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South End townhouse with 11 rooms, six fireplaces on sale for nearly $4 million

The brick pile dates from 1870, and has redevelopment potential written all over it

The entry foyer for a townhouse, with double front doors closed and a staircase leading from the area. Photos via Engel & Volkers

The bones of the 5,311-square-foot townhouse at 551 Columbus Avenue in the South End-Back Bay borderlands date from 1870. Vestiges of that birth year remain in the six fireplaces, the molding, and the sheer sizes of many of the house’s 11 rooms.

The spread is on sale now for the first time in nearly 40 years for $3.995 million through Engel & Volkers Boston. There are four bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms, too, and the tag covers two parking spaces.

The listing also makes clear that the house has redevelopment potential: “Outstanding opportunity to create your South End dream home!”

Incidentally, 551 Columbus’ asking price of $752 a square foot is about average for downtown Boston townhouses at the start of 2020. A report from appraiser Miller Samuel and brokerage Douglas Elliman pegged the average per square foot for closed townhouse deals in the fourth quarter of 2019 at $730.

A long, high-ceilinged living room with a marble fireplace and a piano and other furniture.
A small dining room with a table and chairs next to a large marble fireplace.
An older, but spacious kitchen with a long counter.
A bedroom with a bed, two nightstands, and two windows.
A room with a large painting of a woman on the one brick wall, and then stacks of other materials throughout.
A long room with boxes on one side and a filing cabinet on the other.