Rare Opportunity to Rent at Sepia Condos at Ink Block in Boston’s South End

32 Traveler Street, Unit 512, Boston, MA
One Bedroom, One Bath
691 Square Feet
Rent: $3,300/Month
Bonus to Tenant: 2017 Pool Membership at Ink Block Apartments
Parking: Available for Rent

Pets: Subject to Approval
Disclosures: 12-month minimum lease; first month’s rent and security deposit (one month’s rent) are required at signing of lease; one month’s rent for brokerage fee.

Beautiful, bright and contemporary, this one-bedroom, one-bath condo with an in-unit washer and dryer and a private terrace is now available to rent (unfurnished) at the luxury, full-service Sepia condos at Ink Block in Boston’s hot South End neighborhood. Built from the ground up on the former Boston Herald site, this building was completed with occupancy in the fall of 2015. Sepia is a high owner occupancy community with a limited number of rentals permitted.

Building amenities include a 24-hour concierge, fitness center, club room, and a common roof deck with gas grills. The community is pet-friendly and non-smoking. Sepia is located within steps of the #2 Whole Foods Market in the country, SoWa Markets, the South End arts district, restaurants and the T, and is in walking distance to many other neighborhoods. Major highways and the airport are quickly accessible.

For more information about the Sepia condos at Ink Block, the community and to schedule a showing, please contact Frann Bilus at frannbilus@compass.com or 617.759.4828 (call/text).

Color of The Year: Inspiration for Your Next Home Décor Project

Each year, Benjamin Moore and all the other paint manufacturers choose one color they believe signals the color trend for the following months. This year, sophisticated hues are taking center stage. Benjamin Moore took a sharp turn from its 2016 pick, Simply White, to name this year’s preferred color, Shadow. This dramatic, smoky plum color is exciting because it is bold and unexpected. You can really play around with how you use it in your home—creating a strong statement to a softening backdrop. It is a lot more versatile then you would think.

Looking for some inspiration? Here are some ways to use the rich hue of Shadow in your Boston condo.

Start small. If you’re cautious about using a deep color, consider introducing it on an accent wall, in a powder room or in a study to add some personality to your living space.

Create drama. Sometimes an intense, bold hue in an entryway does the perfect job of setting a sophisticated tone for your home.

Pair it with rich accent colors and accessories. I love how Shadow makes the red rug and fuchsia chairs in this room really pop.

Choose a room with natural light. Shadow follows the rhythm of the day, bringing brightness into the space in the morning, and dialing down the energy at dusk.

Look beyond typical color pairing. Here, the use of black trim with shadow provides a grounding element. It’s sophisticated and soothing.

The use of dark or strong colors in your home is a reflection of your personal style. If you’re considering repainting to refresh your home in preparation for selling it, bold colors can be a distraction and a possible deterrent to prospective buyers. To best position your home for sale to attract the most buyers, who want to imagine their life and their style in the space,  a fresh and neutral palette works best.

What do you think about Benjamin Moore’s color choice? How would you use Shadow in your own home?

Coveted Super-Luxury Living on Boston’s Waterfront: Twenty Two Liberty & 50 Liberty

Boston’s high-end housing market is so hot right now even new condos that haven’t been lived in yet are being flipped. That’s what’s happening at Twenty Two Liberty, the 14-story glass-walled condo building in the Seaport that’s perched above Boston Harbor with panoramic views, its own private shuttle, a private club, and a full range of other high-end amenities. For buyers who missed out on the initial offer period, this is exciting news. Just three units at Twenty Two Liberty are now on the market (as re-sales). However, lest you think you’ll need to compete for this limited supply, a sister property by the same developer and equally luxurious, is going up next door. 50 Liberty, a 14-story, 120-unit condominium is slated for completion in fall 2017. Pre-construction sales at 50 Liberty are progressing, but there is still time and opportunity to capture the exclusive, full-service lifestyle at this enviable Seaport location.

