Part II of our Rookie Roosts Week 2012 post on first-time homebuyers with (or almost with) young children. Part I here.
Tom Keane, former Boston City Council member and executive director of the Boston Society of Architects, had an op-ed in The Globe that got us to thinking (as good op-eds should!). His main point was that Boston development was booming, as indeed it is, with dozens of apartment buildings under way or planned, enough to add thousands of new condos and rentals to the streetscape well before the end of the decade. The development is a sign of the city's resurgence, Keane writes, and also of a promising future:
[T]here’s much more to the resurgence of residential building than new jobs and new money. That resurgence also speaks profoundly to the next phase of Boston’s renaissance, a renaissance driven not just by office towers in business districts, but rather a rediscovery of the city by people who not only work there, but also want to live there. Deeper down in the piece, though, Keane point out that the development is "plainly geared toward couples, not families." He's right. The new buildings, particularly the towers slated for downtown neighborhoods like South Boston, Back Bay and the South End are designed to average two residents per unit. They are buildings of studios, one-bedrooms, two-bedrooms, perhaps a handful of three-bedrooms, though the larger units, as you would expect, claim much higher price tags.
Take South Boston, where development is particularly robust, so much so that the neighborhood of Whitey Bulger is not expected to exit 2012 nearly as gritty as it entered (and it didn't enter that gritty). The vast majority of new units in developments like Seaport Square, Waterside Place, 319 A Street and 411 D Street are expected to be two-bedrooms or smaller—a lot smaller in many cases. So-called micro-apartments of under 500 square feet are being touted as a solution to the housing crunch, particularly when it comes to the much-ballyhooed tech sector. And, keep in mind, the Menino administration has said it would like to export what's happening in Southie to other neighborhoods on the waterfront, particularly East Boston. Smaller apartments catering to young professionals = Boston development in the second decade of the 21st century.
Now, of course, there are single-family houses, townhouses, and sizable apartments throughout the city, particularly in the more suburban areas like JP and the mayor's own Hyde Park. But what's being built in the core commercial centers, and what's being encouraged to be built there, is not family friendly.
· Boston Rising [Globe]
· The Departed: South Boston to Change Forever This Year [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston to Get Hundreds of Micro-Apartments [Curbed Boston]
· East Boston Just Fine w/ Being the New South Boston [Curbed Boston]