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Washington Village – South Boston’s Next Neighborhood

Rendering of Washington Village by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates Inc., courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

Renderings of Washington Village by Prellwitz Chilinski Associates Inc., courtesy of the Boston Redevelopment Authority.

In a project notification form filed with the Boston Redevelopment Authority, DJ Properties LLC made public their plans to drastically transform a 4.9-acre lot in South Boston into a vibrant new neighborhood. Washington Village, located at Old Colony Avenue and Dorchester and Damrell streets, is currently home to a collection of old industrial buildings. The new project would replace those buildings with 656 residential units spread across eight brand-new buildings, 96,000 square feet of retail space and 2.4 acres of space devoted to the “public realm.”

According to the filing, “the Project [sic] will transform a mostly vacant, underutilized site into a vibrant mixed-use village that will be a natural extension of the surrounding South Boston neighborhood. The nature of the Project will improve the quality of life for existing residents by providing a variety of neighborhood retail stores and a range of complementary housing options.” These goals are in accordance with Mayor Martin J. Walsh’s signature 2030 Housing Plan to bring 53,000 new units of housing to the city over the course of the next 15 years. Additionally, through the creation of new retail space, the developers want to bring “basic retail services such as grocery shopping” within walking distance to residents of the neighborhood and reduce dependence on vehicular travel.

235-Old-Colony-Ave-PNF-2015-10-20 3Along with projects like the upcoming Seaport Square development, South Boston’s evolution into a self-sufficient and pedestrian-friendly neighborhood is quickly becoming a reality. If approved, the Washington Village project would break ground in the summer of 2016, eyeing a completion date sometime in 2021, and adding an incredible new development to the Boston real estate scene.

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Top 3 Up-And-Coming Areas for Boston Real Estate Investment

Boston Housing InvestmentOur agents at Bushari Group are asked daily about investing in Boston real estate. There are multiple kinds of real estate investments, and each investment will depend on your personal financial situation, risk tolerance and exit strategy, as well as long-term and short-term ROI goals (among other things). You may choose to go the route of “blue chip” neighborhoods like Back Bay and Beacon Hill, or high-return student areas like Allston and Brighton…or, you may be one of the more risk-tolerant investors looking for a big win. If you fit into the latter category, then acquiring assets in up-and-coming neighborhoods may be for you.

After a long lull in development and construction in Boston, there is some promising investment in infrastructure and neighborhood planning on the books. There are quite a few towns, neighborhoods and sub-neighborhoods on my radar, but the three below make the top of my list.

1. Somerville – Yes, Somerville was recognized as the “Best Run City in MA” by the Boston Globe in 2006, and yes, it won the “All-America City Award” in 2009 – but that is not why I like it. I am optimistic about Somerville because of the Green Line MBTA Extension Project (or GLX). The extension is part of the 5-year Capital Investment Plan by MassDOT, which proposes $1.3b in spending to complete Green line T service from a relocated Lechmere Cambridge stop to Union Square in Somerville and Tufts University in Medford. This is a big deal. The project calls for seven new T stations with a planned completion by 2020. Now is the time to scout condos and land development projects near the new T routes.

2. Quincy – It has not been a smooth ride for the developers of the massive Quincy Center project. That said, how smooth did people really think it would be? I mean, with more than 3.5 million square-feet of mixed-use development proposed, it is only one of the largest historic downtown revitalization projects in the country. Quincy was the first city in MA to receive District Improvement Financing, which allows the city to create a DIF zone in Quincy Center and use “new” tax growth generated within the defined area to fund new public work projects such as roads, parking, green space and the long awaited final phase of the Quincy Center concourse. The project includes high-rise office buildings, 200,000+ SF of street retail space, 4,000+ new parking spaces, 1,400+ new loft style apartments and more than 300,000 SF of retail space in the new Market Center. Once complete, Quincy may become one of the hottest Boston suburbs for professionals. New tax incentives for business growth and a zoning flexibility also make Quincy an ideal opportunity for commercial investment.

3. South Boston – With many three-bedroom condos selling for more than $1m, it is hard for me to say that South Boston is still an up-and-coming neighborhood, but it is. Buyers are flooding to South Boston as they are quickly being priced out of Boston’s South End, Charlestown and the North End neighborhoods. It is one of the few areas of the city offering some new construction, and townhouses are particularly popular. Land is selling quickly and with multiple bids as developers take note (think 16 offers on a plot Bushari Group listed for just under $4m). South Boston also offers opportunity for all you fix-and-flippers. There are still a few diamonds in the rough.