Both Twenty Two and 50 Liberty offer some spectacular views, fabulous floor plans designed for luxury living, the finest finishes and amenities including a sheltered porte cochère, an intimate marble elevator lobby, on-site garage parking, 24-hour concierge, a private waterfront club room for entertaining, a well-equipped fitness center, board room, on-site restaurants, outdoor space and more. Living here, you’ll be amidst an exciting, eclectic neighborhood with several of the hottest restaurants, cultural icons and a marina in mesmerizing motion. Uniquely, there’s an amazing sense of the outside being inside with the dramatic ceiling heights, incredible window walls of glass and the visual extravaganza of the Boston Harbor right outside. View the condos posted for sale in MLS at Twenty Two Liberty and 50 Liberty.

If you’re a prospective buyer, it would be my pleasure to give you a look at these very special Seaport residences. My insight and guidance on Boston’s luxury condo market will help you understand relative values of new, high-end construction as you explore the options for a city lifestyle.

Photos courtesy of 50Liberty.com.

Here’s to a New Year and To New Adventures in City Living

m1-0Happy New Year! Boston’s real estate market remained very active during the holiday season, though I took time to reflect and re-charge. I am incredibly optimistic about what 2017 will bring to real estate buyers and sellers in Boston and to my real estate practice. I really love what I do; I am fortunate to be working with wonderful clients in the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, collaborating with a talented team of colleagues, and to be affiliated with Compass, a dynamic, innovative brokerage. Compass is continuously looking ahead, challenging the norm and striving to improve… to create a better, more intelligent real estate experience for our clients. 2016 was marked by several accomplishments for our firm:

  • We celebrated our first year in the Boston market; moved into fantastic new office space on Newbury Street; successfully launched new markets in Aspen, San Francisco and Santa Barbara/Montecito; and expanded in our existing markets, opening offices in Chestnut Hill, Cambridge, Brentwood, Pasadena, Malibu, and Coconut Grove.
  • Compass Office 126 Newbury St. BostonWith 10,600 transactions across the entire company, Compass helped someone move every 11 minutes in a 40-hour work week.
  • Revenue skyrocketed to $178 million, representing a three times increase compared to 2015. We expect triple digit growth in 2017 as well.
  • Sales volume grew to over $6.2 billion, representing a 208% increase compared to 2015.
  • Our Product & Engineering team released a number of ground breaking technology tools and consumer apps, providing you with real-time stats on Boston’s condo market, up-to-the-minute property valuations and timely comparative analyses.

My fantastic clients have made my work even more rewarding. It’s a privilege to guide clients thought the emotional and financial facets of real estate decision, share data and insights on Boston’s dynamic market, and help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals. I’ve worked with first-time buyers, clients relocating to Boston to make our fabulous city their home, sellers relocating out of Boston, buyers transitioning from one neighborhood to another, and empty nesters who have downsized and moved to the city for the adventures and conveniences of an urban lifestyle. I’ve helped clients purchase new construction (even pre-construction) for the future, international buyers seeking an investment in Boston’s strong market, and buyers who have purchased condos in charming brownstones to full-service, luxury high-rises throughout all of Boston’s vibrant neighborhoods.Millennium Tower Boston

I care deeply about each and every client… and their unique real estate goals. When my clients are happy with their new home, when they have satisfactorily completed a sale that allows them to transition to the next phase of their lives, when they’re elated by ridding themselves of maintaining a large home and settled into a new space they love with fantastic restaurants, entertainment, culture, and even work within an easy walk, I am fulfilled.

Thank you so much for working with me… and for referring your family, friends and colleagues, too. I’m looking forward to another eventful, exciting year in Boston’s real estate market and to helping you make the best-informed real estate decisions that suit your unique lifestyle.

Cheers to you and to a great 2017!


Beacon Hill’s Boutique Condo Beauties

Fine craftsmanship and care are blended into every detail of The Whitwell’s lobby (via thewhitwell.com)

Famous for its brick and stone Federal, Greek Revival and Gothic-style architecture, its central location, and its myriad shops and cafes lining picturesque Charles Street, Beacon Hill has long been one of Boston’s most desireable addresses. Its cobblestone streets and iconic gas lamps and proximity to all the services, entertainment, arts and culture of Boston add to the allure, while providing residents with a lifestyle of tranquility and charm.

