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Littlest Bar could be forced to move again to make way for another luxury residential building

Broad Street project old and new views

Current and proposed. See larger.

Developers have submitted plans to the BRA for a 12-story condo building on Broad Street that would completely demolish the building the Times pub is now in and turn the historic Bulfinch building that houses the Littlest Bar into a lobby for the new building and some residential units.

The Littlest Bar moved to 102 Broad St. after its longtime tiny space on Province Street was taken over by the 45 Province luxury project next door.

Developers Dennis Kanin and David Goldman say they will restore the Bulfinch building, erected around 1805, to something more closely resembling its original look and that they would mount lobby displays for visitors to learn more about the building and the other nearby warehouses Bulfinch also designed.

The Times building, which went up around 1905, has no historic value, they say, and so can be simply torn down to make way for a 12-floor modern structure with a mix of 1-, 2- and 3-bedroom units - 52 in all when combined with the units in the Bulfinch building - a 35-space "underground automated parking structure," and storage space for 52 bicycles. The new building would also have room for a first-floor cafe with an outdoor patio.

The developers add:

The proposed design represents the vocabulary of the area - punched windows, glazed bays, balconies, and a transparent ground floor for commerical/café use. The building will have a varied window pattern to distinguish its contemporary design and enhance its residential character. The design will preserve the view corridors along Broad, Wells and India streets to the waterfront.

Complete project notification form (55M PDF).

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Comments

We're getting ANOTHER "luxury" condo building? Another one? really? You don't say...

I have a better idea. Let's just level the entire city and build one huge Luxury Condo building. That will solve everything. Why waste time building small buildings when we can just level everything and build large ones over entire neighborhoods. Perfect!

Oh wait, isn't that what happened to the West End?

(extreme /s here folks..)

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This building is in the Financial District, not in any existing residential neighborhood, so I don't understand your comparison. (No /s here.)

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For Folio. And Broadluxe. And the corporate apartments at 101 Broad. Or the units above Barney Fannings at 99 Broad.

Or the 2 giant towers across the Greenway from the back patios of the bars in question.

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More residents, more action to the greenway, the horror. Let's just leave it as a 4 story building with only street level activity. Much better for the city.

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I don't understand what people expect when they make comments like this. The building it's new. It's downtown. By definition that's already luxury. Best location & newest building stock, the rest is just frills.

More luxury housing downtown can help slow/stop the ridiculous price inflation in other neighborhoods. It's stupid that the 2nd floor of a 100 year old multifamily house is selling for $600k+ in many neighborhoods. If the people that are blowing that kind of cash on old houses in outer neighborhoods had more options in better locations, then they could buy their instead and leave the more reasonable housing stock for the rest of us.

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NO. NO. 1,000 times NO.

This city is full of shitty, trendy, overpriced, and/or cookie cutter bars, and the Littlest is one of the rare gems that avoids all of that.

And for what? The LAST thing we need in this city? There's a metric fuckton of unsold/unrented luxury inventory around town, why the hell would anyone need more? On top of that, half of what DOES sell or rent is to foreign investors. I get that we're a major city and all, but world-class is NOT giving local residents and establishments the middle finger so the rest of the world's rich can have a sweet "just for the hell of it" pad.

This is an absolute joke and at the forefront of everything wrong with this city.

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Hey, as long as there are too many NIMBY types in expensive residential neighborhoods that don't want their little shred of ambient light compromised by high rises, decent areas will continue to be compromised by new luxury developments.

Hell, I'd be far happier if Northeastern were to invest in more dorms so much of the Fenway rental market could be freed up--or I should say, I wish all of the area schools would invest more in on and off campus living so the average renter wasn't competing against parents' checkbooks from Long Island, but I digress. Then again, I'm probably just bitter that the rent in the Fenway went up nearly double over a 6 year stretch and priced me out (I'm one of those weirdos that likes to travel and do other things with extra income instead of putting more toward my shoebox apartment). At the very least, build something to keep students out of Jeffries Point. D:

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Hey, as long as there are too many NIMBY types in expensive residential neighborhoods that don't want their little shred of ambient light compromised by high rises, decent areas will continue to be compromised by new luxury developments.

Like West Roxbury, JP, HP, Rozzie and all those other swaths of Boston with all those single family houses?

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There is no downtown "luxury" inventory in town. Also, there is very little foreign investment in Boston, when compared to other major US cities.

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Okay, thanks. I understand now. Sorry, I'm new.

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I find this post very funny. Thanks, John.

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If there's that many unsold u rented expensive places then either the prices will come down or the developers will go bankrupt. So that's good right?

