Boston Real Estate Blog

John Ford Realty
137 Charles Street, Boston
151 Tremont Street

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All about the Seaport District

Scott Van Voorhis writes a column about whether or not we should call the Seaport District the “Seaport District”.

Answer: Yes.

Development is booming along the waterfront by Fan Pier and the Moakley federal courthouse. But confusion reigns over the area’s name and even its brand identity.

City Hall is preparing to roll out dozens of signs for pedestrians and motorists across the fast-growing district stamped with its official name: South Boston Waterfront.

But even as city officials put up signs with the area’s government-sanctioned name, the “Seaport” label – born during the 1990s as plans were being laid for the redevelopment of this key stretch of harborside – survives.

The only reason the city is even thinking about using the SBW nomenclature is to pacify the politicians in South Boston. Nobody else much cares, I don’t think.

Source: Name that new town; Some say Seaport; city calls it South Boston Waterfront – By Scott Van Voorhis, The Boston Herald

Movers and shakers in Boston real estate

The cooler (less hot?) real estate market in Boston has brought many changes over the past couple of years. Lots of agents changing companies, etc.

This week, Elad Bushari left Sotheby’s Realty and went out on his own.

Congratulations and good luck, Elad!

Another Rose Kennedy Greenway project in shambles

Ever driven down the Rose Kennedy Greenway Parkway and wondered, why is there all this open space, where you might assume there’d be some trees or grass, maybe a building or two?

Yeah, me too.

None of the proposed buildings for the stretch of land are anywhere near breaking ground. The landscape is littered with as many broken promises as it is with discarded Dunkin’ Donuts cups.

You didn’t think things could go any slower? Wrong.

According to today’s Globe:

Daniel Neuman, touted as the leader who would open the doors to the New Center for Arts and Culture, a cultural anchor on the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway, is leaving after less than two years on the job …

In addition … [Ronald Druker] said yesterday he is stepping down as board chairman to be replaced by Paula L. Sidman, whose late husband, Edwin, was the center’s founding chairman. Druker said he will stay involved.

Meanwhile, down the road, the Boston Museum project continues to kick up dust. The Globe article includes the nugget of news that, of the $120 million (down from the original $190 million) needed for the project, a grand total of $7 million has been raised.

I’m sorry, calling it the Parkway is even being too kind. From now on, I’m calling it the Rose Kennedy Dustbowl.

Budding arts center will lose its leader; Departure not expected to derail Greenway project – By Geoff Edgers, The Boston Globe

Plans for Bulfinch Triangle firmed up by developers, city

A new neighborhood is under development, near North Station, much of it on created land.

* First General Realty will soon release plans for a multi-use project at the corner of Causeway and Beverly streets, which will include two Marriott hotels, office space, ground-floor retail and over 200 parking spaces.

* Construction is underway on an apartment complex building by Archstone-Smith; this is the previously announced Avenir condo project, now rentals. There will be retail on the first floor.

* Simpson Housing has proposed a complex made up of as many as 283 apartments, retail and restaurant space, and 142 parking spots.

* Raymond Properties Co. and Hines are planning “Greenway Center”,which may include commercial office or research and development space, a supermarket, other first-floor retail and up to 200 parking spaces.

Source: Plan for The Merano Next Link in Greenway – By Thomas Grillo, Banker & Tradesman (subscription required)

Downtown Crossing – always something going on outside your door

I was quoted in a story in today’s Boston Globe. The article was about Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood, which borders the Financial District, Waterfront, Midtown, and Ladder District neighborhoods.

The neighborhood is home to 6,000 residents, and many more are on the way, including people moving into 45 Province, the attractive residential tower rising over the city. Completion is scheduled for late 2009.

Downtown Crossing still has a ways to go before you or I might find it a comfortable place to live.

To the outsider, it still looks like a thoroughly commercial district, and lacks some of the conveniences that would round out its residential character, such as a grocery store.

John A. Keith, a real estate broker and author of the blog, agreed that Downtown Crossing still comes up short. On a recent walk through the neighborhood, he saw “empty storefront after empty storefront.”

“It always seems in flux,” he said. “It always seems run-down.”

Downtown Crossing may be the perfect neighborhood for students, Keith said – in the center of everything, but without the amenities other city dwellers require.

That’s true. Emerson College and Suffolk University have expanded into the neighborhood, and it seems to me it would be a perfect place for students to live. Far enough away from Back Bay and Beacon Hill, but close enough to just about everything you need, if you’re a student (including heroin for sale on the Boston Common). (Joking!)

What ends up happening to the neighborhood remains to be seen. Will it become a vibrant 24-hour a day neighborhood, with a mix of young professionals, students, and business people, or will it continue to be defined by what it’s “not”, instead?

Source: A neighborhood showcase; Sponsors of an upcoming tour hope to inspire more people to call Downtown Crossing home – By Kristen Green, The Boston Globe

All about Boston’s neighborhoods

tremont and clarendon st, south end

Great site describing many of Boston’s great neighborhoods, along with a huge number of great photos.

A little about the South End, the best neighborhood in America!

