Ten years ago, the South End’s burgeoning restaurant and arts scenes sealed the neighborhood’s position as Boston’s most coveted neighborhood. However, the South Boston Waterfront developments alluring promise of water views and modernism stole the grande dame’s thunder, as it became The Neighborhood to live in, and to hang out in. But the classics never die, and the South End’s elegant Victorian brownstones and mature shade-giving tree-lined streets are seeing a revival among developers and indie business owners.
Next year, two massive mixed-use buildings are due to open: Ink Block, on the old Boston Herald site, brings 475 homes and a Whole Foods Market; and Troy Boston on Traveler Street adds 416 apartments and more retail. Previously, Troy Boston co-developers Gerding Edlen had only worked in Fort Point.
“We are drawn to neighborhoods that have a vital arts and culture community,” says Kelly Saito, president of Gerding Edlen. “The appeal in the South End is the opportunity to provide something new and exciting in a previously underutilized corner of an established desirable neighborhood.”
Last winter, The Chevron opened on Tremont Street on the site of The Olde Dutch Cottage Candy and Antiques store. The Chevron condo's sold in the $3 to $3.5 million dollar range.
“We could have sold another 20-30 units if we had them,” says developer Peter Georgantas, head of PEG Properties & Design. “The demand was that strong. There are five residential and two commercial units. All of the units sold prior to the building breaking ground.”
Roosters Men's Grooming Center, a classic barbershop, sits in one of the ground floor retail spaces: “Boston has so many vibrant and diverse neighborhoods that were each great options for our first Roosters,” says owner Tyson White. “I chose the South End for many of the reasons my wife and I love living here: the neighborhood has really emerged as a booming restaurant, boutique, and arts destination over the past few years and I wanted Roosters to be a part of it and compliment that energy. Also, with Ink Block opening, I saw that there would be a great need for more retail in the area.”
South End charm
“I have lived and worked in the South End since the mid '90s,” says Georgantas. “There have been a lot of positive changes in the past 20 years without the neighborhood really losing its character. Much of the crime and abandoned buildings are a thing of the past, but the neighborhood retained its historic, urban characteristics that make it the most sought after neighborhood in the city.”