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On Fearing a Southie of 'Yuppies and Puppies'

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Southie, Southie, Southie! A week cannot pass without us and the rest of the region's media fretting the existential threat to the neighborhood from real estate deals and developments. And so arrives Billy Baker's front-pager in yesterday's Globe about two houses on two hills, both on the market for well over $1 million and both available for redevelopment into God knows what (and perhaps He's even baffled by the changes changing Southie forever this year).

The red house at 945 East Broadway unfolds over 1,376 square feet and hit the market two weeks ago asking $3,900,000. There is not much—any, in fact—in the way of interior photos through the listing, but there are plenty showing what are basically estate grounds, including views clear to Pleasure Bay. Bids for the house were due Friday evening.

The white house at 928 East Broadway has been on the market for about six months, and was price-chopped in mid-June by $100,000 to $2,350,000. That includes a separate three-family house on an adjacent parcel; though the main house by itself has something like 14 bedrooms and eight bathrooms (plus a new roof, according to the listing).

What everyone in Southie is talking about, apparently, is two-fold: (a) the price tags virtually insure that no one in the neighborhood will buy either and move the family in; and (b) that means a developer or speculator (or developer who speculates) will snatch them up and build some amalgam of innovation space and micro-apartments, with fuzzball where the sitting room was and a kegerator in place of the old china hutch. The houses' likely fates, in other words, are another sign of changing times in an area that's seen titanic gentrification shifts and a not-uncoincidental bounce in its population of young people. Per Baker's story:

... Joanne Sweeney, 52, and Lynda Rheault, 50, got into an animated discussion about the fate of the two homes, and the neighborhood they have always called home. “Every kid in Southie loved those houses,” Sweeney said. “I would hate for them to tear it down.”

“It’s all about the money,” Rheault said.

“It’s not a neighborhood anymore,” Sweeney said, shaking her head in disgust.

“No. It’s yuppies and puppies,” said Rheault, who used to live in the three-family on the property of the white house.

“Look, it’s fine what they’re doing with the Seaport,” Sweeney said. “That was parking lots. But now it’s coming here.”

Yup. Everyone's turned the hourglass over on Southie, though that doesn't mean family-friendly development is out of the question. It's just that that will not make up for the certain something that's disappearing faster than empty lots in, well, the Seaport. See you next week.

· South Boston’s Elegant, Storied Mansions Up for Sale [Globe]
· Got Milk? The Surest Sign Southie's Changing Forever [Curbed Boston]
· The Departed: South Boston to Change Forever This Year [Curbed Boston]
· South Boston to Get Hundreds of Manhattan Apartments [Curbed Boston]
· Innovation District's 'Call for Housing' Answered by 212 Number [Curbed Boston]
· World Trade Center Builder Behind New Seaport District Tower [Curbed Boston]
· Family Values: 2 H Street Adds Three-Bedrooms, Wins City O.K. [Curbed Boston]