That’s about the slant a reporter at the Weekly Dig takes in an article out this week.
Here are HER comments. (HER comments, not mine. Understood???)
Want to live in the greenest building in New England? Now’s the time. As long as you’ve got a million dollars and don’t mind hiking past discarded syringes and under freeways, a brand-spanking-new condo in the hottest new neighborhood in town can be yours.
Not interested? You’re not alone.
For years, developers ignored the scruffy area around the Broadway T stop, at the edge of Southie. They were too busy drooling over the South End townhouses just across the Expressway. But today, scores of million-dollar condos with panoramic views of the same railroad ties, industrial parks and highway overpasses that kept developers at bay are sitting on the market.
In their rush to construct the city’s latest hip new neighborhood, the developers of “up and coming: West Broadway have, for now, overplayed their hand. The neighborhood’s mammoth new developments are disconcertingly empty, while other projects in the area have been stalled for months.
Hmmm. I don’t think the Dig article does this story any justice.
I had a 20-minute conversation with the reporter on this story, Julia Reischel, and we discussed a lot about the new condo developments that have sprung up around the Broadway T-stop, right over the bridge in South Boston.
I talked about all the positive change the neighborhood has gone through over the past several years – how the area which was once a vast wasteland of empty lots, abandoned buildings, and under-used shops has turned into one with several hundred residents living in and enjoying what is truly a neighborhood.
The “So-So” neighborhood, as I coined it, several years ago, because it straddles SOuth Boston and the SOuth End. Also, because the neighborhood is just kind of “so-so”. Ha ha. Ha?
Developers are facing a bit of a glut right now, in this area, but rather than see this as something to criticize (or worse, mock), it should be seen as a positive change of events. Buyers have more options than ever before.
Meanwhile, land is being used for better uses than before. Neighborhood shops and stores are being revitalized. Property taxes and sales taxes are being paid. Streets are safer due to increased pedestrian traffic.
I especially took issue with this final slap in the face of the neighborhood:
[W]hy not avoid the whole mess in the first place? A bit of planning and oversight might have kept West Broadway a real neighborhood, rather than turning it into a million-dollar wasteland.
This part of West Broadway was never a “real neighborhood” unless you consider having Gillette’s World Shaving Headquarters, an MBTA bus lot, and three auto-body shops a “real neighborhood”.
We lived at Court Square Press for two and a half years. The location was less than desirable, but the prices were right. Most people who live there now are quite happy, and many have significant equity built up, regardless of the state of the housing market. We moved because our needs changed. I didn’t care for the developer, at the time, because I felt he was being indifferent to residents’ concerns and complaints. But, once they turn control of the condo association over to its residents, he’ll be gone (well, he’ll be living upstairs, actually …).
It was a leap of faith by the Pappas’ family to build several hundred units of housing in this “vast wasteland”. Plans for the building were unveiled in 2001-2002 – certainly not the best time to be putting your money and your reputation on the line.
It’s only been in the scorching-heat of the past several years that any developer would be expected to sell out of a building prior to opening – in the first year would be a surprise, in fact.
And, might I add, it’s flat out wrong to say all the condos are in the “million-dollar-plus” range. That’s just dumb. Many one-bedroom units in all the new developments are in the $400,000s, and two-bedrooms units are anywhere from $500,000 to $800,000. That’s the going rate for new construction in the city, actually below the going rate. Try getting into the Ritz-Carlton, the Mandarin Oriental, Trinity Place, the Belvedere, Atelier 505, or any other downtown property for under $1 million.
Plus, is it right to criticize anyone for adding residential units to the shockingly limited supply we have in the city??? I guess the reporter’s criticism is that the units are all in the upper price range, in dollar and price per square foot terms. Again, that’s what developers build. If you want cheap housing, you’ll have to buy something older, or something in a less-desirable neighborhood. I can show you 1,000-square foot condos in East Boston for $250,000. Any takers?
Complete story: Southie Binges – By Julia Reischel, The Weekly Dig
(*** P.S. In the article, the reporter says, “Last fall, Paul Mustone and the Reflex Lighting Group were supposed to bulldoze the Quiet Man Pub to make way for a 93,000-square-foot project, but to date, no one (mercifully) has touched the crotchety joint.”
Why is that “merciful”? Mustone [co-]OWNS the Quiet Man, if he decides he can make more money and/or improve the quality of the neighborhood, so be it.
Plus, I don’t know if we should get all misty about losing a restaurant that proudly states, “America, LOVE IT OR LEAVE IT” across its front. ***)