COGnitions

1
December 2016
COMMENTS (0)Back Bay, Beacon Hill, South End

Livin' On a Prayer | By Kate Sullivan

Taking unlikely locations and turning them into residential luxuries is a trend that has been around for many years. The hit HGTV show “You Live In What?” chronicles the unusual abodes of those across the country. Recently, the conversion of churches, in particular, has been taking the country by storm. As Boston property values continue to rise, many are opting to sell their institutions in the city in favor of moving to more suburban areas or merging with other congregations in the city. According to the CoStar Group, which tracks real estate data nationwide, church sales in the United States jumped by almost 100 percent between 2010 and 2015, and the number of church redevelopment projects more than tripled during that time.

Developers often aim to keep the historic integrity of the church's structure intact, with many locations boasting beautiful vaulted ceilings and large windows. Transforming churches into condos is no new trend but it is currently appearing more and more in the Boston housing market. Check out the latest Beantown church developments below!

1. The Lucas

Located at 136 Shawmut Ave, The Lucas will transform The Holy Trinity German Church and Rectory into a boutique condo building in the New-York Streets/Ink Block sub neighborhood of the South End. Finegold Alexander Architects aim to bring contemporary elements to the building with a glass and steel structure coming from within the stone walls of the church. The 8 story building will be home to 33 residential units ranging from one to four bedroom condos, totaling 57,904 SqFt of living space throughout the building. The project will also feature 30 parking spaces in the basement level garage, which will be accessible from Shawmut Ave. Other amenities include, a concierge, a gym, a library/lounge, pet spa and direct access elevator to most units. The building is currently at 90% sold out with 30 units under agreement and only 3 units still available ranging from $3.25M to $6.75M. It is expected to be finished in the summer of 2017.

2. The Cosmopolitan

Located at 771 Harrison Avenue in the South End, between East Concord and East Newton Streets, this project will convert the Church of the Immaculate Conception into 63 rental units which will include six affordable units. Ronald Simmons, the project manager from Bodwell Pines Corporation, says the project also plans to have 25 sparking spaces in the adjacent parking garage in James Court, and also outdoor patios in the garden space. The development has been approved by the board of the Boston Planning & Development Agency but has yet to start construction. The project will keep the integrity of the exterior of the building but will add roof terraces and skylights.

3. 740 Tremont Street

What was the New Hope Baptist Church is now 6 town-house style condos. The condos offer their residents uncompromised space and luxury. Boasting the privacy of a single family home combined with the amenities of condo living. The residences provide private garden entrances to each unit and parking spaces for residents. The condos were originally listed back in 2013, with prices ranging from $2.55M to $2.99M, with average $/SqFt at right around $800, a bargain in today's market. One unit went under agreement back in 2013 for $2,700,000 but most others were pulled off the market as construction stalled. The project is inching closer to completion with residency expected in the early half of 2017. Units are currently being softly peddled off market.

4. 199 West Brookline Street

The Concord Baptist Church is currently undergoing construction to convert the historic location into nine luxury condos with 21 parking spaces. N&P Associates, the developers of the project, originally wanted to develop 21 condos in the space however faced push back from the Landmarks Commission. Because of concerns from various organizations about maintaining the integrity of the religious institution the project has been moving at a slow pace and construction is still underway at the site. The developers are working from the inside out and leaving the exterior of the building the same with the exception of the addition of skylights. The project will also build a parking garage underground for residents. A circular penthouse unit is sure to be the talk of the South End when it eventually opens for occupancy.

5. 35 Bowdoin Street

The 184 year old Church of Saint John the Evangelist and its rectory are being converted into a mix of residential and commercial space. The real estate investment firm Ad Meliora bought the church and its rectory for $4.5M in 2015. The current plan calls for the church to be converted into two condos and office space. The rectory will contain 3 to 4 condos while the church itself will house what the developers call, “two stunning luxury residences and an innovative and creative commercial office space.” Construction is expected to commence in earnest in early 2017.

6. 2 Clarendon Square

An oldie but a goodie, the condos located inside what was once the Clarendon Street Baptist Church are truly a happy ending to a tragic story. The church, built in 1868, was burned to the ground in 1982, leaving very little of the building behind. It wasn’t until 1990 that the historic church was reconceived by Finegold Alexander Architects. The company successfully respected the integrity of the old structure while giving the building a contemporary image. The building now houses 60 condos spread across the 7 floors, ranging from studio to two bedroom units. The building also provides residents with 13 indoor parking spaces. The units have been selling from $400,000 to around $1.5M since they were first listed in 2006.

7. The Church Court Condominiums

This project, located in the heart of Back Bay, at 492 Beacon Street, was completed back in 1983 under the architectural direction of Graham Gund. It was then, and still is a cornerstone in church redevelopments in Boston.  What used to be Mount Vernon Congregational Church is now 38 luxury condos. The condos boast 24-hour concierge services, security elevator, garage parking, breathtaking city and river views, common roof deck and courtyard. One of the more unique features of this redevelopment is the courtyard, filled with medieval touches, and designed by landscape architect Caron Johnson. Most recently units have sold from $1.15M to $2.65M.