Reflecting on Downtown: Homes Where the Heart Is

Posted May 29, 2014 by Louis Roe in Business
The Club at Millennium Place

On a recent early May Saturday, I embarked on Downtown: Home Where the Heart Is, a self-guided foray into the high-end residential units of downtown Boston. I had vague expectations assembled around big-bellied sofas, crystal chandeliers, and perhaps some complimentary crackers. I was running late on a cramped, broken down red line in the rain—just about anything would have impressed me, as long as it was shelter. But the homeowners of DTX in collaboration with the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID) did not skimp on the embellishments. With the same spirit and flare for glamor that’s transformed Downtown Crossing from a few peeling storefronts into an upscale living and dining destination, this tour went above and beyond to lure home-hungry window shoppers through tiny doorways and into fantasy flats.

The 6th floor lounge of the Kensington. Photo Credit: Louis Roe

The 6th floor lounge of the Kensington. Photo Credit: Louis Roe

My first stop on the tour was the Kensington, one of the first developments in Temple Place. Last August, it made its 381 apartments available to rent. The building boasts 38 different floor plans and countless amenities, including a billiards room, two conference rooms, a 3,000 square foot gym, and a groom room for canine residents. Even more impressively, the Kensington is 100% smoke free and has earned LEED gold certification for its environmental efficiency. The sixth floor lounge and kitchen were polished to perfection, the counters lined with breakfast treats and bottles of sparkling water. The kitchen opened up onto a wide deck with a television, pool, and promenade that promised dreamy summer sunsets and fun nights at home with friends. Upstairs, the apartments were airy and modern, bedecked in highlights from Macy’s Martha Stewart Collection to convey a sense of stylish comfort.

Hamilton Crossing, the next stop on my tour, displayed one of 97 cozy, fully-furnished lodgings for short-term residents, offering anything from weekly stays to 1-2 year leases. Because its occupants are oftentimes just passing through until they can find more permanent housing, Hamilton Crossing almost always has openings—and everything’s included, from the plush beds to gas and electricity. Around the corner, I had the chance to explore a bachelor’s pad at 49 Temple Place, a sophisticated urban home with exposed brick and a porch view of the outdoor Brattle Book Store far below. With three floors, the apartment had plenty of room for visitors to spread out; by the time I emerged onto the roof deck, I was already imagining how easy it would be to entertain guests in a home like this.

49 Temple Place View

A view from 49 Temple Place, a sophisticated urban home. Photo Credit: Louis Roe

As it turned out, I’d seen nothing yet. Winter Place Residences sits on top of what was once Locke-Ober, Boston’s third-oldest restaurant, where John F. Kennedy famously dined with Marilyn Monroe and other household celebrity names. The apartments meticulously reflected that sense of total luxury, complete with a kitchen skylight, marble bathroom counters, and an enormous function room with ornate details along the walls. The rooms’ trendy modern architecture combined with the historical accents to create a unique, elegant home, ideal for inhabitants with an intimate taste for high class life.

I moved from one building to the next as if through a dream, from the jeweled cocoon of Winter Place to the picturesque splendor of 45 Province, where I snacked on shrimp while enjoying a sprawling view of the Boston Commons on one side and the Harbor on the other. But none of this had prepared me for the sheer sophistication of The Club at Millennium Place. Units at downtown’s latest premium address sold out months ago, and if the refined luxury of The Club is any indication, it’s easy to understand why Millennium Place residences were such a hot commodity. The space offers a lounge area, a private dining room, a bar, and even a small movie theater furnished with plush recliners.

Even now, the BID continues to lavish Downtown Crossing with new housing, dining, and entertainment options: the tour brochure gave a quick preview of the newly opened Radian, and we can look forward to more Millennium luxury offerings with Millennium Tower Boston opening this fall. From the heart of Boston, you can look back on hundreds of years of America’s history and ahead to a gleaming future. What better place is there to call home? If you missed Downtown: Home Where the Heart Is, you can still learn more about DTX at the BID website and schedule a tour through the real estate listings.


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