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Boston Real Estate: Fun facts about the MBTA

Are you one of the millions of people who take the MBTA in and out of Boston everyday? Did you ever wonder how our public transportation system stacks up to other cities? The chart below compares five major cities including:  NYC, Chicago, Washington DC, San Francisco and Boston. Scroll down to read some interesting facts.Boston rea estate transit

Compare cost of living in Boston to other cities

Boston real estate

Boston real estate cost of living

Compare the cost of living in Boston to another U.S. city by using the CNNMoney cost of living calculator.

One example: One a $100,000 salary in Boston you would need to make $159,999 to maintain your living standards in Manhattan.

Sox owner Tom Werner’s ‘Blaze’ pizza coming to a storefront near you

Boston condos

Boston condos

It seems some current Panera Bread franchisees have also secured the rights to open up 15 new Blaze Fast Fire’d Pizza outlets in the Boston area.

Red Sox co-owner Tom Werner is an investor in the California-based Blaze.

We can think of a number of decent locations in Beacon Hill, Back Bay and the general downtown area for a new pizza joint. Then again, we’re not pizza-joint owners, though we most definitely fancy ourselves as devout pizza aficionados.

P.S. — There seems to be a lot of pizza chains coming to Boston lately. Frankly, we love Pepe’s.

Signs of change in Boston: Skyscraper signs are back!

boston condos

Boston condos

Under an old city rule (enforced pretty strictly by the Menino administration), putting corporate signs on top of Boston buildings and skyscrapers was strictly verbotten.

But that’s changing, with both Converse and Vertex now having large corporate signs on their new headquarter buildings in, respectively, the North Station and Seaport areas. The catch: Only companies that move to Boston from another town or city can do this.

Our attitude: Fine, as long as it doesn’t get too out of control.

Hey, maybe Bostonians aren’t as stressed out as we thought

Boston Condos

Boston Condos

Boston can be a stressful town: Masshole drivers, ornery residents, absurdly high real estate prices, densely populated neighborhoods and towns, etc. It seems you can’t escape it, even on vacations here.

But it appears Boston doesn’t rank in the top ten cities for stress in the US. It’s not a list you’d want to be on, for it includes traffic commutes, crime, etc.

We agree Washington D.C. is probably the most stressed out city in America, for all the usual reasons including this: It’s a town of very, very huge and competitive egos, all vying for power or the perception of power.

And note the New Jersey cities on the list. Yeah, we agree with their inclusion on the list too.

The BRA approves new Boston Food Market

Boston real estate

Boston real estate

From the Globe: “Plans for the year-round market along the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway were approved Thursday night by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. The project, expected to cost $14 million, will include up to 45 vendors as well as a bakery, seafood raw bar, and demonstration kitchen staffed by local chefs.”

No mention, though, when it might open. We presume next year.

Breaking news: Pepe’s Pizza coming to Boston

Boston Real Estate

Boston Real Estate

OK, more non-housing news, but this one is big: Pepe’s Pizza of New Haven is reportedly planning to open a shop in Boston.

Anyone who’s been to the original Pepe’s in New Haven knows it has first-class, old-school, delicious thin-crust pizza. And, yes, we’re talking Santarpio’s style and level of pies, arguably even better.

Pepe’s has branched out before, in Connecticut and New York, and we can’t say for sure whether the quality of their pies outside of New Haven hold up to the high standards set by the original shop. Without being cynical, they probably don’t. Restaurants usually mess up the quality and standards when they become chains, albeit even small chains.

But we’ll soon see. … Original scoop via Eater Boston.

File under: When the moon hits the sky like a big pizza pie …

They’re serious about building a new ‘twin’ Sagamore Bridge

Boston condos

Boston condos

Granted, we were more than a little skeptical last month when it was first reported that state officials were mulling a new “twin” Sagamore Bridge to relieve traffic congestion to and from Cape Cod.

But the BBJ has a story (sub. req.) and it seems state officials are quite serious about the idea:

The state Department of Transportation just hired a Cambridge firm to help assess the feasibility of finding a private developer to build a toll bridge over the Cape Cod Canal next to the Sagamore. The winner of this concession agreement — it would likely be a consortium of firms assembled for the job — would finance the bridge’s construction and then pay back the debt by collecting tolls over the life of a long-term lease.

