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^ developer Kevin Norton explains his 20-unit condominium proposal to Hyde Park neighbors at last night’s BRA design review meeting

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How hot is Boston’ s real estate market ? So hot that even in Hyde Park, one of the city’s least trendy neighborhoods, development beckons. Last ight the BRA hosted a development proposal meeting or a project known as 1081 River Street,. It will be 20 condominiums, in a neighborhood hardly yet stable, and the developer has suggested selling the condos for $ 250,000 for one bedroom units and $ 375,000 for to-bedrooms. These would be edgy prices even in Roslindale; for Hyde Park they’re still quite a reach. Nonethelsss, Norton, at the meeting, expressed confidence in his prices. “The market is hot, ‘ said he.

It is; on there are few condo units for ssel in southwest Boston, and those that do come onto the market go quickly. If Norton’s 20 units were or sale today, they might well go rapidly even at his sky-high prices. But the most significant indicator of Boston’s real estate hotness is Kevin Norton himself. At the meeting, he told the fifteen or so people attending that 20 units is by far his largest project yet; that he’s built four to eight unit projects, and all of those on the South Shore.

Norton has owed the land or four years, he said. That’s how long it took for its location to support a development that could sell at a workable price. East of Cleary Square is a chancey area to build in; close by to it are some rough sites with high crime, and the traffic on River Street can be oppressive. But none of that now seems to matter; Boston’s real estate market hotness is trumping all difficulties, all conditions, all that has been.

Accordingly, Norton has taken a huge step up finanncially. From eight units to 20, from Quincy and Rockland to Boston itself. He has bet his still small-level financial history on a project that will likely cost triple or more the numbers he has previously committed to.

Personally, I am glad to see young developers stepping up to Boston real estate with such confidence. At the meeting there was much caution, much worry about the changes that Norton’s development will bring,for traffic and in population density; but change is life.

It is understandable that people who have become accustomed to a way of life want it to continue. But neighorhoods do’t have that luxury. Not to change is to stay the same. In a dynamic society such as ours, staying the same means falling back, relative to other neighborhoods — falling ack economically above all. Nobody can consciously want that.

And so constancy has to give way, has to accede to change, big change, new things and new people, new conditions, as developers and buyers create their new enviro and condition. that Boston is doing all this dynamically is a good thing,. That Boston is building boldly, spurring property values, beckoning new people to new lives, is our city’s blessing.

The alterative is to be left behind. Thanks to risk takers like Kevin Norton, that won’t happen. Even Hyde Park — perhaps the City’s least dynamic region, so far — will no longer be left behind.

—- Mike Freederg / Here and Sphere

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