Tag Archives: Newton

EXPLORE: Living in Somerville

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It’s the city known for its zany festivals, hipsters, and arguably more artists per capita than most of the East Coast. Meet Somerville, one of the most densely populated cities in the country with just over four square miles to work with. Its enviable location is only two miles from Boston’s city center and close to popular Cambridge sites like Porter and Inman Squares. From its roots as a revolutionary hotspot to an industrial juggernaut, it’s now setting into its status as a vibrant, community-centered location with a bright future ahead.

History

Somerville first began as part of Charlestown when it was settled by British colonists in 1630. More than a century later, Somerville played a vital role in the American Revolution where it saw one of the first hostile acts by British soldiers at The Old Powder House, which is still standing today; it’s also the home of the first official raising of the American flag at Prospect Hill, critical for its views of Boston proper.

In 1842 Somerville officially separated from Charlestown and became its own township, and, due to the booming factory growth in the area, was incorporated as a city in 1872. Today, it’s undergoing a renewal renaissance, where it’s preserving its industrial past and crafting an innovative culture of forward-thinking residents with fierce pride for their city.

Urban Planning

Named Best-Run City in Massachusetts by The Boston Globe, Somerville packs an urban-planning punch only two miles from the Boston city center. It’s won the All-American City award three times since 1972 for its ideal walking and biking routes, and cities throughout Massachusetts and New England look to become “the next Somerville” in terms of its roaring success in residential initiatives.

Each square in Somerville not only holds a place in US history but offers present-day dining and shopping attractions as well. Assembly Square, Davis Square, and Union Square each have their own sub-cultures and worth at least a visit for their individual charms.

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Claims to Fame

Somerville’s deep roots in industrial work left behind a legacy as the birthplace of many products and well-known store chains. Marshmallow Fluff, for example, was first invented in Somerville; thousands flock to Somerville every year for its annual “What the Fluff?” festival that celebrates it and other Somerville creations.

With Somerville practically surrounded by water, it’s easy to visit renowned markers like the Mystic River, which is nationally known and referenced in poetry and film.  Other attractions range from historically renowned sites to institutions like Brooklyn Boulders and the Museum of Bad Art in Somerville Theatre.

Need more convincing? Somerville lies a stone’s throw away from Tufts University, only bested by MIT and Harvard as best university in Massachusetts. On a national scale, Forbes ranks Tufts within the top twenty due to its high caliber programs and internationalism.

Transportation

With Red and Orange Line connections, Somerville is easily accessible from Cambridge and Boston by both rail and bus routes via the MBTA. For further convenience, Somerville will soon have a place on the Green Line as well through the Green Line extension project, set to be completed in 2021.

Somerville is highly walkable and bike able with ideal grid routes, a rare and unusual trait for a city this close to Boston. Popular routes include the Somerville Community Path, which runs from Davis Square to the Cambridge border near Lechmere Square. Companies like Hubway have partnered with Somerville to support cycling and bicycle infrastructure with more than 300 bike parking spots and other initiatives.

Housing

Somerville’s Davis Square and Winter Hill areas have seen the highest increases in price over the past decade, seeing prices jump over sixty percent in both areas. Somerville is also a great location for singles as over half its residents are unmarried.

Due to excitement over the Green Line extension and its urban planning success, Somerville is rapidly becoming a valuable choice for homeowners and investors. Trendgraphix sets the average price of a single family home today at $789,000, an increase from the average price of $461,000 in 2007.

Hidden Gem: The Jamaica Pond U-Shaped Bench

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Tucked in among a row of benches at Jamaica Pond, in Jamaica Plain, is a curious u-shaped bench.

It is not possible to use the bench since it curves up into a u-shape making it impossible to sit on. Leading one to wonder how such a bench came about?

W1siZiIsInVwbG9hZHMvcGxhY2VfaW1hZ2VzLzA1NTNiNzA0ZjJlZTkwOTE5Yl9CZW5jaCAxLmpwZyJdLFsicCIsInRodW1iIiwiOTgweD4iXSxbInAiLCJjb252ZXJ0IiwiLXF1YWxpdHkgOTEgLWF1dG8tb3JpZW50Il1dJamaica Pond is part of the Emerald Necklace of parks in Boston designed by Frederick Law Olmsted in the late 1880s. Identical benches have graced the park’s path until 2006 when a Massachusetts College of Art & Design associate professor named Matthew Hincman decided to change that.

Himcman installed the bench as a “guerrilla” piece of public art which he snuck into a row of benches without official Parks Department approval. It took the City of Boston about a week to discover that the bench was there and another 4 days to realize it was not an approved city project. The bench was then removed but it did win the respect of the City Parks Director. Hincman then petitioned and was granted approval from the Boston Art Commission to have it re-installed. Thus is the story behind the curious u-shaped bench on Jamaica Pond.

