Boston Real Estate Blog

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The Amadeus House: Back Bay’s $14.99 million bargain of the week!

Technically, it’s called the Mason House, the 11-bedroom townhouse at 211 Commonwealth Avenue now up for sale for $14.99 million (not to be confused with $14.9 million).

Still, with the sale being handled by Jonathan Radford at Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, maybe the townhouse should just be pitched as the Amadeus House, considering how its large music room is where “famous pianists once performed for well-heeled locals.”

You know Amadeus, the famous Academy Award-winning movie featuring some musician called “Wolfgang,” or “Wolfie,” whatever, and his envious nemesis Salieri.

Well, we’re Salieri. Jonathan is Wolfie.

And it’s safe to say we’re more than a little jealous he has this sale.

Btw: Below is the “entertainment room” in Amadeus. Notice the similarities?

What the heck: Read the late Roger Ebert’s review of Amadeus. Haven’t seen the flick in years. Might rent it this weekend. Remember: We (and you) are Salieri. Jonathan is Wolfie.

Looking at Beacon Hill and Back Bay’s soaring housing prices

The Herald takes a neighborhood-by-neighborhood look at home/condo prices, based on LINK Property Network stats. Here’s some of the sales and price numbers:

Back Bay

• 63 units — down from 115 this time last year.

• $1,100,000 average price of a two-bedroom condo — up from $997,918 last year.

• $600,971 average price of a one-bedroom condo — up from $589,302 last year.

Beacon Hill

• 23 units — down from 37 this time last year and 66 the year before.

• $760,820 average price of a two-bedroom condo — up from $735,230 last year.

• $446,461 average price of a one-bedroom condo — up from $427,606 last year.

UPDATE: Fisher College reconsiders Beacon Street dorm plans

No sooner than posting the item below, we picked up a print copy of the Boston Courant with the lead headline: “Fisher Reconsiders Beacon Dorm Plan.”

Apparently, the storm of neighborhood controversy has forced the school to reconsider putting new dorms at 115 and 139-141 Beacon Street, each holding 43 beds for students (115 is the highlighted one above, while 139-141 is to the far left on the same side of Beacon; click on map to see slightly larger version). Fisher didn’t make clear what exactly it will do to accommodate residents’ concerns, but Fisher spokesman Peter Gori said the school is willing to be flexible, the Courant reported.

We’d gladly link to the Boston Courant article, but it doesn’t post its stories online. Copies are available at most grocery stores and retail shops in the Back Bay and on Beacon Hill. Check out the issue. It’s worth the read.

Fyi: Here’s the original Fisher Master Plan presented last month by the college at a city hearing.

Online petition started to oppose Fisher College’s expansion plans

The plans by Fisher College to expand its Back Bay/Beacon Hill-flats presence continues to meet opposition.

The latest is an online petition that someone recently pointed out to BREB.

The deadline for comments on the expansion plan is Aug. 5.

Here’s how the Beacon Hill Times recently described Fisher’s plans:

The college filed an Institutional Master Plan Notification Form with the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) on June 4, outlining its plans for the next decade, including the addition of 300 students to its enrollment; student-housing expansion of 177 new dormitory beds, bringing the total to 466, in the area of Berkeley and Arlington streets; the construction of a two-story rear addition at 118 Beacon St. and a roof terrace at the rear of 104-114 Beacon St.; and a change in usage for a building recently acquired by the school at 10-11 Arlington St. to administrative offices.

Simon increases number of residential units at Copley Place

Simon Property Group is proposing an increase in residential units at its planned new tower over Copley Place.

The project would now include 433 apartments and 109 condos, up by 224 residential units over previous plans. The total height of the tower will be remain the same, but the number of floors would increase from 47 to 52, largely by cutting down on individual-floor heights, one assumes.

One other change we’d like to see: Just make it more beautiful. Some of the past designs we’ve seen are truly hideous, including apparent use of intentionally dark tinted glass that reminded us of some horror-show architecture you might see in New Haven or Detroit.