Once the lease ends, the bridge would revert to state control. If all goes according to plan, the bridge could be up in six to seven years from now.

This has the potential to be a game-changer for the harried drivers who have been stuck in a sea of brake lights along Route 6, miles from the freedom that awaits on the north side of the canal.

All we can say is: Good for them. It shows they’re thinking outside the box to address a long-standing problem. Let’s see where this idea goes.

Hey, let’s tear down most of downtown Boston for the Olympics

Boston Commercial Real Estate

Boston Commercial Real Estate

The Globe has a story (sub. req.) about a new commission study that says, yes, Boston, could theoretically handle the Summer Olympics in 2024 in terms of security and hotel rooms etc.

But – well, er, cough, cough – it would take a “monumental task” to actually do it, the commission says.

Monumental is a good word to use. The print story comes with a city map showing how much space a new Olympics stadium and a new Olympics “village” for athletes would need.

The Olympics village alone would be the rough size of the North End (with a little bit of North Station and the Greenway thrown in for good measure), while the stadium would be the rough size of, say, all of Beacon Hill and the flats (with a little bit of MGH and the Public Garden thrown in).

And that doesn’t include new bicycle and media centers. And the transit system would need major upgrades, too.

And, oh, the commission doesn’t have cost estimates.

Of course, the report suggests that maybe Bostonians are too small-minded to envision all the glorious benefits of an Olympics:

The commission acknowledged that it is an open question whether Bostonians, who it noted have a well-earned reputation for being slow to embrace sweeping new endeavors, even want to host the Games. “The biggest concern is related to the actual cost associated with hosting — from where funding comes from to how it would be allocated,” the report said.

Well, duh.

Here’s the thing: The state is still paying off the $15 billion Big Dig tab – a project that started out at one-third of the final price tag. And guess who’s largely paying for the Big Dig today? The minority of commuters who use the MassPike each day, not the entire region and certainly not all the I-93 drivers who derive most of the benefits from the Big Dig.

It’s as if Olympic supporters are thinking, “Hmmm. We haven’t had a multibillion-dollar construction boondoggle for a few years now. What can we do? … The Olympics! … Now who can we stick the bill to?”

Who would pay for the Olympics? Our best guess is that lawmakers would once again start with smokers. They’re so easy to pick on and tax. And tolls would go up on the Pike, too. That’s a given.

Then lawmakers would find other small groups of taxpayers to hit up, similar to how lawmakers tried to stick it to the tech community last year with a new “tech tax” that caused a near revolt before lawmakers rescinded it.

You get the idea.

Don’t get us wrong: We like the idea of hosting an Olympics in Boston. It’d be cool. But we have no faith that: A.) It would come in on or even near budget and B.) that lawmakers would actually spread costs around fairly.

That’s our main problem with this “ridiculous idea” (a great column by Eric Wilbur, btw).

File under: Show me the money

Report: Henry is selling Globe’s Morrissey Boulevard HQ

Boston Real Estate

Boston Real Estate

There’s a little room here for John Henry, the new owner of the Boston Globe, to still downplay, clarify or backtrack from his comments. But Boston magazine’s quote from Henry sure sounds like he’s made up his mind about moving the newspaper out of its current location on Morrissey Boulevard to somewhere else.

The Herald makes the move sound even more definitive and imminent.

Either way, the news is not too shocking. Henry, also the owner of the Red Sox, has openly talked of possibly moving the Globe and redeveloping the current 16-acre site (hopefully into condos, please).

In a way, Henry would be crazy not to move the Globe. That property is worth tens of millions of dollars for potential redevelopment – and, assuming that money is plowed back into the Globe, it would provide some financial breathing room for the paper.

Hey, the Herald moved out of its long-time Harrison Avenue headquarters a few years ago, ironically outsourcing its printing today to the Globe. The Boston Business Journal also rents offices for its newsroom and other non-print operations in the Financial District, outsourcing its printing to other companies.

The big potential problem for the Globe would be: Where would it print its paper? How many printing presses are there left in the area to print a still relatively large daily newspaper? Would it keep the printing plant at its current location for the time being while developing the rest of the property? And what happens to the Herald if the Globe outsources its printing elsewhere? Where would it be printed?

File under: Questions, questions, questions

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