Image and Source Credit: Atlas Obscura

Featured Listing: Modern Townhouse in Newton

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16 Keefe Avenue, Unit B – Newton

Offered at $1,299,000

Newly constructed modern townhomes in Newton – The last two available, these lovely new homes are tucked away on a side street, just a stones throw from the Charles River and a fabulous playground with tennis courts. Each unit has open layouts for today’s modern living and entertaining. Pella windows and 9-foot ceiling heights allow light to fill the space. State of the art kitchens include Thermadore appliances and contemporary cabinets. Modern fireplaces, open stairwells and ceiling slopes provide architectural interest throughout. Well-appointed master baths feature double vanities, glass tile, and spa-like showers with glass enclosures. Both of the bedrooms share a family bath, near the laundry space. Each unit has a lower level with bedroom, bath, family room and large storage space. Keefe Ave is one mile from the Elliot MBTA station, close to the railway trail in Historic Upper Falls and several villages including Waban and Newton Highlands.

Listing Agent: Linda Brennan, 617.840.3247, linda.brennan@unlimitedsir.com

Newton Office Opening and Holiday Celebration

On January 24th all off our agents, staff and owners, gathered to celebrate a successful 2016 and the opening of Newton Centre office. The evening began with at open house at the Newton office, located at 767 Beacon Street, so everyone could see the new space right in the heart of Newton Centre. Then agents, staff and their significant others moved two doors down at Central for a night of celebration.

Boston and the International Luxury Housing Market

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A new report on the international luxury real estate market, “The Global Property Handbook” has now been made available.

The report, generated by Wealth-X in collaboration with Warburg Realty and Barnes International Realty, reviews the real estate buying habits of the world’s wealthiest people. These so-called ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals are worth at least – or more than – $30 million and have largely come by their fortunes from their own brilliance and ingenuity. Their property choices are a reflection of practical and personal values, two qualities that make Boston an attractive destination.

According to the new Alpha Cities Index, which catalogues the most desirable cities in the world for UHNWIs to reside, Boston is placed amongst the top 15 world destinations, beating cities like Singapore, Moscow, and Rome for a chief global ranking. Boston is a strong city for practicality, emotional appeal (shopping, cultural richness) and finances (ease of doing business and high property value).

Boston comes third on a world scale for practical factors alone: strong education, air travel connectivity, environmental friendliness, and personal safety culminate our appeal. Boston beats out other US cities like New York, San Diego, and Chicago by “lead[ing] its national peers” in this assessment.

Boston is consistently ranked one of the best cities to live in for all types of individuals: there’s something for every runner, scientist, student, and entrepreneur, just to name a few of the lifestyles drawn to Beantown. With such a high quality of life for the average Bostonian comes even more value for UHNWIs.

Our school smarts are of particular interest. More than fifty higher education institutions in the greater Boston area make it a sought-after destination, as UHNWIs will buy homes close to their children “while they are being educated in schools or universities away from home, or which provide a base for their descendants to live in while pursuing their studies.”

One of the biggest draws to luxury real estate is its value retention even amidst political and economic insecurity. “Real estate assets provide multiple benefits for the wealthy investor … they both offer a hedge against inflation and portfolio diversification, while also affording today’s global citizens unique opportunities for travel and enjoyment.” In other words, a luxury property must be both practical and exciting for both domestic and foreign buyers – a point driven home as two of the three indicators in the Alpha City Index.

With the new luxury properties coming to market throughout downtown Boston, including those at the newly-built Millennium Tower, one would think that downtown areas are the primary aim for the multimillionaires of the world. Despite the gorgeous skyline and harbor views, however, many will actually look just outside of Boston for both privacy and a slower pace of life. With world-famous businessmen, celebrities, and leaders looking at Greater Boston for their new home, a community feel is one of the finest benefits to life beyond the busy epicenter.

Altogether, the next neighborhood the wealthiest will move to must have the following characteristics: proven value retention in the housing market, unbeatable quality of life, easy access to educational institutions, vibrant entertainment options, and a peaceful element to living. When price is no barrier to real estate options, UHNWIs can guarantee their desires will be met in their next home.


Three neighborhoods in particular best fit this description: Newton, Cambridge, and Brookline, all of which lie close to Boston’s amenities and venues. Besides their proximity to Beantown, each neighborhood has unique, enticing features that amplify their charm and appeal.

Newton’s single family homes are priced at over $1.2 million on average. Lasell and Mount Ida College both call Newton home, and its villages are within a ten-minute drive to Boston College and Brandeis University. Besides being ranked one of the best places to live in America, Newton has a lot to offer its residents that enjoy the outdoors, including many public playgrounds, parks, and the illustrious Crystal Lake.

Brookline homes continue to increase in value, with single family prices hovering just under one million dollars. It’s not only a stone’s throw from the universities in the Longwood Medical area (including Wheelock, Simmons, and Emmanuel colleges) but also houses parts of Boston College and Boston University. From popular villages with great restaurants and shopping to grand homes in the shadow of The Country Club, Brookline makes for a great place to live.

Cambridge is most distinguishable on a global scale for being the home of multiple top universities, including Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). The average price of a single family home is roughly $1.9 million, making it one of the most expensive markets in the Boston area. Steeped in colonial history, Cambridge is a hotbed of historical architecture with residences, churches, and other buildings that stretch back hundreds of years. Additionally, their breadth of museums provide rotating exhibits and content for all ages to enjoy.

