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Introducing Charing Cross - 55 unit condo development in Brighton, MAIGNITION Residential

Introducing Charing Cross

The Beginning Of The Next Condominium Boom?

The rebirth of the Boston condominium market has to start somewhere and one developer is convinced that it’s going to start at 1501 Commonwealth Avenue in the Brighton section of Boston.   The Brighton Partnership for Community Reinvestment, a joint venture of Diamond Sinacori and Hart Development Associates, is currently permitting a new 55-unit condominium development called Charing Cross.  In the interest of full disclosure, I am the Diamond in Diamond Sinacori.  I’m also one of the partners in IGNITION Residential, a newly launched multifamily marketing firm that will be doing the marketing for this $18 million dollar development.

Charing Cross Condos (Brighton, MA)

Charing Cross Rendering

Why is for-sale housing a good bet despite the sluggish economy and the less than robust condominium market?  The answer can be found in every previous downturn in the condominium market.  With more than 6000 rental units now in the BRA’s pipeline, Charing Cross will have little or no competition for those who want to achieve The American Dream by buying instead of renting.  More important, we believe that we’ll be on the cusp of another condominium rebound like those that have followed every major market downturn since condominiums were first developed in Boston in the early 1970’s.  But a sense of history, coupled with faith and hope, aren’t the complete predication for our confidence.  The site is spectacular, with skyline views of Boston from almost all of these hilltop units and their private outdoor spaces.  In addition, there is garage parking and access to the Green Line right outside the front door.  And, one would be remiss in failing to mention that these condominiums, mostly two-master bedroom, two master bathroom suite units are priced in the sweet spot for young professionals, couples and couples with children.

However, there is another aspect of Charing Cross that is equally remarkable and is as likely to draw a crowd to see it from the outside as it will be to draw buyers to see the views from inside it.  I refer to its architecture, an example of the English Jacobean style (thus the name Charing Cross which is the name of a vibrant section of London) that also draws from the best of upper Commonwealth Avenue’s rich architectural and historical heritage.   Indeed, before the building was ever designed, the developers travelled up and down that stretch of Commonwealth Avenue and noticed that there hadn’t been a beautiful building constructed along this world-famous thoroughfare in the past 75 years!  Was it likely that another contemporary box with sensitively placed windows would add anything to this area?  We thought not.

Charing Cross became a gleam in our eye when Boston’s Department of Neighborhood Development put out a Request for Proposals for an abandoned nursing home near the top of a hill between Warren and Washington Streets.  Given that it’s a stone’s throw away from our previous development in Brighton, The Waterworks at Chestnut Hill, we were familiar with both the area and the neighborhood groups that would be opining relative to their preferences for the site.  Ultimately, it was this neighborhood group, once responsible for convincing The Commonwealth to designate us as the developer and marketer for The Waterworks project, that rallied around our architectural vision for Charing Cross. Of no small consideration in that support was our program of bringing both market-rate and affordable homeownership opportunities to an area of Boston that was in the throes of a major renaissance, rapidly rebounding from being the repository for rental housing over the years.  In the final analysis, it was the City of Boston’s embrace of this unified developer/community response to a challenging site that resulted in our designation.

Our architect for Charing Cross is the local, but nationally recognized firm of Tise Design Associates, a firm more noted for designing cutting-edge, contemporary structures than for creating buildings that look like they were designed in 1911 instead of 2011.  Kudos to this outstanding firm for translating our vision for a building that, instead of standing out as another stark architectural example of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”, fits seamlessly into its rich historic context.   We are convinced that this signature piece of architecture will stand the test of time instead of representing the latest in architectural “fashion.”  And it will do so while incorporating the best of current environmentally sensitive technology.

IGNITION Residential, with this article, is formally embarking on the marketing program for Charing Cross.  We look forward to providing updates on every aspect of this exciting new development but, especially, the marketing program that we know will be the equal, if not superior to the award-winning marketing of The Waterworks at Chestnut Hill.

And…if you’re interested in having your name on a list to be contacted about the progress of Charing Cross, please send me a note at mdiamond@ignitionre.com.  We will definitely be offering pre-construction pricing for the first folks in line…



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About Merrill Diamond

Merrill H. Diamond is a trained architect and a founding principal of IGNITION Residential, an interdisciplinary multi-family marketing firm. He is also a founding partner of Diamond/Sinacori, a Boston-based real estate development company founded in 1978. Mr. Diamond has been the recipient of numerous local and national awards for both development and marketing. He has served as both a gubernatorial appointee to the Massachusetts Historical Commission and to the Senate Special Commission on Historic Preservation. In addition, Mr. Diamond has been named “Entrepreneur of the Year” by Arthur Young / “Venture Magazine;” “Merchant Builder of the Year” by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB), and one of “America’s Most Valuable People” by “USA Today".

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