The real estate sales market in South Boston is hot. In the last 6 months 306 properties have sold in South Boston, beating Back Bay, Beacon Hill, and South End. This could be due to a combination of facts:
South Boston is a larger neighborhood than the above mentioned neighborhoods and would have more inventory
According to MLS, over the last 6 months in South Boston, 2 single family homes and 9 condos have sold between $650-$750K. The average sold price per square foot was $260 for single family homes and $403 per square foot for condos.
This single family home listed for $679,000 could be converted into a two family home making it into an income generating property. At 2,880 square feet and with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, and 2 kitchens, this home sold in 8 days for $665,000.
This charming 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom is located in one of the most desired and famous locations in South Boston, Dorchester Heights. This renovated townhouse has 2,250 square feet of living space, was listed $649,000, had an accepted offer after being on the market for two weeks, and sold for $650,000.
Originally listed for $679K , this 2,478 square foot 3 level renovated condo has everything. With 3 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, parking, 3 decks, and a spacious open layout, it is no wonder it sold after 10 days on the market for $668,500.
Over on the West Side of Southie, this newly constructed condo has 2,000 square feet of living area with 4 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms and a full 3 car garage underneath. Originally listed for $699,900, this condo sold for $670,000 after 136 days on the market.
392 W 2nd St #392 – Boston Realty Sales and Services
South Boston had a bad reputation at one point. If you watched Good Will Hunting, Gone Baby Gone, or the forgettable (or unforgettable depending on your love of bad movies and Donnie Wahlburg) Southie, you may have an impression that South Boston has a reputation of being the wrong side of the tracks. It’s this stigma that has kept property values reasonable compared to other neighborhoods in Metro Boston. However, perception is changing and prices are climbing. The East Side, close to City Point, Thomas Park, and the beach, has been attracting young professionals and families in recent years. The West Side, close to Seaport, Broadway T station, and the South End, has been a little slower but with new development projects and popular restaurants opening, this are has also been undergoing change. The biggest factor that lets you know that the Southie of old has been transformed is the fact that Starbucks is opening on the corner of Dorchester Ave and West Broadway because you know Starbucks did not decide on this location before spending millions of dollars researching the area and its potential.
So what does your money get you in South Boston? Let’s start at $500,000.
Over the last 6 months, between $450,000 and $550,000 in South Boston has bought single family homes or new construction/renovated condos. According to MLS, 5 single family homes have sold at an average sale price of $504,680 and the average price per square foot was $312. However, in the same time-frame and price range, there were 74 condos sold at an average sale price of $498,281 or $380 per square foot.
Located in the highly-desired East Side of South Boston, this single family home featured 1812 square feet of living space, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and a beautifully patio. Listed at $524,900, this home sold above asking price in 8 days for $529,900.
On the West Side of South Boston, this renovated penthouse condo featured 2 bedrooms, 2.5 bathrooms, and a private roof deck. At 1,244 square feet, this condo was listed for $499,000 and sold in 17 days for asking price.
This renovated 1,218 square foot penthouse condo is located near the Seaport and the South End. This condo featured 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, and private deck with incredible city views. Listed for $539,900, this condo sold in 6 days for $535,000.
After viewing the unique property at 928 East Broadway in South Boston recently, I started thinking about the line separating historical preservation and new development. The client who was interested in the property is an investor whose intent was to tear down the existing structures and build a new condo development on the land. It is not as though the developer could not appreciate the charm and significance of the Second Empire mansion built in 1867, but the land would be worth more to him with a new building than with the existing structure. He’s not alone as most of those who have shown interest in the property have had similar plans.
As a single-family home of over 6066 square feet the mansion with a mansard roof offers a significant amount of space for any neighborhood in Boston’s downtown neighborhoods. The current price of 2.3 million dollars looks good considering any other property in Boston’s central neighborhoods with over 6000 square feet is asking for over 4 million dollars. But once you factor in an adjustment for location (the competing properties are all in Back Bay or Beacon Hill) and the need for a total renovation the perceived savings disappear. Consider a middle of the road 250 dollar per square foot renovation and you are looking at a 1.5 million dollar restoration project.
