New South End building would have rooms where residents could cook and do laundry togther

Architect's rendering of 217 Albany St.

Architect's rendering.

At a meeting of the Boston Civic Design Commission on Tuesday, National Development will show off its latest plans for an Albany Street apartment tower aimed at carless, tech-savvy Millennials willing to accept 500-square-foot studios in exchange for life in the most happening part of the South End, with a full-time activities director and with a large communal kitchen in case they don't want to use their apartment kitchens so they can hang out with their neighbors while waiting for their clothes to dry in the building laundry room, after a hard day of knocking off a proposal or two in the building's co-working space.

National Development touts the idea of a 14-story building at Albany and Herald streets chock full of fully furnished studios, or what it calls "micro-units, " as nothing less than a new kind of housing unit in Boston, as long as you don't count all the existing buildings in other neighborhoods that are full of studios and have laundry rooms and Internet and cable hookups:

Micro-units are a new residential typology, reflecting the evolving desires of a new generation of residents who desire a sustainable lifestyle with small personal living areas and access to common amenity spaces and the vibrant urban neighborhoods around them. The proposed residential units will be “Move-In Ready” with multifunctional furniture, as well as premium Wi-Fi and television connections. Another unique experience provided by this residential concept includes having live-in community manager to organize regular social events for residents in the building.

As part of the new typology, residents of the 250-unit building would also get housekeeping services, a fitness room and a rooftop deck.

The building would have some larger units, including some with four bedrooms, for people who have kids or just need more room, but in its design-commission presentation, National Development says most of its tenants will be young single people just starting on their careers, who are "focused on sustainable living" and "intent on living in the city," ideally near a grocery store, and who seek both privacy and "social interaction." Also, they will be "physically active" and going to do most of their shopping online.

217 Albany would have no parking spaces at all - and room for just 125 bicycles. In its filings, the company notes the nearby presence of the Silver Line, the Broadway Red Line stop and ZipCar rental stations. Plus, the building's residents would know how to punch up an Uber or Lyft ride.

The company hopes to begin construction in mid-2019, with construction expected to take 20 months.

The design-commission meeting, which will also include looks at several other development proposals in the city, begins at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday in Room 900 in City Hall.

Design Commission presentation (44M PDF).

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So...

By on

$3000/month college dorms, basically?

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Voting is closed. 12

When I first read about this, yeah, that's what I thought

By on

But all the units have their own kitchens, so I'm not sure how this is really the "co-living" the developer is talking about - you can use the communal kitchen, but you don't have to (same with, well, the restrooms).

And as I was schooled a couple weeks back when I wrote about "micro units," 500 square feet isn't really all that small for a Boston studio - unless you're comparing it to the units in the new luxury buildings that have gone up over the past few years.

Basically, they're offering furnished apartments with some extra amenities, which is cool, and they probably will rent for a bit less than units in, say, the Ink Block. But there's hardly anything revolutionary about studios - ask anybody who's ever lived along Comm. Ave. in Allston/Brighton or in the Fenway.

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Voting is closed. 36

500 square feet isn't small

Most dorm rooms are under 200 square feet and shared with another human or two or three.

500 square feet is roomy enough for a separate bedroom space, a compact kitchen, an eating space and a living room. Plenty of room, really.

I own a 1br condo in another city that is about that size and it is entirely comfy for a single person - and manageable, too.

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Voting is closed. 21

I don't know seems like

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I don't know seems like taking co-working, already fadish, and doubling down hard.

I get it, Boston square foots is insane. But this is way more intimacy with my neighbors than I an looking for.

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Voting is closed. 26

Not every home in the city is

By on

Not every home in the city is going to appeal to you. They only need about 250 people citywide to like the idea.

I also think they're silly, to be honest-- not because they're close-packed or because there are common areas, but because they insist on trying to make them so goddamn fancy. I mean, why do they have to include furniture and housekeeping? (Besides, who needs housekeeping in a studio? I had a 320-square-foot apartment and it took five minutes to clean the whole place.)

Boston does need more studios though. I wish they'd stop calling them "micro-units" and just call them small apartments. It's what they are.

(People keep saying Boston needs more 3BR units for families with kids... but most of the 3BRs are taken up by singles with roommates. If you could siphon the singles out to studios...)

