"Want a rooftop cabana near Fenway? That’ll be $300,000" by Tim Logan Globe Staff June 21, 2016
For $350,000, you can buy a four-bedroom house in, say, Framingham, or a condo in Dorchester.
Or, if you are among a select few, you can buy a 16-by-16-foot patch of roof deck in the Fenway.
In the latest salvo of “Can you top this?” by luxury real estate developers, Samuels & Associates is selling something straight out of South Beach on the roof of its Pierce Boston building that is under construction: “sky cabanas.”
They’re not canopied cabanas in the classic sense, but 12 open-air roof decks ranging from 150 to 250 square feet, with lounge furniture, wet bar, and an endless view of Boston. They’re priced from $300,000 to $350,000, but are available only to those who have bought a condo in the 30-story tower; those start at around $1 million and run north of $6 million.
We’re told all the time: This is a new Boston. That translates into buildings hoping to woo new money, and touting the latest amenities from valet parking to private chefs to — now — cabanas in the sky. The private party pads may be a first.
In a city where parking spaces have been known to fetch $300,000 or more, crazy sums for nice extras are hardly new. Early marketing suggests that this novelty, too, will sell.
“It’s a little funny to think of your own private little piece of cement up there,” said Rich Giordano, a community organizer with the Fenway Community Development Corp., after hearing about the sky cabanas.
A longtime affordable-housing advocate, Giordano marveled at the new heights of the Boston real estate market.
“It’s a symptom of something. The market reaching for the [most] it can,” Giordano said. “After a while, what can you say?”
For Samuels & Associates, the sky cabanas were a way to turn an underused patch of roof into something that can set its building apart from the luxury towers rising from the Seaport to the Fenway.
“It’s not something you see in Boston,” said Leslie Cohen, chief operating officer at Samuels. “You might see it in Miami.’’
The 12 cabanas will line one side of the building’s roof, set apart from an outdoor pool and sitting area and indoor lounge that are open to all Pierce condo owners. Each comes with a door and frosted windows, for privacy, along with a wet bar, nice flooring, and a wide-open view of the city.
“We were looking to create this urban oasis and offer an amenity no one else is,” Cohen said. “It’s the best of both worlds: outdoor common areas and private sky.”
So far, four of the cabanas are already spoken for, more than a year and a half before the building opens. Sue Hawkes, a marketing consultant who is helping sell the units at Pierce, said it doesn’t take much to pitch them beyond a simple description.
“People say, ‘Wait, I can get a cabana?’ ” said Hawkes. “It’s kind of crazy, but people are really into it.”
And as more high-end buildings pop up, Hawkes predicted, there will be more high-end amenities like this as developers try to stand out during a real estate boom.
Giordano would like to see more actual homes built at the prices these cabanas cost, homes that regular Bostonians can afford — and actually live in....
"Pimco says ‘storm is brewing’ in US commercial real estate.... Signs of a cooling real estate market have emerged across the country since the start of the year. A global surge in demand for US property investments that pushed real estate values to records may wane as slowing growth in China, lower oil prices, and dislocated debt markets threaten to halt six years of price growth, Pimco portfolio managers John Murray and Anthony Clarke said in their report, titled “US Real Estate: A Storm Is Brewing.”