Somerville developers order up ‘super-size’ condos
Faced with a growing supply of Boston-area condominiums that are 1,500 square feet or smaller, developers Ed Champy and Kieran McAllen see an opportunity in thinking big.
As partners in the Somerville-based Waypoint Development LLC, they are creating condos that are 2,000 square feet or larger; in addition to smaller one- and two-bedroom condos.
These larger condos have the amenities of suburban single-family living – formal dining rooms, third bedrooms, media rooms, home offices and two-car garages. At $600,000 to almost $1 million, the condos also have suburban single-family price tags. But these condos are in the heart of the multifamily condo conversion market – Somerville.
"There’s a lot of product out there in the high-end, three-family rehab in the $425,000 to $550,000 range,” Champy said of the Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Arlington markets. Waypoint is turning a Davis Square house into two, 2,400-square-foot condos with full basements and parking for two cars each.
"It’s a house, essentially,” said Champy. The condominiums will be priced in the $850,000 to $950,000 range with three bedrooms each – a master bedroom, bath and nursery or media room on the second floor, and two bedrooms and a bathroom on the third floor.
The first floor of each condo will have a living room with fireplace, bathroom, kitchen with a separate eating area, and a formal dining room.
"Formal dining rooms aren’t common, but with 2,500 square feet, you have the room to do it. Those places are built for a couple. They can have kids, but some who want to be entertaining, they have the space to do it,” said Champy.
That price range is a viable market in cities neighboring Boston, said Bill Phillips, the agent with Re/Max Waterfront, Ltd. In Boston, who is selling the Davis Square units.
When you have individuals that want to be near the city, but not in the city, and have more room, some niceties – that niche is a very good niche,” said Phillips. “People like space and it’s hard to come by.”
Zoning also plays a role, limiting the developers to two units in the Davis Square project.
The redevelopment of the Davis Square house into three-story condominiums follows the developers’ completion last summer of six condominiums near Winter Hill in Somerville. The four-level units have 1,650 square feet of living space, plus a full basement and two-car garage. The two-bedroom units, priced in the mid-$600,000 range, have a private yard and a home office. The high-end condos include a gas fireplace, cherrywood floors and kitchen cabinets, stainless steel Viking appliances, and craftsman-style woodwork.
"They’re not the highest profit-margin property to build, but they’re the ones you look back and you’re glad you built,” said Champy.