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315 on A was offering a few months of free rent because they're having a hard time filling. And this: http://m.bizjournals.com/boston/real_estate/2014/08/for-some-luxury-apar...

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And the deals are now just on the higher end models or ones that are tough to fill 6th floor staring straight at a construction site).

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I'd love to see the stats before that offer. Also, see the above article.

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Since just about when they opened. The article was from august, in June/July, they were about 75% leased, 60% occupied (a lot of Sept lease starts).

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I'll concede this one. But citywide, not so much.

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It's just as cookie-cutter as all the rest. It was just built 5-6 years ago, it's not like it has history or character. If's a fake Irish bar just like a lot of others in that area.

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They have the best Guinness pour in town, much of the staff is FROM Ireland, they have a traditional Irish band come in and play every Saturday night (admittedly followed by a shitty DJ), and the food is fantastic as pub fare goes. Better than McGreevy's, anything attached to Faneuil Hall, Barney Fannings, etc.

The bar actually dates back to the 40's, and moved to this location in '08...after being pushed out by luxury housing.

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The ambiance of the old place is gone, as is Hector the Protector.These bars you mention were all new guys on the block as well.When I think of Guinness, I think of Fields Corner. That place had ambiance my man. And most of the customers were from Ireland, Sláinte

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You're quite wrong about the inventory of units for sale in the city. The fact is it's at historic lows in Boston. Demand far outstrips supply, which is what is driving the prices into the stratosphere. Developers can't get buildings up fast enough. Millennium Tower will sell out in the first half of this year at unprecedented price points. More units are good for home buyers, which is good for the city.

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seriously, you just said everything I feel about the direction Boston is going in...

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1. Anyone notice that The Littlest Bar and the Times are actually one big bar? The Littlest has not been the same since it left the Province Steps. Still good. Not the same. The Times? Good, but please bring back the Ayers Rock crew of 94-97. Remember, the Brattle Book store has moved, The Bell and Hammered has moved a few times. Everybody is still breathing.

2. This is essentially a repeat of what happened in 2004 with Folio Boston at 80 Broad Street. The Sultan's Kitchen building (another Bulfinch Building) was saved and an underutilized site was given more housing. More housing = Good for downtown overall.

3. LUXURY HOUSING? Yes! What else are you going to call it, AVERAGE HOUSING? It is only a moniker that is used to sell things. That's it. Everyone keep your knickers straight, it is called marketing. It will be the same thin walls, marble countertops, and kitchen smells that you would get in a new building in Manchester, NH.

4. This will be better for the Greenway and its promise. Does anyone want to keep an open parking lot instead with really past its prime office space? How about a mid size building which respects the park and its surroundings?

5. If you don't like this whole housing thing on this site, pony up your own cash, buy the site, and Sturbridgize it.

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We'd like to call it affordable housing.

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Is where you are living if you think you will ever be able to call new construction in the downtown area of a major city affordable housing (that is not subsidized). If this was in Pittsburgh you still wouldn't be able to call it affordable housing.

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3. LUXURY HOUSING? Yes! What else are you going to call it, AVERAGE HOUSING? It is only a moniker that is used to sell things. That's it. Everyone keep your knickers straight, it is called marketing. It will be the same thin walls, marble countertops, and kitchen smells that you would get in a new building in Manchester, NH.

Yes you do have a point here.

Every time I hear "luxury condo" it makes me think of a place my mom lived briefly in when I was a kid. The complex (one of three in town) was marketed as "Luxury" apartments. When in reality they weren't really "luxury" at all, just 'newer' construction than most of the rentals around town. To be honest, it looked like 1972 threw up inside (they were built in the 70s). Ya it was pretty dated even for 1989 to be called "luxury", but it was newer construction inside a complex. so it was "luxury".

Maybe "luxury" just means "newer" and in about 30 years they'll become the slums like the "luxury" apartments did in my hometown (yes they are that bad now)

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Yes, I agree. Some of the new construction in the city will end up the same way - much like Charles River Park was called "luxury".

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I can at least afford a pint at The Littlest Bar. This makes me very sad... And thirsty... Best pour if Guinness in Boston IMHO

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The BRA does have a percentage for calculating the number of units (which right now I can't remember, arrgh).

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It's 13-15%. Of course, "affordable" means within set guidelines, not affordable as in "low-income".

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The developer pays into the fund to build the affordable housing "elsewhere"

I don't remember how it works, but remember reading that the fund isn't really used.

