Look Up

In General, Retail Thoughts on January 31, 2010 at 10:29 pm

I just got home from a quick 24 hour trip to NYC. Walking Manahattan is always fun for me. Within five square blocks in certain neighborhoods there’s more retail than what exists in the entirety of the downtown areas in many American cities. People are often blown away by this – how can all these bars, dry cleaners, yogurt shops, beauty salons, pharmacies and grocers all exist in many multiples within a fraction of a square mile?  The answer: look up… Vertical density (in office and residential) is what fuels much of Manhattan’s retail market.

Vertical density has been a reality in the Boston office scene for many decades.  The same does not hold true in the residential context.  Boston and Cambridge city living is, and has been, dominated by (i) 3 and 4 story brownstones, (ii) two and three family houses and (iii) apartment buildings that are as wide as they are tall.  Since 2000 though, residential has gone increasingly vertical and in new areas, Kendall included.  The Watermark is a prime example.  Despite this, the number of 15+ floor residential towers in Boston is still probably not much more than a few dozen.  In NYC, the numbers are in the many hundreds…

My wife, a native New Yorker, said to me last week while driving through Kendall that something about it felt a little bit like Manhattan. I smiled. She was looking up…

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