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Watermark Seaport: Yappy Hour, NYC Influence and Ikea

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Come January, Watermark Seaport will be opening to offer 346 units to sophisticated South Boston renters who want to live where broad streets are plentiful and innovation is part of their neighborhood's nickname. And, in somewhat of a diplomatic fashion, it offers a split of interior architectural styles: industrial lofts with soaring ceilings and apartments with high-rise views to accommodate a range of tastes. In a nod to their entrepreneurial or millennial market, developers Skanska USA and Twining Properties have a much hullabaloo'd mix of innovation units (aka micro-units, or super small units that range from 395 square feet to 408 square feet). In a dormlike approach, these innovation units are on two consecutive floors. They all have combo convection/microwave ovens, in-unit washer/dryers, walk-in closets, and full-size bathtubs.

One of these tiny units is not like the others, however. It will be the home to an outpost of MIT's Morphlab (funded by an IKEA and Steelcase) pilot program, which allows for infinitely re-configurable room layouts and furniture for extreme efficiency in urban living. Essentially, the promise is that a space can feel about three times bigger with flexible layouts. Now, which lucky and adventurous renter will be participating in this experiment?

No word yet on the pricing differential for this particular home. For everyone else in the building that's looking for novelty, there's another perk in the safety department. With the ButterflyMX video intercom system, residents will be able to see, speak to, and offer temporary virtual keys to visiting house guests and services through their smartphones.

Dog owners get some nice benefits, too, with a special spa that has a washing station and resident-submitted pet photos. Mark Bark is a concierge program for residents and their pets that will offer daily treats, recommendations on pet stores, groomers and walkers. Monthly Yappy Hours encourage pets and owners to mingle on the green spaces surrounding the building. A Pet of the Month program will feature pet photos on social media and VIP packages will link residents with local kennel and boarding services, obedience and training classes, cooking demonstrations, and dog treats from local bakeries. Makes you want a furry friend, if you don't already have one...

IF YOU HAVE A parakeet that won't benefit from most of these amenities, or if there's no pet plan in your future but you still want a sense of community, then you'll probably appreciate an as-yet-unspecified programming plan for regular social events.

The in-building amenities boast options for an active and curious urbanite: a gym, a coffee station, a billiards table (which really is the go-to game for apartments these days), a floor-to-ceiling fireplace, lounge space with Planeta Basque furniture, a "Google-style" working space with natural light, and a wellness studio with immediately appreciated outdoor access and subtle details like a backlit mirror. The Watermark design team toured spaces in Boston, Seattle and NYC, looking at the cool coffee bar and lounge in the Ace Hotel in NYC for some inspiration. The 3,300-square-foot rooftop space has vistas of the harbor and downtown Boston, which you can enjoy for a couple of seasons in the city, anyway, while it's warm enough.

So, what about units themselves? Nest thermostats come with all the units. The kitchen and bathroom countertops are pearlized Grain terrazzo slabs, which is made up of concrete and recycled glass. Bye-bye, granite (except for the Tower units). The loft-style units have sealed concrete floors, floor-to-ceiling windows, and distinctive metal-slat ceilings. The penthouses have marble backsplashes, Bosch appliances, and wood flooring in the bedrooms.

Price-wise, they seem to be in line with the rest of the luxury stock; 2-BRs are supposed to start at $4,300, and those trendy microunits take off from $2,300.

WHILE THE BUILDING IS well-designed, with a lobby that welcomes you in with a grand Honeylocust tree, the area in which new residents find themselves is distinctively different than the other established areas of old Boston. One commonly raised detracting point of the neighborhood is its lack of nearby needed stores and entertainment.

Well, the Watermark Seaport is addressing that with the announcement of some of its own mixed-use tenants: Shake Shack and CVS are coming to the ground floor. While there's no grocery store within immediate sight, there are some innovation-y attractions: coworking space District Hall is right across the street, with the Institute of Contemporary Art and adjacent green parks on the harbor just beyond. So, it's not so bad. You can Instacart or Peapod yourself to satisfy your supermarket list. BTW, the complex is thoughtful enough to have refrigerated storage for perishable items through the concierge. Other buildings, take note...

While it's common for those in this lifestyle to forego a car, there are options on deck. In addition to four electric-car-charging stations in the building, there is free bike parking, an onsite Hubway station, and Zipcar next door. Uber and Lyft are also a screen tap away, of course.

The building looks poised to make a permanent mark on housing options. The exterior materials were chosen to feel industrial yet warm as the brick so commonly found in the old factories built in South Boston. The marketing on the complex's website implores you to "break the red brick mold," however.

A mix of people are expected to fill the units, which break down to 32 percent studios, 42 percent 1-BRs, 24 percent 2-BRs, and 2 percent 3-BRs. In just a few months, we should see just who's coming to town. With a smart sales team that lures you in with personalized Hunter boots and an apple cider station to warm you up while on a hard hat-tour, there should be some pleasing results for the developers.
· Website: Watermark Seaport [Skanska]
· Our complete Watermark Seaport coverage [Curbed Boston]
· Our Reviews archive [Curbed Boston]
Photos by April Gardner.

UPDATE: The number of units has been updated, and the pricing listed on the website has been fixed.

Innovation District

1 Marina Park Drive, Boston, MA 02101

Watermark Seaport

Seaport Square, Boston, MA