Amid the boom of ultra high-end, super high-rise condos under construction elsewhere in the city, a look closer to street level reveals some exciting condo projects in Beacon Hill… although in limited supply. Smaller residential buildings, with just a handful of units, are being developed in this neighborhood and offer buyers a more intimate alternative in luxury residential living. Here are some highlights of three noteworthy boutique condo projects new to the market in Beacon Hill:

  • Rendering of sun-filled living room with 13" ceilings in Residence 1B (via maisonvernon.com)
    Rendering of sun-filled living room with 13 foot ceilings in Residence 1B (via maisonvernon.com)

    Maison Vernon: This seven-unit luxury condominium on the corner of Mt. Vernon and Joy is being developed by the Bostonian-Parisian development team of Chevron Partners, with completion expected in December. The collaboration has resulted in the perfect fusion of well-crafted modern European interiors with grand American architecture. For example, there are 24 windows and at least two fireplaces in every unit, the floors are imported from France and the kitchens from Italy, and crème de la crème finishes are throughout. Amenities include a 24-hour concierge, a doorman, private outdoor spaces and one valet, garage parking space per unit. Four homes remain for sale with asking prices ranging from $2.995 million for a 1,911-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath ($1,567 per square foot) to $5.65 million for a three-plus bedroom, three-and-a-half bath spanning 2,903 square feet ($1,946 per square foot).

  • Custom kitchen and spacious dining room in the 3-bed, 2-bath penthouse (via russellcourt.com)
    Custom kitchen and spacious dining room in the 3-bed, 2-bath penthouse (via russellcourt.com)

    Russell Court: Developed by the prestigious husband-and-wife team of Peter and Elizabeth Georgantas, this boutique residence combines 38 South Russell Street with an adjacent property at 4 Smith Court and includes five magnificent new construction homes. Though one unit was quickly purchased during the first week on the market, four units remain with asking prices between $1.5 and $2.75 million ($1,027 to $1,216 per square foot). Floor plans range from a two-bedroom, two-bath (1,385 square feet) to a 2,260 square-feet penthouse duplex with three bedrooms, two-and-a-half baths, a private roof deck and a bonus heated storage room on the ground floor that has been finished and could be used for additional living space. Each of the spacious homes offers an allowance for one rental parking space.

  • the-whitwell-beacon-hill
    The large open living/dining space features 7″ x 3/4″ Hakwood hardwood floors, a gas fireplace, 11 foot ceilings and 16′ x 8″ walls of glass (via thewhitwell.com)

    The Whitwell: One of the more anticipated luxury residential conversions in Boston, The Whitwell defines classic luxury with its 14 single-floor homes, gracious layouts, secluded outdoor space, on-site concierge and direct elevator access to a private, deeded parking garage. Fifty percent of the units are already under agreement, but interested buyers have the opportunity to buy one of the eight that remain. Homes range from a 1,936-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath second-floor unit with two garage parking spaces and an asking price of $2.845 million ($1,470 per square foot) to a 6,270-square-foot penthouse priced at $12.75 million ($2,033 per square foot) that come with six bedrooms, an astounding seven full baths (and two half-baths), and four garage parking spaces. A large, exquisitely designed foyer will introduce the residences, and the interiors will be even more remarkable.

Each of these condo developments offers the expected chef’s kitchens with top-of-the line appliances and luxurious finishes in the bath, yet they are distinguished by their custom details and impeccable craftsmanship that is hard to replicate on a larger scale. These homes are comparable to custom pieces of jewelry or a limited-edition car. From a buyer’s perspective, homes that are this distinctive and in such limited supply will always be coveted.

If you’re intrigued by these boutique Beacon Hill beauties and would like more information on a different level of luxury living in Boston, it would be my pleasure to introduce you to these very special residences.

Boston’s Luxury Condos Raising the Bar on Amenities

A view from the Charles River of Milllennium Tower in Downton Crossing via Boston.com
A view of Millennium Tower in Downton Crossing from the Charles River (via Boston.com)

Until recently, Boston’s real estate market was best characterized by its rows of low-rise Victorian brownstones… and a grand Back Bay townhome was considered the epitome of top-tier real estate. Today, Boston is in the midst of a huge residential building boom that is highlighted by a new generation of high-rise condominiums. These developments are not only big in stature; they are delivering big on a new generation of amenities, too.