The cost concerns are one reason most potential buyers have been looking at the property for development, but the other reason is the half acre of land located on East Broadway a block from the beach and Pleasure Bay. Only one property on the market in Boston’s central neighborhoods offers as much land and it is a parcel in New Market Square zoned for commercial use.
“Given the investment potential of a half acre corner lot a block from the Atlantic Ocean, why has it not sold?”
Part of the answer has to do with two parcels existing on one deed, each with encumbrances on each other, but the biggest potential hurdle may be resistance to leveling an historic residence. The property is not listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places or any other list of protected property, but it is an historic property.
928 East Broadway was built in 1867 for James Collins, a wholesale liquor distributor and a real estate investor who developed much of the City Point area of South Boston during the late 1860’s to late 1880‘s. The remaining large scale frame mansard residences in Boston include the Manning/Johnson House at 69 Thomas Park and 928 East Broadway. The home features an unusually deep set-back, in part because Colins owned the entire block now bordered by East Broadway to the South, Farragut Road to the East, East 3rd Street to the North, and P Street to the East. Before Day Boulevard was constructed, the plot of land owned by Collins was oceanfront property.
The Queen Anne brick row houses Collins built for his children
In 1884, Collins hired architect Patrick W Ford to build the Queen Anne brick row houses located adjacent to his residence at. Collins built these homes for his children and in 1890 he built the more utilitarian row houses at 823-833 East Third Street for his employees.
The recent history of 928 East Broadway is more humble as it served as a boarding house as recently as 2006.
I assume, as have most of the potential investors, proposals to tear down the existing building will be met with objections from abutters and the neighborhood association.
I can see the argument for historical preservation and love Boston for its sense of history, especially when it comes to its wide-ranging examples of different architectural styles. The problem is when those with no financial stake have the ability to restrict progress and affect the finances of a landowner. It is a fine line, one that must be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, and in better ways than I have seen recently.
Personally, I would love to see the mansion at 928 East Broadway restored to the elegant single-family home it once was. But without the checkbook to see it through, does what I want matter?
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. I would like to know what you think about 928 East Broadway and regarding restoration vs development in general.
I can’t help but notice the increased amounts of Kiss me I’m Irish t-shirts, Leprechaun hats, four-leaf clover pins, shamrock shakes, and green beer which means St. Patrick’s Day must be near. With St. Patrick’s Day comes the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, held every year in South Boston.
This year the parade will be Sunday March 18th, starting at 1pm. The parade route starts at West Broadway T stop and continues along West Broadway through East Broadway to East 4th, to East 5th and around Thomas Park. The parade continues down Telegraph Street over to Dorchester Street and concludes at Andrew Square.
Why South Boston?
According to Allied War Veterans Council, the history of the parade goes back to the American Revolution. In 1776, 55 cannons traveled to Dorchester Heights from Fort Ticonderoga on General John Henry Knox’s orders. In an effort of bolstering the appearance of strength, trees were cut down, hollowed out, and blackened over fire to look like cannons. On March 17th, orders were given that in order to pass safely, you had to know the password, which was “St. Patrick.” The British, not knowing the password or that some of the cannons were trees, saw what they were up against and left Boston. This event became known as Evacuation Day.
St. Patrick’s Day parades have been going on in Boston since 1879, however it took until the community became interested in local history to start celebrating Evacuation Day along with St. Patrick’s Day and make it a city holiday in 1901. Which is also when the city constructed the Dorchester Heights Monument, the site where General Knox had positioned the cannons. With the popularity of the combination of St. Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day, Suffolk County made it a holiday in 1938. Because of the large Irish population endorsing the holiday, a law declaring the holiday was signed in 1941 using both black and green ink.
For more history and information about the South Boston St. Patrick’s Day Parade, visit their site.