GentriWatch: Two Southie Favorites in Luxury Condos’ Crosshairs
Welcome to GentriWatch, where we look for signs of gentrification happening around the city.
SOUTH BOSTON COULD SOON LOSE two neighborhood favorites due to the creep of luxury housing.
The Boston Redevelopment Authority has received a proposal for nine luxury condominiums on A Street in Southie, on the current site of Williams Tavern, which got its start in the 1940s, and My Diner, a popular breakfast joint in business for close to a decade, reports Caught in Southie and Boston Restaurant Talk.
The Residences at One Hundred A, developed by Michael Moore of Oranmore Enterprises, would include a 10-car parking garage and street level commercial space, as well as a “small glazed observatory room at the roof level.”
“This project has recently undergone a successful community review process, and I am happy to report that the surrounding abutter and the members of the West Broadway Community Group have pledged their enthusiastic suport of the proposed development,” architect Niles O. Sutphin wrote the BRA in his letter of intent.
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MAYOR MARTY WALSH IS claiming a victory for affordable housing in the city.
Walsh’s office announced Thursday that Boston had set an “affordable housing record,” with 1,022 new units of affordable housing permitted in 2015—good for the largest number of new units permitted in a single year since the city began keeping track of it 20 years ago.
“We are committed to creating a Boston that anyone, at any income level, can afford to live in,” Walsh said in a release. “I am pleased that because of our administrations’s commitment to creating affordable housing, we have been able to capture the strong real estate market, create jobs and give more people and families the opportunity to find affordable housing in Boston.”
The Mayor’s Office says the city is operating at 107 percent of the target rate needed to meet the goal of 6,500 new affordable units laid out in Walsh’s plans for 2030. In the same release, the office called Boston a “national leader in affordable housing production and policy,” but admitted that there is still significant demand for more units.
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BOSTON IS ALSO a national leader in housing costs—fourth, to be exact.
The timing of Walsh’s announcement was curious, given a new report by real estate data firm Reis, Inc., indicating the average Boston rent has soared above $2,000 for the first time. The only metropolitan areas with higher average rents are San Francisco, New York, and Silicon Valley.
Boston rents increased 5.7 percent from last year, compared to the national average of 4.6 percent. So while the Hub might be leading the way with low-income housing and have more luxury condos than it knows what to do with, housing options for the city’s middle class are quickly evaporating.