Though brownstones are appreciated for their historic architecture and are still coveted real estate in Boston, the recent construction of several luxury developments—along with their respective price points and rapid sales—suggest that buyers here are embracing high-rise condos and the built-in lifestyle they offer. Buyers, ranging from young professionals to Baby Boomers who are leaving their homes in the suburbs for a more vibrant lifestyle, are opting to live in stylish, contemporary new construction complete with a level of amenities previously unknown in Boston. Clients want views, a rooftop pool and terrace (and rooftop yoga, too), the ability to walk to work and play, on-site dining options, and planned social events to mingle with other residents. What’s not to like?

Residents at Millennium Place gathered with their neighbors on their patio for a summer clam bake. Via MillenniumTowerBoston.com
Residents at Millennium Place gathered with their neighbors on their patio for a summer clam bake (via MillenniumTowerBoston.com)

With the bar having been raised, a 24-hour concierge, a clubby residents-only lounge, a fitness center and underground garage parking have become the norm. Here are highlights of the latest services, comforts and conveniences offered by some of the city’s new, luxury developments:

  • Millennium Place and the much-touted, just-opened Millennium Tower, both in Downtown Crossing, provide residents with an urban country club experience capped off by the distinguished “La Vie,” an event-driven program that brings together the building’s residents for exclusive cultural events and social gatherings. Millennium Tower will also be home to award-winning chef Michael Mina’s PABU restaurant when it opens there this fall.
  • In the South End’s hip Ink Block community, residents at the Sepia condos have a private roof deck and those who live at Siena (slated to be completed in early 2018) will get a “skyclub lounge.” Both have access to pet-centric living along with garage parking, bike storage, and retail and dining right in the complex, including Bar Mezzana – one of Zagat’s “Most Anticipated Restaurants of 2016” and a Whole Foods Market featuring an in-house spa. I love the convenience of having Bar Mezzana in my building; fabulous food and a great vibe are just downstairs and add to the value of my place there.
  • Rendering of Pierce Boston sky cabana (via BostonMagazine.com)
    Rendering of Pierce Boston sky cabana (via BostonMagazine.com)

    The 30-story, 109-unit Pierce Boston under construction in Fenway is due to come with more than 20,000 square feet of street-level retail and restaurant space as well as amenities such as a rooftop swimming pool, a fitness center, yoga studio, and a restaurant. Plus buyers can opt for one of 12 sky cabanas— private, open-air entertaining spaces complete with wet bars and expansive city views.

  • One of only a few Four Seasons-managed residential towers in the world, the 61-story One Dalton in Back Bay will be New England’s tallest residential building when it debuts in 2018 and its residents will have access to the finest in five-star amenities including a golf simulation room, private theater, spa, salon, plus a 24-hour valet, laundry services, and housekeeping.
  • Rooftop yoga at InkBlock surround by the pool botanical garden, outdoor patio and city views (viaBostonMagazine.com)
    Rooftop yoga at Ink Block surround by the pool, botanical garden, outdoor patio and city views (viaBostonMagazine.com)

    Fifty Liberty, part of the 21-acres Fan Pier development, joins the long list of Seaport properties to watch. The 14-floor, 120-unit luxury condo building, offers private shuttle service around the city, access to an indoor/outdoor health and fitness center, and Babbo Pizzeria e Enoteca, a new restaurant concept from famed chef Mario Batali.

Sure, brownstones have one-of-a-kind charm and intimacy that you’re never going to get in a full-service building. Yet, Boston buyers are showing they are hungry for new construction, the ease of full-service living, and access to a social community that comes with these exciting new developments.

Defining Your Luxury Lifestyle

via MillenniumTowerBoston.com
via MillenniumTowerBoston.com

Boston, if you’ve been following my blog, is in the midst of a luxury condo building boom. Even as the new, ultra-deluxe Millennium Tower welcomes its first residents and the 61-story Four Seasons Private Residences One Dalton takes shape on the skyline, the city faces a shortage of available multimillion-dollar condos. And while a number of new luxury high-rises are gearing up to break ground or open over the next few years, the hundreds of new units they will bring to the market are likely to get snapped up just as fast.

