COGnitions

2 April
2019
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Welcome to Franklin & Blackstone Square | By Jeff Hamilton

Both Blackstone and Franklin Squares date back to 1801 when Charles Bulfinch initiated a plan for the South End. He originally intended the two squares to be a single residential park called Columbia Square. Instead, the parks were divided with Franklin Square being completed first in 1849 and Blackstone Square following in 1855. Much later, a neighborhood association was formed and demonstrates a level of thoughtfulness and strategery for both preserving and enhancing this area of the city.

Map of Franklin & Blackstone Square

This sub neighborhood is home to the two large squares (encompassing 5 acres), the South End Burial Ground, and pieces of Boston Medical Center campus. Interestingly, the stretch of Washington Street that bisects the two parks was part of the original Shawmut Peninsula. Yes, we’re talking revolutionary days! Rare “high ground” in these parts.

The buildings in this neighborhood formerly lent themselves to institutional uses. By nature, they are larger than most of their South End brownstone brethren. Not surprisingly, the neighborhood has transitioned toward residential (specifically condominium) uses as the area pricing grows and lifestyle amenities improve. The St. James Hotel that once adorned the East Newton side of Franklin Park spun off a group of condominiums in 2017 known as the Marais. The balance of the property accommodates Senior living and is known as the Franklin Square House Apartments. Similarly, the Penmark, a 60 unit condo building located on Father Francis Gilday Street, was the original home of both Boston College and Boston College High School. The former left for Chestnut Hill in 1913 while BC High moved to Dorchester in 1950. The building became luxury condominiums in 2006.

Sales statistics for properties +$2M in 2018 and the 1st quarter of 2019

It’s typically quiet in the Blackstone & Franklin Square neighborhood in the $2M price range. Compared to other areas of the South End, you can get a lot of bang for your buck here. In 2018, only one property traded above $2M. 450 Shawmut Avenue was the sole Franklin & Blackstone Square transaction above $2M in 2018. This single-family townhouse was a 3+ Bed, 2.5 Bath with lots of outdoor space and garage parking.

This 3 BED / 2.5 BATH was the sole Franklin & Blackstone Square transaction above $2M in 2018

The Blackstone Franklin neighborhood is not without its share of quality eateries.The Italian staple, Stella, has operated on the corner of Washington Street and W. Brookline Street since 2005. Estragon offers tapas flavors in a cozy corner on Harrison Ave. Anoush’Ella joined the area bringing Eastern Mediterranean food to the neighborhood more recently.

If Franklin & Blackstone Square sounds like the neighborhood for you, check out our listing coming soon in the Penmark.

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