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Boston real estate in 2017: the biggest question marks

Including re: major towers, Trump, transit, and prices

The end of the year is nigh. What will 2017 bring in terms of housing prices, development, transportation, gentrification, etc., in the Boston area? Who knows? So many question marks heading toward New Year’s.

Is the Winthrop Square tower happening or not?

The 750-foot, 55-story proposal for replacing the city-owned Winthrop Square Garage is supposed to become Boston’s second-tallest tower and tallest primarily residential one. Concerns about the would-be building’s shadows over the Common and the Public Garden threaten to derail the plans, however.

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What will happen to housing prices?

So many variables here. Will mortgage rates finally begin an upward march, making borrowing money for buying a home more expensive? And what of the effects of a Trump presidency on the investment climate and the stock markets? Will all the recent construction lately translate into lower prices? Bidding wars, buh-bye?

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Will Boston get a pro soccer stadium?

Speaking of Trump, Robert Kraft, principal owner of pro soccer’s New England Revolution (and the New England Patriots), was recently spotted visiting the president-elect in New York. Does that have anything to do with Kraft’s desire to plant a Major League Soccer stadium in Boston? He’s already got the state and the city behind him. Why not the feds, too?

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Is 2017 the year that mega-condo deals become the norm?

This year saw the biggest home sale in Boston history: a $35,000,000 trade at the new Millennium Tower in Downtown Crossing. There were other eight-figure condo deals, too, enough to make one wonder if such sales will become a new normal in the region. The under-construction One Dalton in Back Bay will certainly provide the opportunities.

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What’s to become of the region’s choicest development site?

The federal government recently picked M.I.T. to redevelop the 14-acre Volpe transportation hub in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. The expanse has been called one of the nation’s choicest development sites and was once rumored to host the tallest building in New England. No one quite knows what’s going to go there, though—stay tuned for answers in 2017.

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Can the Green Line extension finally happen already?

Ah, yes, the Green Line extension through Somerville into Medford. It’s probably the biggest transit project in the region since the Big Dig and one of the biggest in the entire U.S. of A. Myriad delays have plagued it, however, and 2017 will likely be the year it either goes off the rails completely or chugs into the station. Or something.

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Where is Boston headed?

This question is quite literal. The city is due this spring to release a final blueprint called Imagine Boston 2030 (a draft of the blueprint dropped Nov. 17). It’s exactly what it sounds like—planning 15 years or so into the future in terms of everything from transportation to development to parkland to technology to climate change.