Boston Real Estate News – 3/24/2010

Craigslist Caveat Emptor! – To all who use craigslist to search for real estate, especially for leases and rental properties – BE CAREFUL! We all know that craigslist is a great place to find cheap rental properties, especially for college students like myself who would like to avoid commission fees if possible, but beware, that $600-a-month 1 bedroom in Beacon Hill might be too good to be true. An older Boston Real Estate Observer article documents two cases of craigslist debauchery that happened right here in Boston:

1- The ad is for a beautiful condo in the Financial District, and the price is pretty, too pretty in fact. When you contact the landlord, he claims to be in London on vacation, and unfortunately, he’s the only person with the keys. Now here’s the catch: the only way to see the apartment is to get the keys from the landlord who’s in the UK, to get the keys he asks that you send a deposit to him through a website,, and once the website has the funds, the keys will be mailed to you. Here’s a tip – unless you like being scammed, politely inform the landlord that you’ll wait until he’s back in the States, and then never contact him again.

2- The ad is for a property in a legitimate luxury condo complex, Folio, in the Financial District. The price, as it usually is with these con-artists, is too good to be true. The 2 bedroom 2 bathroom condo is advertised at $800 a month, which is ludicrous in and of itself, but if you take a closer look, the ad will reveal itself to be a fraud. First, there’s no unit number listed in the ad (check one for fraud.) Two, the pictures, although they do look nice, don’t really look like any interiors of any Folio apartment you’ve ever seen (check two for fraud.) Finally, when you contacted the landlord he said that he’d been living there for 5 years, but Folio only opened in 2006 (check three for fraud.) Three strikes and you’re out!

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Roth Apologizes, Menino Holds Firm – In a previous post I wrote about Steven Roth, chairman of Vornado Realty Trust and co-developer of the old Filene’s site in downtown crossing, which under his care has remained a stagnant graveyard for two years. Earlier this month, Roth mentioned his brilliant plan to let a NY redevelopment site of his languish until the city was pressured into supplying additional funding. Well, that backfired when Mayor Menino sent him a letter threatening to use his power of eminent domain to seize the old Filene’s site for the city. Now Roth has apologized for those public comments, delivered during a speech at Columbia University, and he has discussed plans with Menino to resume the project, which hasn’t even gotten past the demolition phase. Menino, however, reiterated his threat to seize the project unless Roth resumes the $700 million development soon. Way to go Mayor!

Southie Marriot Courtyard Goes To Auction – The Marriot Courtyard in South Boston, located off of I-93 at 63 R Boston Street, is officially going to auction this April. The hotel is a joint venture between Hersha Hospitality Trust and Jiten Management, who reported an impairment loss of $3.5 million in 2009, which represented its entire investment in the hotel. Earlier this month, the joint venture received a letter from their lender informing them of the forthcoming foreclosure-sale auction. Hersha and Jiten are apparently attempting to refinance, extend, or resolve their $16.2 million loan, however the date has been set and the 6-story hotel, which is in a good location, will still go to auction.

Check Out Some of the Newest South Boston Condos For Sale:

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