The South End’s population has been diverse since the 1880s when Irish, Jewish, African-American, Greek, Syrian, and Lebanese populations began to settle in the neighborhood. In the 1930 a substantial immigration from Canada’s maritime provinces found economic opportunity in Boston and homes in the South End. Today the neighborhood remains diverse, relatively less expensive than the wealthier Beacon Hill and Back Bay, and income levels are stratified. The South End is built mostly of mid-19th century bowfronts.

More: Boston Neighborhoods blog

Homes in Downtown Crossing on display during May 10 open house tour

An interesting idea, one that has been more popular in other parts of the country.

Home Sweet Home: Living in Downtown Crossing

Over six thousand people live in Downtown Crossing – do you know where?

On Saturday, May 10th from 11:00 AM to 5:00 PM, the Downtown Crossing neighborhood invites the public in to discover the unique spaces, breathtaking views and convenience of living in Downtown Crossing. This self-guided walking tour visits 15 homes, from ultra-modern to historic and from loft to penthouse. Find out where over 6000 people live in Downtown Crossing, and discover their favorite shops and restaurants in the neighborhood.

The tour will stop at occupied rental and sale units at the Devonshire, Ritz, Tremont on the Common, as well as a model unit of the under construction in the 45 Province development, a penthouse at Lafayette Lofts, and lesser known spaces on the “ladder streets” including Avery, Temple Place, and Winter Streets.

The tour can be accomplished in less than two hours, but visitors should consider making a day of it and exploring Downtown Crossing’s other attractions including historic buildings, restaurants and retailers. Tickets are available in advance for $20 and on the day of the tour for $25 at 520 Washington Street (near the intersection of Washington and West Streets).

Tickets for Home Sweet Home are $20 in advance and $25 at the event on May 10th. To purchase tickets in advance click on the “Buy Now” button at the top of this page.

On May 10th, tickets will be sold at 520 Washington Street (near the intersection of Washington and West Streets). Tickets purchased in advance can also be redeemed in this location.

If you have questions or would like additional information, please email or call the Downtown Crossing Association.

Source: Tour to promote downtown living – By Donna Goodison, The Boston Herald

Inner neighborhoods losing out in city services, representation

A column written by me appears in this week’s South End News.

A city divided
by John Keith
South End News

I sometimes joke on my blog that we should break up the city of Boston – that the “Boston Proper” neighborhoods, including the South End, Back Bay, and Beacon Hill, should secede from the rest. It’s not so much joking, though, as it is “wistful” thinking.

I think our city has slowly been dividing into parts. Equal, but competing parts, and not necessarily along the lines you might think – these lines weren’t drawn due to race or income, although they certainly play a part in it. Our city is being divided by widely divergent needs, interests and desires based on geographic location as much as by anything else.

You need look no further than to City Hall to understand what I’m talking about.

Continue reading

Bay Village on Bay Street used to be … on the bay

The Globe has a cool article on an historic home for sale in Boston’s Bay Village.

Jamie Mambro’s little piece of Boston history is on the block, something he calls “bittersweet” every time he talks of selling his home. The single-family, freestanding house at 1 Bay St. is a precious piece of the past in what is now Bay Village, the neighborhood tucked between the South End and the Theatre District. Built in the 1830s, it stands alone, along a small cobblestone way. Outside the front door, an original lamppost, one of few left in Boston, harks back to another century.

The home is now for sale, for $975,000.

History buff Jon Neale talks about how the Bay Village neighborhood used to face the Boston Harbor, back before landfill created much of the South End.

… [T]he carpenter who built it may have parked his boat just out front, when Bay Street was originally on the edge of the water known as Back Bay. Neale has heard this story, too, but says it’s difficult to confirm, although maps he has from the 1800s clearly show Bay Street adjacent to the water. And Neale says the neighborhood’s residents were tradesmen, including painters, house builders, and factory workers.

Melanie Olinto of Olde Forge Realty has the listing.

Source: This old house is one of few of its kind downtown – By Bridget Samburg, The Boston Globe

Boston Courant begins publishing Sunday Open House listings

Starting today, the Boston Courant has begun listing all Sunday Open House listings in its weekly edition.

The data is collected from the Multiple Listing Service Information Network, Inc. (MLSPIN) which is one of two listing services used by most Boston agents. The other service, the Listing Information Network, Inc. (LINK), partners with Community Newspapers to publish the long-running Boston Homes newspaper. Both come out on Saturdays, both are free, and both are delivered door-to-door in the major “Boston Proper” neighborhoods. Also, available on newsstands.

Kevin J Smith, longtime publisher of Boston Homes is now publisher of the Boston Courant open houses newspaper (which does not have a name, apparently).

In the old days, LINK was pretty much the only place where real estate agents listed their clients’ properties, and the only place where open house information was entered. Most agents now enter their listings into both networks. However, agents are not as complete when it comes to open house information. But, now that the Courant is including open house information, it may prompt more agents to put their open house information into both.

Hmmm. I wonder if any other weekly newspapers are considering publishing open house information from MLSPIN …

(Now, if we could only get the Boston Courant to publish its content online.)

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