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Voting is closed. 41

Intimacy with neighbors

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Triple deckers nearly side by side you hear all of your neighbors sneeze the families above footsteps and the family below smell from the bean pot. How more intimate can you get.

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Voting is closed. 31

Questions

1. when did you get your first car? Being car free raises the amount you can pay for rent.

2. What are you saying is a luxury here?

3. how many hours a week did you work in your first job?

All of these things are a factor in how worthwhile the rent in one of these places is.

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Voting is closed. 14

I will answer with two more questions

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1. What is the average salary of a college grad (or better yet, median) right after graduation?

2. What will the rent be on these units?

I bet the rent will be a fair bit more than what one should be able to afford fresh out of college.

Most people in the Boston area just starting out live with a few roommates in places without housekeeping included. Just saying.

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Voting is closed. 48

Some simple math

New Graduate A and New Graduate B both net $2500 a month from their jobs.

A does not have a car.

B has a car that costs $100 a month insurance, $150 in fuel and repairs (needs something fairly big every year) and a $300/month car payment.

Who will be more able to spend some extra money to live closer to work?

Keep in mind that this location is in easy biking and walking distance of tens of thousands of jobs.

As for your question 2, I'm not sure what the rent on these places will be, regarding question 1, I do know that the $2500 is a fairly low figure for what young people net when they work in the city. My son is looking at $60K for a communications job in Fort Point - tech jobs pay even more and people move around a lot to boost their pay rate. My son was looking at $50K outside the city for a publishing job. My younger guy is likely to pull down as much as $80K as a top of class CivE with an engineering degree in a couple of years if he works in the private sector. The average starting salary for 2016 engineering grads was $65,500.

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Voting is closed. 45

That’s nice

By on

Now tell us, oh wise one, how will A or B be able to afford a fancy $3000/mont college dorm on their $2500/month takehome pay?

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Voting is closed. 11

Not a dorm - not even close

Just because it doesn't look like the basement you are in doesn't make it a dorm.

And I didn't say that this was for people just starting out. You would know that if you read what I posted. The math obviously doesn't work there.

Somebody else brought up "just starting out" - and this is clearly not for people "just starting out" unless they clear $100,000 a year. That would be very rare. They would have to have minimal college loans.

I was asked about typical starting salaries. I provided that information.

Now run along and get yourself a user name.

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Voting is closed. 18

Most of your math would be solid

By on

Excepting that I'd be willing to bet that even adjusted for inflation, someone making $80,000 won't be able to afford a unit in this place when it comes online, let alone the poor kid scraping by on $65,500. Of course, there are a lot of other majors that won't be commanding that kind of salary. Since one should not be spending more than 1/3 of one's salary on rent, that's about $1800 a month for the class of 2016 engineer.

Again, for someone just starting out, a unit with housekeeping included is a pipe dream. Of course, if those Air BnB regulations fall through, there might be another market for the units.

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Voting is closed. 20

So part of the problem as I

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So part of the problem as I see it is people trying to make it sound like anyone making less than 100k is somehow poor. I am pushing 40 and bring in about 60k a year. Until a few years ago that was fine! Now all of sudden real estate people look at me like I am poor. I am average... average! I am not poor. I am single income at 60K and that is OK except that it is not and people in bubbles, even those well meaning people, seem to forget that part of the equation.

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Voting is closed. 36

Agreed

This clearly is NOT for people just starting out unless they are on offer for $1500 a month.

Another market for these units is corporate rotations. A number of tech companies rotate people in and out for training and could easily hold a year lease on several units.

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Voting is closed. 23

If I were making car payments

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If I were making car payments, I'd damn well better not be paying for any repairs or the car would go back. Scheduled maintenance yes, but no repairs.

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Voting is closed. 15

Seriously?

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People take loans on used cars all the time.

That, and there is this thing called maintenance. You might want to look into doing maintenance. It costs money - brakes cost money,. tires cost money, etc.

Where is this magic planet where you don't go through oil, brakes, tires, fluids, etc?

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Voting is closed. 31

Erm, I'm not sure if you

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Erm, I'm not sure if you actually have experience owning a new car, but usually you're making payments on it for a lot longer than the warranty lasts for. And even while it's under warranty, there will be occasional repair costs. In the year plus I've owned it, my car has been hit multiple times while parked on the street, and been involved in one fender bender. I also had one tire blow out. Those costs haven't added up to anywhere near $150 a month, but I'm talking about a new car.

