually, that’s not exactly how Beacon Hill pundit Karen Cord Taylor phrases it, but it’s accurate enough.

And she’s generally right. Why are there suddenly so many banks trying to open branches in small neighborhood shopping districts? With few options for aesthetically pleasing window displays (unless you consider “Low-fee checking” signs to be pleasing), too many bank branches can make an entire street look and feel dull.

It’s just the way they are: dull by nature, not by intent. So a better approach, from a community standpoint, might be for banks to consider putting smaller branches (and ATMs) within more retail stores, sort of the way some banks have tiny branches within supermarkets — or even the way there’s a tiny Dunkin’ Donuts tucked within Beacon Hill’s Top Shelf wine and food store.

Not that we need more cupcake shops. If there’s one thing the world simply doesn’t need, it’s more cupcake shops, as delicious as their products may be for all us gluttons. But you get the idea.

Read other posts about: Boston Real Estate

Ink Block’s ‘Sepia’ has already sold 60 percent of its condos – and more may be on the way

Was there any doubt that the massive Ink Block development, at the site of the old Boston Herald building in the South End, would be a success?

Three of the planned five buildings are already nearly finished — with a new Whole Foods expected to soon take up space on the ground floor of the development.

But it appears that 60 percent of the planned 83 condos within the “Sepia” building have also already been sold, even before construction, and now National Development is talking as if it plans to add more condos to the mix at Ink Block.

That’s great news.

File under: More condos, please.

Read other posts about: South End Real Estate

Finding permanent homes for the homeless: It’s possible

Shirley Leung has a really interesting column about how the Pine Street Inn, known for caring for the homeless, has altered its mission to find more permanent homes for the chronically homeless.

It’s not as farfetched as it sounds. A large percentage of the inn’s overnight beds are routinely taken up by a small number of hard-core homeless people, not people simply going through a rough patch and needing temporary overnight housing.

There’s about 300 chronic homeless people in Boston, a surprisingly small number when you think about. So a solution isn’t some pie-in-the-sky dream.

File under: Doing good

Photo via

Read other posts about: Boston Real Estate

Raising a little cash by renting out your condo by the night, thanks to Airbnb

Following in the share-economy footsteps of Uber (the taxi-like service), Airbnb is now the latest big thing, as thousands of people now rent out bedrooms by the night at their condos and homes.

Because the rooms can go as low as $50 a night, it’s a big hit with travelers to Boston and elsewhere.

And because it’s a big hit, it’s going to meet stiff opposition, not just from established hotels, but also from government entities who want their cherished hotel tax revenues.

We can think of many reasons to be cautious about Airbnb. But we can also think of twice as many reasons to be pumped up about Airbnb.

Chief among them: Travel in the US is just too damn expensive and the market is clearly looking for alternatives, like Airbnb, to higher-priced (and highly taxed) hotels and established B&Bs. In Boston, renting out rooms on a nightly basis can also help defray the absurd cost of housing in this area.

So file under: Go Airbnb! Go disruptive technology!

Read other posts about: Boston Real Estate

‘The Factory at 46 Wareham’ will actually be housing

There’s now a proposal for 42 residential units (not clear if they’re apartments or condos – hopefully condos) and ground-floor retail at an old warehouse, not a factory, in the South End. From the BBJ:

The Holland Co. intends to convert a four-story warehouse at 46 Wareham St. into “The Factory at 46 Wareham,” a six-story, mixed-use development that would include 9,400 square feet of ground floor retail. Today, the underutilized four-story warehouse is partially occupied by a Samos Imex Corp. a food importer with two employees.

Read other posts about: South End

‘Boston’s faux housing boom’

Scott isn’t impressed with all the housing construction in Boston, largely because it’s almost exclusively luxury housing.

Well, he’s absolutely right. We need less expensive housing too. But we’ll still take the luxury housing. Something is better than nothing.

Read other posts about: Boston Real Estate

Happy Fourth of July!

To all our Boston Real Estate Blog readers, have a wonderful Fourth of July and holiday weekend in general.

Fyi: The above photo of the American flag was taken last year on Beacon Street, near the Statehouse in Boston, birthplace of the American Revolution.

Read other posts about: General Housing News

New Balance is adding housing to massive Brighton development

Construction of New Balance’s $500 million Boston Landing project is well under way.

But now it looks like they’re going to add a large 295,000-square-foot housing component to the project at 125 Guest Street, which is basically across the street from the main construction site and now a small light-industrial/trucking property that was purchased by NB earlier this year for $10 million.

Though no housing units numbers were given, the math basically breaks down like this: Take the 295,000 square feet and subtract from it ground-floor retail space (how much, we don’t know, assuming the city insists on some ground-floor retail space) and … well, it would still leave a lot for housing.

How’s that for math?

Read other posts about: Boston Real Estate

Let's talk Boston real estate. The most recent real estate comments

  • Tyler Mills, Lenders go into overdrive to clear out backlog of delinquent mortgages: Instead of forcing out the...
  • warren currier, ‘Boston’s faux housing boom’: Scott, Do you own any units in Boston? Supply /...
  • Nishant, Major Developers: Affordable homes can only be built outside downtown Boston: Yes, this is correct that...
  • warren currier, Done deal: Dr. Dre buys Tom and Gisele’s mansion for $40M: The property is located in LosAngeles,...
  • JS, Despite predictions, inventory of homes for sale continues to fall in Mass.: One thing that could be holding...
  • dcmhomebuyers, For 74 Beacon Street, it was the kitchen, stupid: Nice house. I think front section to location of...
  • Johnd478, Five signs you’re a ‘renter for life’: I just couldnt depart your site prior to...
  • Dionis Padron, Downtown condo prices now averaging near $1 million each: great article but prices for standalone...
  • John Ford, Charles Ponzi’s old Lexington home for sale at $3.3M: That’s a great idea. Anyone have an idea how...
  • Rich, Charles Ponzi’s old Lexington home for sale at $3.3M: Speaking of Mr. Ponzi, he ran his Ponzi scheme out of an...
  • amparo bracero, Big changes in store for Tremont Street?: I will love to comunicated my self with aida I was one of...
  • warren currier, Low mortgage rates may partly explain low inventory: The banks are making it very hard to get a loan....
  • Kiki, ‘Our biggest impediment’: Inventory: A quick maybe unrelated question. What’s a typical or...
  • JS, Hey, let’s tear down most of downtown Boston for the Olympics: I agree, and I resent the commission describing us...
  • PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANIES in Carlsbad CA, ‘Our biggest impediment’: Inventory: good blog
  • Phoenix property management, Blog: As you may have noticed I am having problems with the comment section of the blog....
  • Phoenix property management, Get your very own ‘mushroom house’: Good post. i like it so much.
  • Phoenix property management, Get your very own ‘mushroom house’: Good post. I like it
  • PROPERTY MANAGEMENT COMPANIES in Carlsbad CA, California dreamin’ on such a winter’s day …: Good post...
  • Borris C., ‘Friendly competition’ keeps Seaport rents as high as possible: Sounds like good old-fashioned collusion...

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