New Development Review – The Archer – 45 Temple Street – Beacon Hill

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New Development Review

The Archer – 45 Temple Street – Beacon Hill

Property Spotlight – On the Market

  • 142 Chestnut Street, unit 8/9 – A Great Flat of the Hill Duplex

Well Bought/Well Sold

  • 129 Pinckney Street – Nice Beacon Hill Single Family, $813/sf – Well Bought
  • 1 Dalton St, unit 3901 (Four Seasons) – Another Flip at the “Prince of Darkness” – Well Sold 

New Development Review

The Archer – 45 Temple Street Beacon Hill
The Archer – Beacon Hill

There were a handful of price reductions at The Archer (45 Temple Street, Beacon Hill) last week which prompted us to have another look at the property.

Development Background

The Archer is a 62 unit redevelopment of two commercial buildings that were previously part of Suffolk University’s Law School campus. The site was also the home of the Boston English School back in the 1820s. Temple Street is on the North side of the Hill, directly behind the State House and runs down to Cambridge street, parallel to Bowdoin Street.

Temple Street is one of the narrower streets on Beacon Hill. Back in 1970, then Boston Mayor Kevin White and Governor Michael Dukakis designated it a “pedestrian street.” Today the street is open to vehicle traffic in one direction. 

The Property

Street Level Unit

The development has all the bells and whistles that you’d expect – 24 hour staffing, pet cleaning station, common roof deck, and onsite valet parking. The units are par for the course for new construction, although we were somewhat underwhelmed with the finishes. Little things like noisy bathroom exhaust fans, and that the freestanding bath tubs seemed to be made from cheap plastic.

The views from the upper level north facing units are pretty nice, but for the most part you’re not going to the Archer for great views. Being tucked in between two very narrow Beacon Hill streets, many of the units look out at abutting buildings that feel close enough to reach out and touch. 

Batterymarch Opinion

The marketing effort has been underway at The Archer for well over three years. We were surprised to learn that only “about half” of the 62 units have been sold. By our count 27 units have sold so far.

As a general rule, developers avoid cutting prices like the plague, particularly with so many unsold units. A huge amount of thought and effort goes into initial pricing and these kinds of cuts send a message to the market that they got it wrong. Additionally, it doesn’t make for happy residents who just paid full price.

To us, the common hallways feel like being in a commercial property and the narrow street has an alley vibe. With respect to location, the north slope of Beacon Hill is lovely, but it has never been as desirable as other areas of the Hill.

If you’re looking for new construction with amenities and onsite garage parking on Beacon Hill, the Archer is really the only game in town and it’s worth a look. In our view, the slow sales combined with price cuts doesn’t bode well for future liquidity and re-sales. We’d avoid the Archer at this time as we see better new development options elsewhere.

Property Spotlight

Batterymarch Group is focused on buyer representation, so the highlighted listings are not ours. These are our opinions, so take them with a grain of salt. We’re happy to set up showings of these properties, offer our valuation analysis, and assist with preliminary renovation budgets when needed.

142 Chestnut Street, unit 8/9 – A Great Flat of the Hill Duplex – Offered at $3.29 million ($1,584/sf)

142 Chestnut Street was built in 1930 as the home for noted Boston architect Henry Forbes Bigelow. The building has his trademark façade – Harvard red brick over sandstone. There’s a unique interior open air Venetian style courtyard which is a common element of the building.

142 Chestnut Street – Beacon Hill

This 2,077 square foot 2 bedroom duplex is the combination of two units. Previously it was part of three combined units that had a mindlessly rambling floor plan. It was listed for sale in that configuration back in 2017. After sitting on the market for an eternity, the seller separated one of the units, which sold a year ago for $1,206/sf.

Going from a three unit combination to two was the right move, and this unit got a very nice brand new kitchen out of the deal. The building has a “pre-war” feel which is rare on Beacon Hill, and we believe that piling work was done back in the late 1990s.

The only caveat we see is that there isn’t a formal dining area and there are two sets of French doors that don’t lead anywhere (they look over the neighboring roof). The risk on the latter is that the neighbor builds a roof deck and has rowdy parties.

We see fair market value around $1,400+/- a square foot.

Unit 8/9 at 142 Chestnut Street is listed with Campion & Company. We’d be happy to set up a showing and walk you through our valuation analysis.

Well Bought/Well Sold

129 Pinckney Street – Nice Beacon Hill Single Family, $813/sf – Well Bought
129 Pinckney Street – Beacon Hill

It took just over a year and four price cuts, but 129 Pinckney Street, a 4,188 square foot 5 bedroom single family, changed hands last week for $3.405 million ($813/sf). The final sale was a 24% discount to the original asking price. 

We’d expect that the seller is happy with the transaction when you consider they paid $235,000 for the house – ok, yes they bought it in 1980. As appealing as the 1980 price is, at the time mortgage rates were around 15% with 2 points.

This is a great flat of the hill location, but being right next to the River House (Beacon Hill’s ugliest  duckling) is kind of a deal killer for many. We’d say that $813/sf is a fair price and the new owner should have ample budget for much needed renovation. Given the eyesore next door, we wouldn’t go overboard with the renovation. This was a fair deal for both parties, we’re calling it – Well Bought.

1 Dalton St, unit 3901 (Four Seasons) – Another Flip at the Prince of Darkness – Well Sold
The Prince of Darkness

We recently questioned how many people actually live at the Four Seasons on Dalton Street, pointing out that when we’re in the area in the evening the building looks pretty dark to us. We’re seeing more and more new listings at the Prince of Darkness. Maybe investors are getting nervous about the prospect of stagflation?

Unit 3901 sold last week for $11.53 million, an impressive $3,593/sf. The 3,209 square foot 39th floor unit has 3 bedrooms and comes with parking for two cars, one deeded space and one “parking rights” (see note about parking).

The sale price is a far cry from last year’s asking price of $13.9 million ($4,331/sf – good grief), but the price included “over one million dollars for interior design and furniture.” It’s not clear if the final price included the furniture. Excluding furniture and assuming standard fees, the math on this flip goes something like this:

With any luck the seller made a killing on the furniture, offsetting what looks like a loss. This was – Well Sold

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About Batterymarch Group LLC – Batterymarch Group is an independent full service real estate brokerage and advisory firm focused on the downtown Boston high-end residential market. We represent both sellers and buyers with a sharp focus on valuation. We also offer sub-advisory and owner’s representation services to financial institutions, family offices, and trustees.

About Andrew Haigney – A 25 year Wall Street veteran, Andrew held senior positions at leading global investment banking institutions where he routinely valued and negotiated complex securities transactions on behalf of institutional clients. Andrew has been an outspoken advocate of a universal fiduciary standard. In founding Batterymarch Group, Andrew brings that same discipline and passion to the real estate brokerage.

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