National market report

Snapshots of real estate news from around the U.S.

Rendering of Portside at East Pier in Boston
Rendering of Portside at East Pier in Boston


The $115 million second phase of a massive 26-acre waterfront development in East Boston will be underway in the third quarter of this year, despite slow response to the project, which is in an area not traditionally considered residential. Mack-Cali Realty Corporation’s Roseland division recently completed the first of three phases of Portside at East Pier, on Jeffries Point, with the opening of a $75 million, five-story building comprising 176 rental apartments. While the project is not far from the gentrifying Maverick Square area, Roseland found tenants for only 24 units in the first building in the first few weeks after launch, and was still negotiating leases for 3,500 square feet of retail space there, the Wall Street Journal reported. Financing was not yet finalized for the second phase, which will include two buildings housing 264 apartments. Another development and a park are also planned for the waterfront, where ferry service recently began.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Historic Mayo Hotel in Downtown Tulsa

The Historic Mayo Hotel in Downtown Tulsa

More than 600 new apartments are expected to open up in downtown Tulsa through 2015, and seven new hotels are in various stages of planning and development there. The New York Times reported the activity is being interpreted as a sign of the revitalization of Tulsa’s downtown, after a period of decline when the city lost its title as the so-called “Oil Capital of the World” to Houston. However, the local oil and gas industries found steam again in the early aughts, and following a 1-cent sales tax increase in 2003, investors put more than $930 million into Tulsa’s central business district over the course of a decade. Developers are now converting many older buildings, like the former city hall, adding 526 hotel rooms downtown. The Mayo Hotel, an Art Deco masterpiece which closed in 1981, was bought for only $1, redeveloped for $42 million, and reopened in 2009 as the Mayo Hotel and Lofts.

Washington, D.C.

Foreclosures in Maryland — which had the second-highest foreclosure rate in the nation in September after Florida, according to the RealtyTrac — accounted for some 13 percent of the market in the Washington suburb of Prince George’s County in mid-October, the Washington Post reported. These properties are increasingly attractive to both investors and first-time buyers, because properties in less-than-perfect condition can enable purchase of larger properties that can be fixed up to meet buyers’ tastes while remaining within their budget. Some banks offer potential owner-occupants a window to make an offer before offering to sell to investors, the Post reported. That’s because potential homeowners are often willing to bid more than the asking price, while investors aim to pay as little as possible.

Charlotte, North Carolina

Encouraged by low vacancy rates, a lack of new construction and investors paying high prices for office property, two office-building developers are moving ahead with speculative projects in Charlotte, North Carolina. Portman Holdings, an Atlanta-based company, plans to break ground during the second quarter with a 370,000-square-foot- project adjacent to one of its earlier projects, the Westin Charlotte, the Wall Street Journal reported. Crescent Communities, meanwhile, is planning to start on a $500 million mixed-use development. The overall vacancy rate downtown, according to a JLL report, is 7.1 percent; the report also found that the amount of space filled by office tenants increased by 267,812 square feet in the third quarter of last year.

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Shawne Merriman

Shawne Merriman

Venice Beach, California

Don Cheadle bought an 800-square-foot bungalow in Venice for $894,000. The mid-century pied-à-terre has two bedrooms, one bathroom, and a breakfast nook. The “House of Lies” star owns other property in the L.A. area.

San Diego

Retired San Diego Charger Shawne Merriman relisted his San Diego home, most recently priced at $1.26 million, as a $1.05 million short sale. Merriman, a three-time NFL Pro Bowl linebacker, paid $1.47 million for the four-bedroom, five-bathroom, 4,000-square-foot home in 2005.

Avon, Colorado

The late President Gerald R. Ford’s ski chalet in glamorous Beaver Creek was listed at $8.5 million. The 11,849-square foot ski-in ski-out home was built in 1983 and underwent a $4 million renovation in 2003. The entry hall is inlaid with the Presidential Seal, and the master suite’s fireplace is modeled after the White House’s Lincoln Bedroom. It is engraved with an inscription by President John Adams.

St. Phillips Island, South Carolina

Ted Turner put his private island off the coast of South Carolina up for sale. The CNN founder is asking $23.78 million for the 4,680-acre island, accessible only by boat and protected by a conservation easement. It features a 3,800-square foot, five-bedroom, five-bath main house and a caretaker’s house.