Whether the world’s elite are looking to set down roots or secure a vacation retreat, Boston and its neighborhoods are sure to impress even the choosiest of home buyers.

Read the full Global Property Handbook report here.

See current luxury offerings in Greater Boston here.

Hidden Gem: Back Bay Castle

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At the corner of 97-105 Arlington Street and 130 Columbus Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts sits Boston’s own four-story granite castle.

Originally built in 1897 as the Amory of the First Corps of Cadets, the building was designed to withstand mob violence due to political unrest during the period of construction. The structure was designed by William Gibbons Preston and construction began in 1891 and completed in 1castle3897. It was designed in the Romanesque Revival style and its most distinguished feature is its six story tower. The building not only boasts of a tower but has oriel turrets, moats, and crenelated parapet walls. The buildings staircases, as well as some tower vaults, are built using the Guastavino system. The Guastavino system is a technique for constructing sturdy, self-supporting arches and architectural vaults using interlocking terracotta tiles and layers of mortar to form a thin skin, with the tiles following the curve of the roof.

The Amory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973[1] and designated as a Boston Landmark by the Boston Landmarks Commission in 1977. Also known as the Park Plaza Castle it was used as a banquet facility up until 2014 and owned by the adjacent Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers. Currently the space is now managed by another company and is referred to as the “Castle at Park Plaza” where it continues run as event facility and is home to the Smith & Wollensky steakhouse.

Image Credit: Wikipedia and Castle at Park Plaza

Featured Listing: Lovely Garrison Colonial in Newton Upper Falls

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18 Tamarac Road – Newton Upper Falls

Offered at $699,000

Sun filled and lovely 3BR, 1.5 BA Garrison Colonial in a great neighborhood! This property has been well maintained by the same family for over 50 years. Living Room with a fireplace, large windows, hardwood floors, Dining Room, Kitchen with access to 3 season porch, 1st floor paneled den with built-ins and half bath on main living level. 2nd floor offers 3 Bedrooms and a full bath. Lower level is unfinished with access to 1 car garage. Additional generous parking in the driveway. Excellent opportunity to own a home on a side street with terrific access to major routes. Possible expansion! Angier School/Buffer Zervas.

Listing Agent: Margie Kern, 617.686.0981, margie.kern@unlimitedsir.com

Featured Rental: Polished Penthouse in Jamaica Plain

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Exclusive Listing – O’Leary Way, Jamaica Plain

$2,100/month, Available March 1st

This top floor 3 bedroom condo is five minutes from T and bus lines that give you access to Downtown Boston, the Longwood Medical Area, and Harvard Square. Lots of windows, wood floors, eat-in-kitchen, and big closets. Laundry is in the basement. The rent includes heat, hot water, and one off-street parking spot.

To learn more, contact our rental department at:
617.264.7900 (Brookline) or 617.522.2200 (JP), rentals@unlimitedsir.com

Check out the O’Leary Way rental here or search for the rental of your choice here.

Newton Centre Office Open for Business

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At the beginning of December we shared the exciting news that we were expanding into Newton Centre!

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Well the doors have officially been open for a few weeks now and we’d like to invite you to stop by and say “Hello!”. The new office is located at 767 Beacon Street in the heart of Newton Centre (located next to Lee’s Burgers and the Tete a Tete Salon). We are open 9am-5pm Monday through Friday and agents are in the office on the weekends as well.

NewtonCentre

Internationally Recognized. Nationally Known. Locally Owned.

We look forward to becoming a big part of the local community in Newton! If you are looking to buy or sell, in Newton or the surrounding the communities, reach out to us today at 617.332.1400 or info@unlimitedsir.com so we can connect you with one of our top-notch agents.

Featured Listing: Custom-Built, Sun Filled Colonial in Newton Centre

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44 Parker Avenue – Newton Centre

Offered at $1,699,000

Stunning young custom-built sun filled Colonial in meticulous condition! Superb kitchen featuring cherry cabinetry, granite counters, generous peninsula with seating, Wolf gas cooktop, professional grade exhaust fan, electric double ovens, Sub Zero refrigerator, and Fisher Paykel dishwasher. This exceptional kitchen opens to the family room with a double sided gas fireplace, dining area and sliders to the deck, patio and partially fenced-in yard. Beautifully appointed living room with recessed lighting and built-in cabinetry, grand dining room, 1st floor bedroom or office & 1st floor bath with shower. 2nd floor features a wonderful master bedroom with attached bath, 2 walk in closets, 3 additional bedrooms, one with en suite bathroom, are quite spacious, cool open loft/library on 2nd floor as well as laundry room. 3rd floor bonus space with bedrooms and gallery adding an additional 985 square feet to stated interior square footage. Finished walk out lower level. Attached 2 car garage. A wonderful property.

Listing Agent: Margie Kern, 617.686.0981, margie.kern@unlimitedsir.com