A 35-year old Boston resident, who has “done well” and “can afford to buy a nice place” feels his housing options are limited.
Not because of high prices, however.
(I)’m picky about air conditioning, parking, hearing my upstairs neighbors, and either having a view or an interior so nice I won’t notice, so unless I’m renovating a place, that points to hi-rises. I’m renting in the xxx now and loving it, but there’s a gap between “granite-kitchen-in-a-closet” and “3-bedroom penthouse” they don’t fill.
Some quick Googling has found maybe five or six similar properties – Grandview, Strada 234, Ritz, etc. Most are fully sold, and they all seem very, very self-consciously upscale. I like the xxx because it’s somewhat anonymous, yet really nicely done (though it could use better windows). I hang out with musicians and artists. Answering “Where do you live?” with “The Ritz” is like answering “Do you need a ride?” with “My chauffeur will be picking me up shortly; he’s chilling the wine.” I want neighbors who know how to use power tools.
Well, young reader, let me tell you what I think. First, you have good grammar. I like that.
Second, I think you’re absolutely right.
There are very few buildings that fit your criteria, at least in Boston. My guess is that other (larger) cities have done a much better job of building properties in a variety of styles (and prices). New York City has dozens, if not hundreds, of new buildings, throughout Manhattan that appeal to just about everyone – from those looking in the Lower East Side, in a small building, to those looking for a view of Central Park, in the latest Trump monstrosity. Same is true, from what I read, in Chicago, and, of course, Miami.
Here, you can count on two hands the number of new buildings that have gone up. Strada 234, Atelier 505, the Ritz Towers, Lincoln Plaza (conversion), Rollins Square, Wilkes Passage, Trinity Place, the Belvedere, and, further out, Museum Towers / The Regatta (conversion), Parris Landing (conversion), the Court Square Press building (where I live), and the Channel Center. (I have twelve fingers.)
A couple of buildings have either opened or gone under construction, over the past several months, including Folio Boston, OneFirst, NorthPoint (yay!), Greenway Place, 44 Prince Street, the Macallen Building, and the InterContinental and Mandarin Oriental hotels. But, still, no one seems to be putting up buildings that appeal to the average (rich) buyer. (You may feel otherwise, let me know if you do.)
So, what are your options?
For resales, I’d look at Wilkes Passage. Once you get beyond the women’s prison hallways decor, you’ll find some great-looking condos. Lighting is limited, in some, and the neighborhood a bit edgy (even with all the new exclusive restaurants in the area), but it’s a good fit for someone in their thirties. (Plus, there’s a 7-Eleven across the street! That’s worth something!)
I also like Strada234. It’s a weird kind of building, sitting there by itself, next to North Station, with floors of commercial space underneath the condos. Plus, your views over the coming years will suffer, as other hi-rises go up, nearby. People have done very well when selling. Although the reader felt it was stuffy (my words, not his), I think it’s a great building.
My building seems very popular with people in their twenties and thirties. Everyone has a dog and seem to like the location (what’s not to love about the MBTA, commuter rail, and Route 93 out your back window?), and I hear residents get together and do stuff (we’re not invited). It is a bit remote, seeing as it’s over the bridge from downtown, but that’s minor. I can be in the Copley Square Starbucks in nine minutes by bus.
For new construction, you’re a bit out of luck, unfortunately. If you don’t mind being on the fringe, I’d buy at NorthPoint. You’ll also have to be willing to put up with construction for the next decade. I like the style of the buildings proposed so far, and I like the location (easy to get out of the city by subway, train, or highway).
You might also look into 360 Newbury. I have heard nothing about this development (in the Virgin Records building). It’s like a black hole. I’ve never taken clients there, I’ve never been contacted by the developer, I’ve never heard of any other real estate agent going over there. But, I love the location. ’nuff said.
Finally, if you’re willing to wait five to seven years, you might want to consider Columbus Center, bordering the Back Bay and South End. I imagine those will be appealing to the young urban professional, who wishes he wasn’t one.
Of course, by the time it’s built, you won’t be a Yuppie anymore, you’ll be … middle-aged.
Good luck with that!