In this issue:
- 110 Arlington Street – Fire Sale, Unsafe at Any Price?
- New and Noteworthy
- 41-43 Phillips Street, unit 19 – Mispriced or looking for a sucker? – Well Bought
- 361 Beacon, unit 3 – “
DaysYears on Market” – Well Sold
What’s Catching Our Eye
110 Arlington Street – Fire Sale – Unsafe at Any Price?
We’ve previously highlighted 110 Arlington Street. It was originally slated as a boutique hotel, but when the City didn’t approve the project a new developer stepped in and built out five condominium units. Marketing kicked off in the spring of 2019 with no sales, and an attempt to rent the units was equally unsuccessful.
A new broker was brought in, prices were lowered – crickets. This week we got additional price cuts and units are now offered at 21–32% below the original asking prices. Our hunch is that the developer and bankers have had enough and accepted the fact that location really does matter.
At the risk of coming across like a skunk at a lawn party, our concern relates to safety issues in the lower level units. Having spent time as a volunteer firefighter in a small rural town in Vermont, we have a heightened awareness of fire safety, particularly with respect to basements.
Basements are considered the most dangerous places to be in a structure fire. We’re not building code experts, but our understanding is that below grade sleeping quarters need either two means of egress, or one egress and one emergency escape and rescue opening.
These basement bedrooms are accessed by only one set of stairs; there are no windows or any other means of escape. Oddly, the bedrooms get natural light via glass floors on the street level, something know as “borrowed light” (see photos here).
We assume that the developer found some loophole to get approval for these units. The prices are becoming compelling, but we think that buyers should be aware of these conditions.
New and Noteworthy
20 Louisburg Square – After 99 days on the market, this 7,610 square foot single family reports an accepted offer, the asking price is $16,000,000. 17 Louisburg sold last January for $13,500,000 (it was Well Bought). By our way of thinking, 17 LBS is a better property. We’ll report back with the closing price.
400 Stuart Street (The Clarendon) – Who says that you can’t bring a dead dog back to life? This week three units at The Clarendon reported accepted offers. Don’t panic if you’re looking to make this your next home as there are still six units available for sale and another six that are for rent (we have a hunch that there is stock behind).
273 Beacon Street, unit PH – A 2,500 square foot 4 bedroom with parking reports an accepted offer after just 4 days. Asking price is $4,250,000 ($1,700/SF). This will be the fourth time this unit has turned over since it was renovated back in 2009. Maybe the frothy real estate market will come to Back Bay/Beacon Hill after all?
447 Beacon Street, unit 2 – A second large price cut brings the asking price down to $5.49 million ($1,691/sf), 16% below the original price. This 3,247 square foot triplex was created by combining two units. The listing indicates that the square footage is the sum of the two combined units, which by our calculation, would be 3,030 square feet. According to our math, the asking price is $1,812/sf. Either way, it seems like a big price for a non-penthouse, non-river front triplex in the last block of Beacon.
Well Bought/Well Sold
41-43 Philips Street, unit 19 – 30% Discount to Original Price – Well Bought
Unit 19 at 41-43 Philips Street, a 2,158 square foot 3 bedroom duplex changed hands last week after 156 days on the market for $2.75 million ($1,274/sf), a $1.145 million discount from the original asking price. The unit features a good sized private roof deck and three onsite garage parking spaces.
The building is an 1860s schoolhouse that was converted into 18 condominium units back in 2000. The listing notes that there is a $727/month special assessment that will run for 92 months which isn’t surprising as you should expect to start replacing systems after 20 years.
Our question is did the broker originally misprice the unit in excess of $1 million, or was this one of those deals where they put a big number on it to see if some sucker came along? We suspect the later.
This was marketed as a premier concierge building. While we don’t typically think of Philips Street when we think of premier properties, we see good value here especially when you consider that Related Beal is offering garage parking spaces for $350,000 each at the Charles Street Garage just a few blocks away. We’re calling this one – Well Bought.
361 Beacon Street, unit 3 – “
Days Years on Market” – Well Sold
After over two years of marketing, unit 3 at 361 Beacon Street traded this week for $7.8 million ($1,970/sf). This 3,960 square foot, 4 bedroom penthouse triplex has four decks, two onsite garage parking spaces, and direct elevator access to all floors.
In late 2017, the building was completely gutted and transformed into three high-end units, everything is new. We’re not the biggest fans of triplexes, however this is an extra wide building so you do get a good sense of spaciousness.
The underground parking garage was excavated below the building and is accessed by a fairly steep ramp. We had a client who seriously considered this unit until we tested out the ramp only to discover that their car didn’t have the ground clearance to go down the ramp.
We think that at this price point on Beacon Street you should be on the river side. We also have reservations about the parking setup. It’s a nice spec built unit and we think that the buyer did ok, but we see liquidity issues down the road. This one was – Well Sold.