A used car is a whole other story. I'd say $150/month is if anything a lowball estimate for repair costs. And even a used car that only costs $5000 is out of reach of many people without a loan. Granted, payments on a loan for a used car probably wouldn't be anywhere near $300 a month.

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Voting is closed. 16

My first car cost $500.

By on

I still couldn't afford an apartment in even Somerville until many many years later.

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Voting is closed. 25

Are you

By on

Mocking the housing, the peolple who live there or just the marketing? Little hard to tell who or what you’re upset with?

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Voting is closed. 36

Marketing!

By on

I mean, it's 250 more apartments in a fast-growing city, yay! In an area that can easily support more density, more yay!

But nothing about what they're proposing is really new, except maybe the parts about housekeeping and the cruise-director position. Studios? Check. In-building laundry? Check. Roof deck? Check. Lounges? Check. Etc., etc.

But "furnished apartments with amenities" sounds boring compared to "new residential typology," I guess.

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Voting is closed. 18

Calm down. There are plenty

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Calm down. There are plenty of other things in life to get you down but this shouldn’t mean anything to your feelings. Relax and try to enjoy the weekend

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Voting is closed. 17

This may be hard for you to understand, but ...

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I have not spent all day stewing about this, so don't worry, I will enjoy this weekend, and not spend most of it worrying about excessive marketing. I hope you can do the same in regards to what I post here.

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Voting is closed. 45

ok

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i agree. the marketing is ridiculous. (marketing is pretty much always ridiculous, it's sales!)

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Voting is closed. 32

Is typology even a word?

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And if it is a word, wouldn't it mean the "study of types?"

A new residential topology would be interesting. I'm not big on density but I'd be curious to see what a four-dimensional apartment building would look like.

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Voting is closed. 38

If you work in the city and

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If you work in the city and prefer a commute shorter than what it would be living with your parents in the 'burbs then may as well give it a try. Knock yourself out, millenials.

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Voting is closed. 23

Sounds like

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a glorified halfway house. The carless part is funny. Is that developers new buzzword for transit oriented?

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Voting is closed. 30

Because

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Not everyone's parents subsidize their flavor of urban living, and we need cheaper housing, and we need to get rid of traffic, and that means that we need more housing near transit.

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Voting is closed. 24

Not having any parking seems

By on

Not having any parking seems like a problem; they should have some for people with mobility impairments.

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Voting is closed. 32

eh...

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Some parking for people with mobility impairments but not so impaired that the person can't operate a vehicle, but also have enough money to afford the vehicle and the ~$50,000 price tag of the parking space.

We've got the RIDE. If the RIDE isn't good enough -- argue to fix that, not to carve out parking spaces for a sliver of the population that can get an HP tag and park curbside day and night already.

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Voting is closed. 33

Communal kitchens are a fun

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Communal kitchens are a fun idea but actually kind of difficult to manage in practice when you have a group of people who are lot living together in intentional community. They can quickly become a commons failure...

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Voting is closed. 26

That's probably true, Tim Mc.

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Many communal living places, as well as co-ops, which developed during the 1960's and the 1970's fell apart. The most common disputes that resulted in the destruction of many communal and co-optal living arrangements, including communal kitchens were disputes over what type(s) of food went into the refrigerator and/or the pantries, as well as the food that was cooked and eaten in those places..

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Voting is closed. 13

If people aren't co-purchasing food

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and cooking weekly communal meals, that won't be a major stressor.

I'm thinking more like "the sink is too full of dirty dishes for me to wash mine" and "the refrigerator is disgusting" and "who scratched my delicate Teflon pan?"

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Voting is closed. 27

"Communal Kitchen"

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I think it is more like "lets cook a big meal in a real kitchen" once in a while. Or,maybe, "I want to have a dinner party so I'm signing up for the big kitchen that has two ovens and two dishwashers"

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Voting is closed. 27

I am sure this will be a huge

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I am sure this will be a huge hit as New Englanders are so personable and enjoy small talk with random people in their building. Not...

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Voting is closed. 22

New Englanders?

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Going to be a mix of people arriving for jobs and people who went to school here but aren't necessarily from here.

The whole random small talk is considered a life skill now.

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Voting is closed. 26