The Leather District is the antithesis of Brahmin Back Bay living. It comprises the renovated remnants of Boston's once-fruitful manufacturing past, namely leatherworking and shoemaking in this part. After the area's post-Great Depression decline, the L.D. slowly became a place of cheap rents, often in illegal apartments, and bohemia became its lifeblood.
"Many of the buildings have been restored and renovated over the past 15 years," says Chad James Lingle of Artisan Properties, the company handling the rental of two apartments on Beach Street. "This has brought a strong residential component to the area, with luxurious loft-style condominiums now hiding behind the 1880s facades."
One of Lingle's vacant apartments is a one-bedroom that was renovated in 2004. Lovely maple floors and magnificent industrial-era windows work with open-plan, movable sliding partitions to create smaller private spaces. Lingle doesn't expect it to stay vacant long.
"There's lots of demand and very little supply," he says. "What was once just storage spaces, relatively cheap office units and quasi-permissible loft apartments has transformed itself into a true urban village."
Nightlife has boomed courtesy of District and Splash. Dining includes French stalwart Les Zygomates, nationally lauded sushi haven O-ya and Italian eatery Sorriso. Plus, Chinatown is right down the street.
"Things are much quieter over the weekends, and on Sunday the L.D. rests," says Lingle. "Everyone closes their doors and the denizens of the neighborhood shut down for a day of pause and puritanical reflection. After all ... this is Boston."
111 Beach St., Unit 4F, Boston
A one-bed, one-bath apartment with 1,070 square feet of open living space boasts 11-foot beam ceilings and exposed brick walls. The bathroom has a Jacuzzi tub, and the kitchen offers granite counters and maple cabinetry -- all for $2,900 per month. Contact Artisan Properties' Chad James Lingle at 617-206-4777 or www.artisanproperties.com.