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If one is under the "affordable" housing income limit, it might make sense to live elsewhere, as nothing else in the neighborhood would be considered "affordable". Parking, food, restaurants, etc are all geared towards those who are paying market rate for residences in the heart of a major city. If those funds were used to build truly affordable unit in other areas of the city, it might make more sense.

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who can't afford "luxury" should go? And it's not about the neighborhood, it's about the fact that all we see here are "luxury" apartments at astronomical rates. You literally have to enter a lottery to have any shot at affordable city living, and that is a problem.

Well educated young professionals in their late 20's with solid jobs making middle income have no place in Boston I guess, unless we want roommates into our 30's.

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Every citizen does not have the "right" to live anywhere they want, regardless of cost. I'd love to live in Wellesley, but unfortunately, I can't afford it. I'd love to live on Newbury St., but instead I live in the North End, as it's cheaper. All these "luxury" apartments will pull people out of the older, cheaper units in the North End, Back Bay, Beacon Hill, etc and provide more units available to those young professionals that have solid jobs and live in the City. If one can't afford a brand new apartment in the heart of the city, it doesn't mean the system is broken. Real estate is expensive.

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Downtown. It's everywhere. Southie. West End. North End/North Station. Eastie. Brighton.

Yes, I'm arguing this specific downtown building right now. And yes, it's personal. The bar "Cheers" for my friends and I, if you will. Friendships forged, birthdays spent, even tookmy GF on our first date there. Regardless of what anything "used to be", it's something to someone else today.

But that aside, the luxury boom is a problem for Boston as a whole right now if you're making average money.

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Whatever they pay into the fund is a freaking pittiance compared to what the value of the luxury units will go for, what's more.

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Have the best Guinness pour in town. People try to argue with me over that way too often.

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Why can't the Broad Street facade of the second building be saved? The replacement at street level looks terrible and it is sad to lose the charm for something which appears to be the lowest cost cookie cutter kludge turning our historic city into Genericburg, Anywhere, USA.

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The new building appears to attract well dressed young ladies in both the fore and backgrounds... And there will still be a bar there right?

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If you look at the blowup version of the image, you'll see the same two cars are parked in front of both the old and new buildings. How have they evaded the meter maids?

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That's as oxmoronic as residents having a shared coin-op laundry room in the building instead of in-unit washer and dryer or no dish washing machines in kitchens.

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Walking distance to every single rail line (seriously, all of them) in Eastern Massachusetts and you still want lots of parking? OK kid.

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Everybody does laundry. Not everybody wants a car

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The upside of more high end condos downtown adds to the tax base and helps keep the taxes lower out in the Neighborhoods.

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it adds options to those who are now occupying more affordable units in other areas of the city. An increase in housing stock, regardless of whether it's "luxury" or "affordable" will lower demand.

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Ok, so I have to add some items into the discussion:

- I like all the big dollar development downtown as it should help to keep my taxes steady in the near future living in Hyde Park.

- At some point all these luxury apartments will saturate the market and developers will have to shift to building to a different market - could be middle class or lower income - the affordable housing bank must be getting to a point where it will offer enough funding to offset the significant land and construction costs in the city.

- All this construction is helping bring back the construction industry and related fields, which I consider positive.

- Besides questioning a building being luxury - they are thin skinned buildings that may not last more than 50 years or will start to perform poorly at some point.

- With all the buildings not much upgrading is being done to the infrastructure - are sewers, electrical grids, public transit, etc. being paid attention to along with the new buildings - I don't think so....how old is our sewer system and how much longer can it last with the added use?

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Downtown Boston has plenty of crappy 1960s buildings that can be gleefully bulldozed to make way for the gluttonous upper class and their insufferable luxury condos. Why are we allowing the few, YES FEW, old buildings downtown to be destroyed. People think of Boston as old, and it is, and does have old neighborhoods, but downtown is almost completely void of any contiguous area of old buildings. They are all interspersed throughout ugly, bland, lame, boring, office buildings. It is not JUST the building, but the entire street or ambiance that matters. Taken a look at how sad the old state house looks? What about the West End? GONE. This idiotic mentality of "just a few old buildings here and there" leaves the downtown with NONE in a few decades. I suggest destroying that horrendous green monstrosity on the corner of Boylston and Clarendon...geez...someone PLEASE DESTROY THAT and build a luxury condo there...makes so much more sense. However, we all know what will happen...the rich will win and the rest of us that want a pretty city will just have to suck it up. I will leave you with this, the ENTIRE Scollay Square area was destroyed by people who thought they were building a new, cutting-edge, building and touting an "out with the old, in with the new" mentality. NOW...Government center is an embarrassment and a mere shadow of what was once in that area.

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