The Globe has a front-page story this morning on growing concerns that there may soon be a glut of luxury apartments in Boston due to all the ongoing downton construction.
Some people say it’s time for developers to shift gears and start building other types of housing in other areas of the city, which is what the Mount Vernon Co. says it is doing in Allston at its so-called Green District complex (see image above from its web site).
Others developers say they’re not worried about a glut.
Who’s right? Who knows.
But here are our quick thoughts:
— Let ‘em build luxury apartments if they want. If some of the luxury projects go bust, well, that’s the free-enterprise system. Those buildings would then be picked up at much cheaper prices by other investors (probably after foreclosures) who could then charge lower rents to undermine their competition. Isn’t that what we want? Competition? Is a partial glut such a bad thing? More on possible busts here.
— At the same time encourage other developers to build elsewhere in the city. Allston, Brighton and East Boston are fine. And so is trendy Jamaica Plain.
But how about the other neighborhoods outside the core downtown area where land is cheaper? Hyde Park, Roslindale, Dorchester, Mattapan and Roxbury, etc
— Encourage construction of more condos and small multifamily townhouses. The city and state need more housing for people to own and sell, not just rent.
— Make it easier for small contractors – not just huge multi-state contractors – to build in Boston. This might take action on various zoning and building-code rules. The BRA might also have to sell off some of its vacant lots strewn throughout the city. The goal should be to become less reliant on a dozen or so large companies to build housing in Boston.
Let’s get more contractors involved – and contractors who know the neighborhoods and don’t need to make the mega-huge profits ultimately demanded by the large investors backing all the mega-huge luxury developments projects.
Just a few thoughts.
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Updated: December 2017