by Greg Kiep
on Friday, August 3rd, 2018 at 12:14pm.
Founder and CEO Nick Warren takes a look at Boston's South End and the changes he has seen in the neighborhood's real estate market over the past 10 years. He also discusses the exciting Ink Block development and new developments like 7INK, a proposed co-living space coming to the neighborhood.
How have you seen the real estate market in South End, typically one of Boston’s hottest, change over the years?
When I started in the business back in 2006, the South End had already gone through a major gentrification over the previous 10-20 years. Since 2006, we have seen the South End continue this process and rise to become one of the most in demand, and expensive neighborhoods in Boston, especially over the last 4-5 years. In fact, the average sold price per foot of a condo has risen from $707.43 in 2013 to $984.21 in 2017, a 39% increase in only 4 years!
A major factor in the popularity of the South End is the local restaurant and shopping available to its residents. Unlike the Back Bay, Downtown and Seaport neighborhoods, the South End doesn’t attract the crowds of tourists which drive up demand on retail space to the point where it becomes unaffordable for local restaurants and shops to stay in business. This allows a wider variety of dining and shopping options and creates a more “neighborhood” like feeling that residents crave.
How has the 6-acre Ink Block development changed the neighborhood?
The new Ink Block developments, along with developments like The Lucas and The Troy, have transformed what was once a cold, commercial zone into a vibrant new sub-neighborhood of the South End. They’ve done a great job creating the right mix of rental, condo, hotel and retail components that add value to the existing neighborhood while also creating its own independent feel. If you want to get a sense of how successful the project is, just try going to Whole Foods on a Saturday!
What do you think of new developments like 7INK and the opportunity for a communal living coming into the neighborhood?
I love it. Boston, like New York and San Francisco, has a serious affordable housing inventory problem. Young professionals who come to Boston for college often choose to leave after graduating because the cost of living is so high. What the team at Ollie is creating is an alternative housing supply of co-living spaces making it more affordable for someone in their 20’s and 30’s to live in convenient downtown neighborhoods like the South End. I think these microunits/co-living spaces are going to be a trend that is here to stay. I’d be willing to bet we will see more versions of it sprouting up around Boston in the near future.