Here's the latest installment of Bates By the Numbers, a weekly feature by Boston real estate agent David Bates that drills down into the Hub's housing market to uncover those trends and people you would not otherwise notice. Follow him on Twitter and check out his ebook, Context: Nine Key Condo Markets, 2.0.
The sales center at Millennium Tower off Washington Street in Downtown Crossing has a doorman like a luxury hotel… But it's only a sales center. "That's a conscious decision and an effort that every touch point is something that conveys the experience of what it would be like to be in one of our buildings," Richard Baumert, a partner at developer Millennium Partners, explained Wednesday. Since 1991, MP has developed 28 luxurious mixed-used projects, including a building that was named one of the 10 best residential buildings in the world. Simply put: They know how to market new, luxury buildings.
In the pre-sales phase, when there is really nothing to show but a construction site, Millennium presents their latest project the way that Steve Jobs or Walt Disney might have if they had specialized in luxury residential. The Millennium presentation combines a lot of thought about the prospective client's experience with high-tech gadgetry and a total sensory experience. Of course, when all the oohing and aahing is done, there's a lot to talk about.
Soon after the doorman took my umbrella, I gazed upon a 3-D model that showed the downtown neighborhood, including the tower. The model looked like hand-carved crystal, but was actually made of resin. As I walked past the model, the photos on the wall magically changed from visuals of the way things in the neighborhood used to look, to scenes of the way they will look when the tower is done.
Then, I entered a large room that had a living room and one of the kitchens to be included in the tower's condominiums. On a screen that was so big that it could be used in a stadium, and so defined that you could count needles in a haystack, a video showed the 685-foot tower in all its glory from a variety of Boston vantages. In the video, the tower was sometimes luminous and sometimes brilliant in appearance and always commanding and masterful-looking. Perhaps my favorite part of the tower's design are the bump-outs that will give almost every unit in the building a corner.
After viewing the macro environment on the huge, ultra-high-definition screen, I was taken to a room that had a smaller screen that displayed unit floor plans as well as the actual views the units would have—even though construction on the tower has only just begun. The beginning price point for the 442 condos at Millennium Tower is $850,000, and about 150 units have already been spoken for, but one lucky buyer will have the opportunity to own the tower's 60th floor, a 13,000-square-foot residence currently on the market for $37,500,000. This may be the highest-priced condo in Boston real estate history, but it's a condo that's as unique as it is expensive.
Millennium Partners is not new to Boston. In fact, they have done so much development in Downtown Crossing that the argument could be made to change the neighborhood name to "Millennium Center." Millennium developed the Ritz-Carlton Residences on Avery Street as well as Millennium Place at 580 Washington Street.
According to a video fireside chat given by Millennium Tower's architects, the company consistently asks this question when building: "How can we bring something special to the people that will own with us?" So, of course, Millennium Tower will have 24-hour concierge service, a library, a game room, the largest residential fitness center in Boston, an outdoor terrace, an indoor junior Olympic lap pool, a private function room, treatment rooms, a bar and chef Michael Mina, who will cook exclusively for residents and guests—and who is so acclaimed and who has so many different restaurants that he's virtually a one-man restaurant row.
Additionally, Millennium Tower will have La Vie, a trademark lifestyle program the developer created to bring building residents exclusive life experiences designed around their shared passions for food, wine, travel, art and culture.
Symbolic as it is of the new Boston, you can't help but wish Millennium Tower luck.
· Millennium Tower's Floor-Through Penthouse Asking $37.5M [Curbed Boston]
· Millennium Place: Boston's 'Inner-City Country Club' [Curbed Boston]
· Our Bates By the Numbers archive [Curbed Boston]