23 Neighborhoods: a boston real estate blog by Michael DiMella
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Bulfinch Triangle, the small triangle shaped sliver of Boston roughly located between Merrimac Street, Canal Street, and Causeway Street across from the TD BankNorth Garden (map), is finally about to start its new life as a "real" neighborhood. Although more recently known only as "where the Garden is" and for its, shall I say, robust bar scene (not that I'm complaining!), the expected completion in July 2009 of Archstone Avenir, a mixed use development on Canal Street with 241 luxury apartments for rent and 27,000 sq. ft. of retail and restaurant space, should help enhance the neighborhood image. Bulfinch Triangle is an historic part of Boston, being one of the first landfill areas in the City, but it had languished for years in the shadow of the elevated Expressway. After the Expressway was torn down as part of the Big Dig highway project, progress in revitalizing the neighborhood has been slow...until recently.
(rendering of One Kenmore aka Fenway Center)
The BRA just approved plans for two new residential projects, one in the Seaport and one in the Fenway:
General Growth Properties, the owner of Faneuil Hall Marketplace in Boston and the Natick Collection and the country's second largest mall owner, must pay off or refinance $1 billion (yes, with a "B") in debt due next month, as reported by the AP. Given the current financial crisis, the markets are guessing a reworking is not possible, as their stock has gotten hammered down to $0.49 per share as of yesterday. With another $3.07 billion coming due next year, I'm guessing a bankruptcy filing is in the near future.
According to Kimberly Blanton in the Boston Globe (The last empty lot), Boston based developer Ted Raymond plans to develop 161-163 Commonwealth Ave in the Back Bay (click to see a satellite view of the site) into five luxury condominiums of about 4000 square feet each:
(rendering of Fan Pier - link to master plan)
The massive Columbus Center project, designed to bridge the gap between the South End and Back Bay by building luxury condominiums, hotel, retail, and green space over the Mass turnpike near Columbus and Berkeley Streets (map of project), is showing new signs of life.
I was watching the Olympics last night and was once again startled by the fact that nobody can agree who the winner should be in gymnastics. The commentators were bashing the judges for choosing the Chinese girl (who is actually 7 1/2 years old!) over the American (who is actually Russian!) in the uneven bars. It just exemplifies how silly any sport that requires a judge to decide the winner can become. Nothing against the talented athletes and all their hard work to get to that level, but any time you put the decision of a winner into a judge's hand instead of the athletes themselves, the process can and will easily be unfair. It becomes a subjective decision no matter what. Kind of reminds me of the development process in Boston.
In the Boston development landscape right now, everyone has a different opinion on what should be built where. And how do do it. Take for example the Ron Druker project at 350 Boylston (the corner or Boylston and Arlington across from the Public Garden), which the Boston Redevelopment Authority rejected and sent it back for a redesign for not being "symapthetic" enough with the existing historic enviroment. Who says what is sympathetic or not? Are there guidelines? What exactly is the exiting historic environment? Seems to me there is a multitude of varying styles running all the way down Boylston (from the Apple Store to the Mandarin Hotel to the Trinity Church to the Boston Public Library...you get the point). If you look just around the Public Garden and Common, the same applies.
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