Today’s buyers in the luxury market certainly desire premium design and finishes along with high-end amenities, including the requisite concierge, views and garage parking; yet, they’re also looking to fulfill their own interpretation of “the good life.” For some buyers, that may mean an on-site wellness program, a private club-level pool or a resident chef program. Some look for extras like pet spas or a climate-controlled wine room. Young couples want the right address that will allow them to walk their child to a reputable school. Others want access to retail, dining and services that empower a 24/7 walkable lifestyle. Part and parcel with all these amenities is the convenience of an urban setting that completes a luxury lifestyle.Compass Quarterly Summer 2016

It’s with pleasure that I’m sharing the new edition of the Compass Quarterly newsletter, “The Luxury Issue.” We’ve curated a collection of fine experiences, resources and insights for our sophisticated, discerning clients. Topics include forward-thinking ideas on architecture, design, travel, business, culture, fashion, food, technology, a premium client experience and even a recommended reading list. (Perhaps relaxing with a good book on a leisurely afternoon is your ultimate luxury). I think you’ll find the article on features and amenities driving today’s buyers of particular interest, too. In the words of Compass President, Leonard Steinberg, “Experiences are proven to deliver more happiness than possessions alone.” Enjoy!

The South End Condo Market Still Sizzles

via Rick Friedman Photography
via Rick Friedman Photography

Known for its striking brownstones, great restaurants, boutiques, art galleries, open markets, green spaces (11 residential parks) and diversity, there is no denying the South End is one of the most desirable residential neighborhoods in Boston. Despite the allure of new, super-luxury high-rises being built elsewhere in the city, the South End’s condo market is stronger than ever, and it keeps getting hotter, with brownstones and boutique properties alike attracting top dollar.

To get a sense of the temperature here, let’s start by taking a look at some numbers. Average closing prices in the South End increased considerably over the past five years and continued to rise through the first quarter of 2016, reaching an all time high. Bidding wars have moderated slightly, but it’s still common for condos here to have multiple offers and sell for over asking price, largely due to the demand relative to available inventory.South End Market Data_Avg. Closing Price

Another indicator of the strength of the South End’s condo market is price per square foot, and this metric also surged over the past five years. The neighborhood’s average price per square foot reached $860 in 2015 and has kept pace through the first quarter of 2016, as illustrated in the graph below.South End Market Data_Avg Price Per Square Foot

There’s been significant growth in the South End’s luxury market as well. In fact, year-to-date (as of July 9, 2016), 68 condos here sold above $1,000 per square foot—an indicator of luxury sales—nearly double the amount during the same period in 2015 when only 37 condos sold at this price point. Despite the opening of Sepia at Ink Block late last year, most of the sales in the $1000-plus-per-square-foot range were predominantly brownstones. This is evidence that South End condos don’t necessarily need premium views or amenities to command top dollar.

via thelucasboston.com
via thelucasboston.com

Though most buyers in the South End find homes in the neighborhood’s Federal style and bow-front brick row houses, the historic housing stock is now coupled with a growing number of newly built—and under construction—boutique residences and a few, modern mid-rises, complete with concierge, garage parking and an abundance of full-service amenities. The Lucas, an
elegant, 33-unit conversion of the Holy Trinity Church on Shawmut Ave, and the Jordan Lofts, which has transformed an historic, commercial space into 18 luxury units, are selling for premium prices (in some cases pushing $1,500 a square foot). In the high-style Ink Block community in the neighborhood’s expanding northeast corner, nearly every residence in the 79-unit Sepia condo component of the development sold before its opening this year and its Siena condos are now on the market with price ranges from $645,000 for a studio to $2,173,000 for a two-bedroom, two-bathroom, 1,713-square-foot penthouse (not including coveted garage parking).

The most important driving force in the South End’s condo market, which holds true for downtown Boston overall, is a lack of inventory coupled with high demand. The graph below, illustrating a decrease in the number of condominium sales traded throughout the neighborhood over the past three years, is the reality that buyers in the South End have been experiencing… limited supply!South End Market Data_Number of Closings

The simple laws of economics are driving up prices and fueling the strong market. It remains a sellers’ market and steady appreciation is expected to continue. Buyers, it’s important to be prepared, knowledgeable and nimble if you want to land your dream home in the South End. Buying a condo in this neighborhood, in this market, can be done however. It would be my pleasure to guide you through each step of the process while helping you understand the market dynamics at play.

