For sale: Huge penthouse, nearly triple the price of the most expensive condominium ever sold in Boston, sure to become the city’s most exclusive address in its tallest residential building.
The 60th-story luxury unit comes with floor-to-ceiling windows and an outdoor terrace looking across Boston Common to the gentle bends of the Charles River. For potential buyers struggling to imagine the view, developers dispatched a drone up 625 feet to take photos of the surrounding cityscape.
The penthouse in Millennium Tower Boston just went on the market for $37.5 million, among the priciest properties in the state. Due to open in summer 2016, the 625-foot skyscraper will be the first ultra luxury high-rise to be constructed amid a building boom that is attracting an influx of wealthy international buyers and billions of dollars of investment.
“It’s jaw-dropping,” said Debra Blair, president of LINK, a real estate firm that tracks the downtown condo market. “This is a building that could be in Dubai or Shanghai or Manhattan, and completely hold its own.”
On Wednesday, developer Millennium Partners opened a sales center on Franklin Street to begin marketing the 442 condominiums in the building, which is situated on the former Filene’s block in a rejuvenated part of Boston’s downtown. Prices for its condominiums — a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom units — range from $850,000 to the $37.5 million penthouse.
Potential buyers who visit the sales center are whisked past a 3D model of the city into a dimly lit room that plays “Millennium Tower, the Movie.” A super high definition screen shows the lap pool, the massage and fitness rooms, and the face of the Michelin-star chef whose food is served only to residents.
“When someone comes into this room, they tend to just want to hang out for a while,” Richard Baumert, an executive with developer Millennium Partners.
As he spoke, an image of the tower rotated across the screen, showing a 360-degree view of its glass facade. In one corner of the room, a gas fireplace let off a subtle glow. In another, a model kitchen displayed high-gloss Poggenpohl cabinets and a 30-inch wine cooler.
All of it will cater to a wealthy clientele accustomed to pampering. Residents will also have access to Flex One fitness, a customized personal training program.
“It’s really three pillars: mind, body, and nutrition,” Baumert said. “There’s access to trainers, massage therapists, nutritionists, yoga, pilates — all those different activities if you like.”
Designed by Handel Architects, the skyscraper includes a private bar and club room where residents can order the finest offerings of chef Michael Mina, a James Beard winner who has restaurants from Miami to San Francisco. Although a public restaurant may also open on the property, Mina is committed only to providing the private dining service for condo owners.
The tower has two separate entrances, one for residents on the lower half of the building and another for those who buy units on the top floors. All owners will have access to valet parking, 24-hour concierge service, and the building’s fitness and nutrition services.
Retail space is planned for the first two levels, and a new public plaza and outdoor amphitheater will be constructed at the corner of Washington and Franklin streets. Next door, the newly restored Filene’s building will get a new Roche Bros. supermarket in the spring and a Primark department store next fall. Several floors of new offices in the building have already been filled by the advertising firm Arnold Worldwide.
So far, sales of condominiums in the new tower are proceeding briskly, according to Baumert. He said 150 units have already been sold through marketing to residents of other Millennium Partners buildings in Boston and other cities. Some of the penthouses have sold for over $9 million.
If it achieves the $37.5 million offering price, the 60th-floor unit, at 12,846 square feet, would sell for more than $2,900 per square foot. That is significantly higher than the city’s historical peak price of about $2,500 per square foot, real estate specialists say.
It would also nearly triple the largest condominium transaction this year, a $13 million sale of a penthouse at 96 Beacon St. in the Back Bay, according to the real estate research firm Zillow. A unit at the Mandarin Oriental building on Boylston Street sold for $13.2 million in 2011.
The most expensive current real estate listing in Massachusetts is a 75-acre waterfront estate in Nantucket being offered for $35 million, according to Zillow.
Both on the skyline and in the condominium market, Millennium Tower will become a new center of gravity in the city. It will contain more units than any single condominium building in Boston and will bring a new level of height to Downtown Crossing.
Millennium Partners has invested heavily in the redevelopment of the once faded retail mecca, which in recent years has attracted a new mix of stores, restaurants, and luxury homes. Millennium built the Ritz-Carlton Hotel & Towers on a once seedy edge of Chinatown, and it recently finished construction of the Millennium Place condominium building across from the Ritz on Washington Street.
Real estate specialists said the company’s new tower is hitting the market at the best possible time. Only 251 condominiums are available for sale in full-service buildings in the downtown area, an all-time low, according to LINK, the real estate information service.
“The wind is at their back,” said Blair, the firm’s president. In addition to local residents, she said, luxury units in Boston and other US cities have become a popular investment for international buyers looking for a place to store their cash.
With real estate prices rising, Boston is seen as a safe haven for those buyers, as well as an increasingly attractive place to own a slice of the skyline.
“What we’re seeing in the city is not anything we would have dreamed of 25 years ago,” said Mark Lippolt, a senior vice president with Hammond Residential Real Estate. “Right next to where they’re building [Millennium Tower], there used to be a Woolworth’s. That one image to me speaks volumes about how the market here has changed.”