You should stroll the South Boston waterfront sometime really soon. Then close your eyes at the end of your walk, and seal the memory in your mind. Because the area is about to change forever in one of those tell-the-grandchildren-how-a-candy-bar-cost-a-nickel ways. More than 1,700 apartments in several buildings on otherwise nondescript sites are expected to get under way in 2012, what could be, as The Globe's Casey Ross puts it, "the year the South Boston waterfront started to feel like a neighborhood." What's coming?
· Seaport Square. 750 apartments in two 22-story buildings on a 3-acre site between Sleeper Street and Northern Avenue, Seaport Boulevard, and a new Fan Pier Boulevard. With 340,000 square feet of retail, plus a 1,000-car underground garage.
· Waterside Place. 236 apartments in a 19-story tower on Congress Street across from the convention center. Stores and offices on the ground floor.
· Pier 4. 357 apartments in a 21-story tower along Northern Avenue, with retail at street level.
· 319 A Street. 202 apartments in a 20-story tower that will supplant a five-story warehouse at Melcher Street. Developer is a wing of executive training program Goldman Sachs.
· 411 D Street. Plans just filed for 197 apartments in two buildings, one five stories, the other six, with retail on the ground floors.
It's not just the physical streetscape of Southie that will change with these towers. It's the social streetscape as well. All the towers fall within Mayor Menino's much-touted Innovation District, a deliberately designed techie hub that has attracted more than 90 businesses and led to the development of large commercial projects. It's also drawn the attention of private developers, with the district's drive toward being a 24-7 area providing them a sort of comfort level for investment (indeed, the developer of 411 D Street, Cresset, is also behind the new commercial project Liberty Wharf nearby).
Also, the towers are designed with certain residents in mind: those relatively affluent and comfortable with tight quarters (i.e. no growing families). There will be hundreds of micro-apartments as small as 375 square feet, with asking rents of $1,200 to $1,500. Some will be designed to be as big as 500 square feet—but for two people.
It's roommate time in Southie. It's lattes and laptops and fusion cuisine time, too. And! It's a model that, should it prove successful (we doubt the rents will stay that high), could serve as one for residential development citywide. Just look at Eastie.
· Apartments May Soon Replace Parking Lots [Curbed Boston]
· 319 A Street: the South Boston Waterfront's Big Greenlight [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston Techies Will Rescue East Boston Real Estate [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston to Get Hundreds of Manhattan Apartments [Curbed Boston]
· Will Manhattan Rents Fly in South Boston? [Curbed Boston]