Note: All data in these graphs was compiled by the Compass research team. All information was obtained from sources considered reliable, but it is subject to errors, commissions, changes in price, condition, sales or withdraw without notice.


Drive Less, Live More: Boston’s Walkable Lifestyle

One of the most common neighborhood characteristics requested by Boston condo buyers is walkability. More and more of us want to be within a safe and comfortable walking distance of the destinations that meet our everyday needs, such as shops, places to eat, services, parks. For many, it’s also essential to be just steps from good transportation options that can take us to work and other places we want to go. Walkability is the hottest trend in real estate, sought by buyers and renters alike.

I love walking to appointments and residential showings in the city. It’s healthy, convenient and helps me get in my 10,000 steps a day.

Boston, for its part, was recently ranked the third most walkable city in the nation.

Walkability is about convenience, quality of life and everything outside the four walls of your home. What often makes a Boston condo “right” is its location—its proximity to essential everyday amenities, such as a grocery store, shopping areas and a local bar or bistro… and a walkable commute renders any condo immediately more desirable, too. When you live near the people and places you enjoy most, you can spend less time and money on transit and more time doing what you love.

The South End is a walker’s paradise and one of my favorite neighborhoods to stroll through. The brownstones are striking, there are great shops and restaurants on the main thoroughfares and tucked into the side streets, and plenty of urban parks and green spaces, too. I’m fortunate that the demand for condos here along with all of the exciting new development in the Harrison Ave area give me plenty of opportunities to walk — for work and play — in this neighborhood.

In fact, demand for walkable neighborhoods is only going to increase as more and more members of the millennial generation (young professionals included) enter the home-buying market. One of the key characteristics they’re looking for in their preferred place of residence is the ability to live within a short commute to work and an easy walk of places in the community, according to the results of a nationwide survey released last year by the National Association of Realtors.

It’s not just millennials who are driving demand for walkable neighborhoods. In Boston, like many cities, the resurgent interest in downtown living has been attributed to empty nesters who sold their house in the suburbs and “right-sized” to a condo near the symphony, museums, upscale shopping, fabulous restaurants and the best of what the city has to offer—most of it all walkable. Most of my empty nester clients are still working, too, and are tired of long commutes and time spent in the car. Waking up, leaving the car parked and commuting to work via a stroll down Commonwealth Ave and through the Public Garden and Boston Common is certainly appealing to many.

Real estate developers in downtown Boston are building more residential projects with mixed-use components to cater to city residents looking for an urban, walkable lifestyle. Several mixed-use projects have been completed in recent years or are underway throughout the city, including the Ink Block community with a Whole Foods Market and growing selection of restaurants; Millennium Tower, offering super high-end amenities and the convenience of a Roche Bros. super market at street level; and Pierce Boston, now under construction in Fenway with more than 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, just to name a few.

If the idea of living in an urban, walkable environment appeals to you, let’s talk and start the process of finding a Boston condo that meets your lifestyle needs, where you can easily walk to what’s important to you.

Springtime in Boston and The Active Life

via running competitor.com
via running competitor.com

We’re always delighted to welcome spring in Boston, even after this unusually mild winter. For many Bostonians, spring begins with the first pitch at Fenway Park. As the weather turns nice, you’ll see the shops on Newbury Street prop their doors open and the bars and restaurants set up their outdoor patios. The city’s green spaces will be vibrant with activity, the Charles River dotted withwhite sails and the paths along its banks lined with runners. The Public Garden’s cherry blossom trees and tulips will soon be in full bloom and the swan boats will be back on the pond. The Boston Marathon, our city’s signature event, is just a week away and the South End Open Market will open for its thirteenth season at its new Ink Block location on May 1st. I love this time of the year and the many great ways to experience springtime in our wonderful city.

As signs of spring emerge, I’m pleased to share with you the second edition of Compass Quarterly where you’ll get a glimpse of the Compass culture and people in our offices across the country. Not only has our own CEO run 50 marathons, but our real estate agents are enjoying their cities’ bike paths, yoga studios, and urban harbors—sometimes with clients and sometimes in between open houses—and regularly engaging with and exploring the distinct terrains of their communities. Join me as we celebrate spring and active lifestyles, and enjoy our magazine. You can read the complete issue here. Happy spring!