Lighter tinted glass has been cropping up in later renditions (see above), signaling slight improvements. But you still have to wonder. This isn’t a project that can afford to whiff on the design. It’s going to be front and center and dominate one of the city’s most beautiful squares.

It’s somewhat comforting to know that Elkus Manfredi Architects of Boston is involved. They’ve designed some great buildings in Boston in the past. Let’s hope they can get the designs to a point where they’re more generally pleasing to the eye, rather than depressing to the eye.

Holy mackerel: Two Back Bay parking spaces go for $560,000

The IRS was expecting, or hoping, to get $250,000 in the auctioning off of two tandem parking spaces at 298 Commonwealth Avenue in the Back Bay.

After a bidding war between neighbors, the two spaces went for $560,000, which is considerably higher than the median cost of a home in Massachusetts.

Well, at least the previous owner of the spaces just paid off a large chunk of his $900,000-plus overdue tax bill.

File under: Have you any Grey Poupon?

(Click on Grey Poupon link to watch the commercial’s hilarious “lost footage.”)

Photo via, Flickr

Back Bay parking spaces could fetch $250,000 at IRS auction

The IRS is planning later this month to auction off two parking spaces at 298 Commonwealth Ave. in the Back Bay.

The two spaces were seized by the federal revenue department from a tax-deliquent owner who owes $969,000 in back taxes.

Though bids will start at $40,000 (based on some la-la land formula that obviously has little to do with real-estate reality in downtown Boston), bids could hit $250,000 or higher, or so the IRS thinks/hopes.

Believe it or not, there used to be a time, once upon a time, when $250,000 could buy you both a condo and two parking spaces in the Back Bay. But that was then, this is now.

The 20 most valuable homes in Boston

The BBJ has a list the 20 most valuable homes in Boston, based on property-tax assessments.

Yes, the BBJ knows full well that assessments aren’t necessarily the best way to measure true value, but, as it explains, it’s still a fun way to analyze the market.

Not surprisingly, Beacon Hill and Back Bay dominate the list, and the Back Bay can lay claim to the highest assessed residential property in the city.

But Louisburg Square and its properties are really the stars of the slide show.

Come to think of it, Louisburg Square has been the residential star of Boston for centuries.

The photo above, circa 1930s, is via the Wikipedia Creative Commons.

Here’s a quick excerpt from Wikipedia’s entry on Louisburg Square: “It was named for the 1745 Battle of Louisbourg (in Canada), in which Massachusetts militiamen led by William Pepperrell, who was made the first American baronet for his role, sacked the French fortress located on the site.”

Didn’t know that. Learn something new every day.

Here’s the BBJ slide show.

Another piece of Newbury Street sold off

UrbanMeritage has purchased another property on Newbury Street, this time 205 Newbury Street for $8 million. It previously purchased 79 Newbury Street for $10 million.

Now, UrbanMeritage may well be the best landlord on Newbury Street. But think about the numbers: It has an $8 million investment it needs to recoup — and its 205 Newbury Street property has as tenants a poster gallery, a frozen dessert store, a hair salon and an interior designer.

Think of that $8 million in terms of a mortgage — and think what would have to be charged in rents to pay it off.

It doesn’t quite work that way in retail. But you you get the picture about how and why Newbury Street has gotten so pricey.

‘The 45 best restaurants in America’

Granted, it’s one of those silly ranking lists they seem to always come up with.

But having a list of the top 45 restaurants in the country with only one from New England (#26 Fore Street in Portland, Maine) while including the Shake Shack chain in New York? Yikes.

These days, we’ll take any restaurant in the Back Bay over any of the listed eateries above — because they’re staffed with good people and they need our help.

So don’t forget: Get over to the Back Back and start shopping till you drop and eat until you can’t have a thin mint more.

Update – We couldn’t resist. Above is Mr. Creosote from the famous Monty Python thin-mints skit. It’s so brilliantly stupid.

Another update — By Shake Shack causal-fare standards, we’d also prefer Pepe’s Pizzeria in New Haven and the Barking Crab in Boston. But we’ll just stick with Back Bay eateries for now.

Yet another update — Shake Shack may be coming to Harvard Square. Count us among the less than impressed.