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3 Reasons To Love Brighton and Why It's a Coming Hot Spot in Boston

3 Reasons To Love Brighton

And Why I Think It’s A Coming Hot Spot

Brighton, MA - The next hot spot in Boston?Brighton, you say?  Brighton?  Isn’t that where all the students live, piled in on top of each other and partying at all hours of the night?  Isn’t that the place where the elderly and just about everyone else complains about the partying?  And just where is it, anyway?  Isn’t it just a stretch of Commonwealth Avenue and a few back streets on either side of it?

Think again, my friend, because Brighton is about to become Boston’s next hot spot, following closely on the heels of the newly developing Boston Waterfront – except that it’s more accessible.  And before you suggest that I seek professional help, let me tell you a few of the reasons why I love Brighton.

1. The Location

Is there any other part of Boston that is more accessible to downtown Boston than Brighton?  Sure, there are sections of Jamaica Plain that offer access to the downtown, but they are along streets that were built for far less traffic and now, more often than not, these streets are clogged with cars in both directions.  Brighton offers a straight shot by T or car to either downtown Boston or to points west.  But that aspect of Brighton alone would hardly make it, in my opinion, the next coming hot spot.  The geography is an anomaly, featuring both flat sections and lofty hills that offer views of downtown Boston and beyond.  It’s an area that is urban in some sections, very “streetcar suburban” in others and, believe it or not, absolutely bucolic in others.  In the latter instance, in addition to Ringer Park and other natural and man-made oases, there is the Chestnut Hill Reservoir, one of Boston’s most revered man-made landscapes (Frederick Law Olmsted, in this case).  Recently, it became the setting of The Waterworks at Chestnut Hill, a 112 unit condominium complex that, along with an on-site museum, preserves the historic pumping stations that once use this water source to serve a burgeoning metropolis in the late 19th century.  Now, along with the new Watermark building that is also part of this complex, Brighton has a raft of new residents who will look to Brighton’s Cleveland Circle and other parts of Brighton to serve their needs.  With the coming addition of Charing Cross at 1501 Commonwealth Avenue, a 55 unit condominium building designed to fit seamlessly with the best of Commonwealth Avenue’s historic fabric, there will be even more homeowners who are vested in the future of Brighton.  While it’s a relatively short walk to the commercial amenities of its tonier (and more expensive) neighbor, the Town of Brookline, you can get anything you want or need in Brighton’s rapidly expanding and improving commercial areas.

2. The Affordability

It’s easily the most affordable part of Boston that isn’t burdened by insufficient transportation to either downtown Boston or the highways leading westward.  If the prices of Back Bay, the South End, the Waterfront and nearby Brookline are beyond where you want to be, you can likely find something within your price range in Brighton.   Rents have remained reasonable compared to other parts of Boston and prices for condominiums offer a full palette of financial choices ranging from $250 psf to over $600 psf, with lots of availability in between.  Plus, you won’t be limited to a particular housing type as your choices will include large, pre-war apartments in multifamily buildings, smaller venues that house one, two or three residences, and row houses along upper Commonwealth Avenue that will remind you of certain sections of London.  Brighton has been a haven for renters for many years, but that’s all about to change.  With the creation of The Waterworks at Chestnut Hill and, shortly, Charing Cross (speaking of London), Brighton is inevitably going to transition into a community of homeowners.  I foresee many existing apartment buildings that haven’t been converted to condominiums during the previous upturns in the real estate market moving in that direction during the next upturn.

3. The People

Brighton is filled with all kinds of people.  Yes, there are students, but they give the place a certain vitality that is present whenever there are young people around.  You have to be a grouch to not look at them and remember back, usually fondly, to when you were their age and life was almost entirely ahead of you.  And yes, there are, in fact, old people, but they give the place a certain perspective, almost a counterpoint to the everlasting life that exudes from the students.  However, aside from these two groups that are on the fringes of the Brighton population, there are the many other kinds of people who populate Brighton, people who take the Green Line to work in downtown Boston or head out to suburban office parks every Monday through Friday.  There are also the merchants who own and operate the shops, stores and restaurants that dot the area, seemingly more each year.  And, lest they be forgotten, there are the community-minded folks (my friend, Eva Webster, springs to mind) who are more than slightly vested in the welfare of Brighton, keeping a watchful eye on the City of Boston and neighboring Brookline and Newton to ensure that Brighton doesn’t get lost in the political shuffle.  One might even say that the diversity of Brighton, as opposed to most other neighborhoods of Boston, makes it one of the most All-American of Boston’s communities.  There are young people and old people, rich people and poor people, renters and homeowners, activists and shy-er types who benefit from the former…just like the USA itself.  I mean, I love Back Bay and the Waterfront, but Brighton is more like the South End.  It’s a real neighborhood with real people…and it’s about to be recognized as such as developers look to create even more diversity in this vital extension of the City of Boston.

Yes, I love Brighton and look forward to continuing to participate in its evolution as Boston’s next hot neighborhood.

Do you agree? Disagree?  Comment below!



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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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