'Tis almost what will hopefully be a beautiful, bountiful, but, above all, warm spring. So we thought we'd get out our crystal ball and look ahead to the next few months to see what real estate stories are worth your attention. What are we seeing? We're seeing an epic, ongoing debate in East Cambridge; a monumental debut in Downtown Crossing; and regional happenings sure to impact just about everyone.
Sullivan Courthouse Brouhaha
The seemingly ceaseless back-and-forth over the redevelopment of the old Sullivan Courthouse on Thorndike Street in East Cambridge could be resolved this spring. It looked like it was resolved months ago, in fact, but then some local residents sought redress from the Cambridge City Council over the proposed height of the redeveloped courthouse (which developer Leggat McCall wants to turn into offices, apartments and retail) and, well, it looks like it's back to the drawing board for that city's most controversial development.
Rent Concessions Keep Coming
This is real, this is happening. Several prominent and large-scale apartment complexes around the region have been offering tenants concessions such as free months of rent and no security deposits to entice them to sign on the dotted goddamn line. The newly opened Waterside Place in the Seaport even offered free beer! If this trend continues through the spring, it would be a sure sign of the region's rental market turning in favor of tenants after years of rent increases and tight, tight vacancy.
Apartment Projects Reborn as Condos
Along the same lines as the rent concessions comes this trend: Apartment projects either under way or planned morphing into condos as the rental market loses its financial allure for developers and the condo market continues to suffer from (or enjoy lasciviously, depending on your perspective) a cartoonishly low inventory. We've already seen this pivot with Lovejoy Wharf, part of the Ink Block, and just recently, it looks like, with Starboard Place in Charlestown.
Late-Night T Service Rolls Out
Pretty straightforward, this one. Starting March 28, the MBTA is once again trying late-night T service on select days, including for certain bus lines. The move comes amid a general push to make the region more hospitable to caffeine-addled coding junkies or something. Sizable demand would not only help sustain the service, but would say a lot about how much Boston et al is changing; a dearth of demand would say a lot, too.
Millennium Tower Sales Debut
Speaking of new development! The mother of all recent Boston towers kicks off its sales registration on May 1. This should give us a better sense of the demand for the 450 luxury condos in a Downtown Crossing that the 625-foot tower is expected to help transform. Should the demand be rather lax, well, bad news all around; brisk and it's a sure sign of the neighborhood's revitalization. Not only that, but it's a sign of the overall Boston condo market going past the spring into the summer.
· 'Insanity' Plea: Cambridge Group Wants Shorter Courthouse [Curbed Boston]
· Cambridge Officially Calls for Do-Over at Sullivan Courthouse [Curbed Boston]
· Waterside Place Can't Wait for St. Patrick's Day [Curbed Boston]
· Where to Rent in Greater Boston Right Now [Curbed Boston]
· Glut, Glut! '14 a Tipping Point for Boston Apt. Development? [Curbed Boston]
· Tip of the Iceberg? Charlestown Rental Project Mulls Condos [Curbed Boston]
· Group Wanting to Make Boston Hip Loves Boston the Way It Is [Curbed Boston]
· Oh, Hi, Millennium Tower! The Sales Countdown Begins [Curbed Boston]
· Millennium Tower Groundbreaking: 10 Things to Know [Curbed Boston]