Wowza! It seems the only job around here busier than Red Sox scout is apartment-building developer (hey, it's early). Due to laughably low financing rates and historically high returns—not to mention Boston's perennial popularity with the young and the restless—apartment construction in the city, from the Seaport District to Back Bay to Chinatown to Fenway, is cresting a wave that shows little sign of crashing. Per Casey Ross in The Globe:
"There has never been a better time in the last 40 years to develop a multifamily project in Boston,’’ said George Fantini, chairman of the mortgage banking firm Fantini & Gorga. “The capital markets are awash in interest for this type of development.’’ Fantini said investor returns on rental housing projects in Boston are now promising about 5.5 percent, compared with between 3 and 4.5 percent over the past several decades.
Indeed, this very evening five new projects will go before the city for the green light to build another 1,400 apartments-plus, almost all of them rentals.
· National rental developer AvalonBay Communities wants to build 404 apartments for $125 million at 45 Stuart Street in Chinatown near Bay Village.
· Mega-mall developer Simon Property Group wants to put up 318 condos at Copley Place in Back Bay for $500 million (it would be called Copley Place Tower and would include an expanded Neiman Marcus at the base).
· Hudson Group North American wants to build 240 apartments and condos at 120 Kingston Street in Chinatown.
· Local developer the Drew Company wants to put up a 236-apartment tower called Waterside Place at Congress Street and World Trade Center Avenue in the Seaport District.
· The Abbey Group, another local company, wants to build 210 apartments at 1282 Boylston Street (along with office and retail) in Fenway.
These 1,400 are among the 5,000 apartments either proposed or under way since the start of 2011. There are undoubtedly more to come—unless Boston suddenly turns undesirable; rents collapse; the Fed goes ape with interest rates; and everyone settles on Providence as the next It City. None of this will happen, of course, and the developers and the pols know it:
Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other city officials said they are receiving proposals for new housing projects every day. “I have investors coming to me and saying, ‘What opportunities do you have? How can we be involved?’ ’’ Menino said. “I haven’t seen that in a while.’’ · Building Spree [Globe]