A Walk on the Downtown Crossing Home Tour

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Posted May 22, 2013 by Stephanie Dubick in Business
Theatre Unit

Rebuilding an image and a reputation doesn’t always prove to be successful. But for the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID, for short), the process of revamping Downtown Crossing from a neighborhood of empty storefronts and scarce residences into an in-demand area is a success story that keeps getting better.

Since 2010, the BID has been actively committed to the restoration and improvement of DTX through public and private investments of more than $3.2 billion. And with today’s Downtown Crossing home tour—a.k.a., “Downtown: Home Is Where the Heart Is”—homeowners from Lagrange Street to School Street opened their doors to dozens of interested home buyers, real estate agents, and curious people like me so that we could witness the transformation firsthand.

As a Bostonian, I never thought of Downtown Crossing as a place I’d want to call home. It’s always been perceived (at least through my eyes) as a section of Boston forgotten after 6 p.m., when Financial District professionals go home and retail stores close early for the evening. Yet surveying Boston from residence to residence really makes me think. It makes me think of the view from my tiny Allston window and how it compares to the ones I saw on the tour (it doesn’t, by the way). It makes me question what “living” in this city really means, and makes me ponder what it’d be like to wake up in a downtown residential tower—like 45 Province—and look down at the State House.

Luxury living

Luxury living at the Devonshire. Photo credit to Dan DeChairo

For the next three hours, I kept asking myself these questions, as the proof of Downtown Crossing’s steady evolution was obvious. On my first stop along the self-guided tour, which kicked off at the ultra-hip 49 Social on Temple Place, a friendly volunteer welcomed me with a smile and hello at the entrance of The Grandview on Tremont Street. Once I reached the fifth floor—a gorgeous one-bedroom sanctuary with slate-tile flooring, sliding glass wine cabinets, and exotic art—the grand view of the Boston Common astonished both me and a fellow tour participant. Afterward, I walked 10 minutes to the Hayden Building, located in the heart of Chinatown, where exposed brick, cathedral ceilings, built-in storage along the walls, and easy access to the T was further evidence that Downtown Crossing is everything that urbanites are looking for.

From there, I went next door to The Kensington, an upscale, pet-friendly condo on Washington Street, and then onward to the Archstone Boston Common. Complete with concierge service, an indoor pool, and a 24-hour fitness center, the perks of living at Archstone are just as exciting as the view. And while the weather replaced sunny skies with rain into the day, the downpour failed to stop anyone from continuing to the final stops of our tour.

At The Edison on Chauncey Street, 17-foot ceilings accented contemporary city living, and cupcakes and drinks were served for hungry sightseers as they walked through the loft-style residence and observed breathtaking sculptures from Thailand and Vietnam. But the best window views of the tour came next from atop the Devonshire Tower (the tallest residential tower in New England), with a panorama of the Boston Waterfront, and also from 45 Province, a boutique residence with hotel-style amenities that overlooks Boston in its entirety.

I ended my tour at a one-bedroom residence model on Tremont Street. As a featured home in the 15-story Millennium Place, opening on Washington Street in the fall, this represented one of 256 luxury condos in the upcoming residential building. Residents have five distinct unit types to choose from, each expressing a different way to live in the city. Millennium Place will also offer an on-site screening room, an outdoor garden, and a wine tasting room. The fastest selling building in the city in several years, this highly anticipated project is well over half sold several months before its opening this fall.

Though the focus of the tour was on luxury homes in the downtown district, it also showcased the restaurants, cafes, theaters, and unique establishments that define and enhance the downtown Boston experience. This is why the Downtown Crossing home tour was important for the city: By raising interest in DTX and giving back to the Boston community, the city gave back to them by participating and getting involved.

This was a one-time event, but if you’re interested in the ongoing efforts of the BID or have questions regarding available homes in Downtown Crossing, information is always available on the BID website. Honestly, you deserve a spectacular home with an equally spectacular view, and Downtown Crossing is the premier area of Boston to give you both. Also, I really need to move.

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