With the release of the movie “Selma,” and the anniversary of the civil rights march the film depicts, Martin Luther King Jr.’s name was once again in the news. Not that King and his cause of social justice is a subject that’s ever far from headlines. But before King was at all famous, when he was simply a student, he studied at Boston University’s School of Theology, then located on Chestnut Street on Beacon Hill. Since the mid-1960s, the building has been condos, and this week a gorgeous newly renovated home there went on the market.
“It’s a nice historical reference, especially with the movie 'Selma' getting so much attention,” says the listing agent John D. Corcoran, vice president for Back Bay-based Otis & Ahearn. “But the fact that Martin Luther King studied there is more of a fun fact. It doesn’t add or detract from its value.”
Plus, it’s Boston, a city filled with history: “Much of this part of Boston has so much history on an international level that properties with historical value are common.”
In an age of celebrity, a famous name attached to a property gets a place noticed, though. Boston can’t compete with New York or Los Angeles where pop culture figures add cachet to the real estate, but, says Corcoran, “We have the Kennedys and, more recently, Tom Brady. That makes news.”
Among the red brick buildings of Beacon Hill, 27 Chestnut Street stands out architecturally. The stone building is in the Neo Gothic style, and was built around 1916 with arched windows and a commanding carved stone arch over the double door entrance—both of which echo the European ecclesiastical standard, and its original use as a theology school. The building extends to Mount Vernon Street (70/72), and has basement passageways and a private central courtyard linking all three addresses. There is also a common roof deck with views over to the Charles River.
Old and historic is one thing, but no one wants to live with cranky old plumbing: “It is an historical building and this home has the charm of an old building, but all the amenities are modern,” Corcoran assures us.
Because the building wasn’t originally designed as homes, and was more utilitarian, the condo has a spacious loft-like feel and, adds Corcoran, “It has very high ceilings and is south facing so it gets lots of sunlight.”