Fort Point Channel - Issue 51 - Magazine | Monocle

thumbnail text

With its central location and artsy appeal, Boston’s historic Fort Point Channel district was fated for SoHo-styled gentrification. Yet it wasn’t until the completion of the 20-year, $15bn (€11.6bn) Big Dig project in December 2007 – which relocated four miles of city-centre roadway under Boston – that this 55-acre swatch finally added youthful professionals to its long-time community of working artists.

Indeed, thanks to the Big Dig, fpc is now directly linked to both Boston’s downtown financial district as well as Logan Airport and South Station’s bus and railway lines opposite the imposing Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. The resulting easy-access has lured major hotels, arts institutions, restaurateurs and developers – who’ve transformed fpc’s century-old, Renaissance Revival red-brick warehouses into airy lofts.

Despite its recent landmark status – and inclusion in Boston mayor Thomas Menino’s new Innovation District – fpc property remains a bargain. “Five minutes from downtown, yet half its per sq ft price,” says photographer Eric Levin, who’s lived and worked in an fpc loft for a decade.

With a $900m (€698m) redevelopment scheme two years from completion, fpc will soon welcome thousands more residents, workers and homes. And as dozens of independent media and hi-tech companies pour in they’ll leave their workers behind at the end of office hours.

Property guide


Purchasing property in Boston is fairly straight-forward. The process commences with a buyer offer followed by a legally binding preliminary agreement to purchase; usually accompanied by 5 per cent down-payment. Then comes a purchase of sale agreement and a 30 to 60-day closing period. The seller pays most fees at closing, though buyers are responsible for title insurance ($4 per $1,000/€775 of purchase prices).


2 bedroom new-build, 116 sq m condo in full-service building – $895,000 (€690,000)
1 bedroom converted warehouse loft, 60 sq m – $399,000 (€300,000)
2 bedroom converted loft with 178 sq m – $899,000 (€700,000)


1 bedroom – $300,000+ (€230,000+)
2 bedrooms – $500,000+ (€390,000+)
3 bedrooms – $900,000+ (€700,000+)

Estate agent:

Jim Souza, Hammond Residential Real Estate, 10 Berkeley Street, + 1 617 587 4606,


InterContinental Boston
510 Atlantic Avenue, + 1 617 747 1000

While its glass-fronted façade might feel a bit blingy, Boston’s five year-old InterContinental is positioned perfectly for easy-access to FPC and Boston’s Financial District. Split between a pair of 22-floor buildings, North Tower rooms have prime views of FPC’s bijoux bridges and warehouses.


Louis Boston
234 Berkeley Street, + 1 617 266 4680

This third-generation Boston sartorial icon abandoned the posh Back Bay for a purpose-built FPC home back in 2010. Clearly targeting the Waterfront’s luxury condo-dwellers, Louis’ new warehouse-styled showplace is an all-in-one “lifestyle” destination with international fashion brands, fragrance department, hair salon, and the top-level bistro, Sam’s, where the juicy burger comes with panoramic views of Logan Airport’s take-offs and landings.

Birch & Willow
319 A Street, + 1 617 423 3437

At this studio-cum-boutique owner/designer Katherine Ahern creates handmade lamps, screens and sconces from organic materials such as twigs, leaves and branches. All pieces are custom-designed and ordered though there’s also a small collection of samples and prototypes for sale.

Architecture & Interiors

Twelve Chairs
319 A Street, + 1 617 70 3496

Founded by university mates Miggy Mason and Roisin Giese, the two-year-old “eco-minded” Twelve Chairs stocks sustainably produced contemporary and vintage furniture, table-top pieces, carpets, ceramics and textiles in a sunny, restored warehouse. When not minding their shop, Mason and Giese design residential interiors.

Eat & Drink

348 Congress Street, +1 617 737 1234

Boston chef Barbara Lynch’s Sportello forms one-third of her FPC empire – which includes cocktail lounge, Drink, below and the fancy-French Menton next door. At Sportello, Lynch has paired an open- kitchen and retro bar-stools with an Italian-influenced menu accented by fresh New England seafood (think pheasant soup followed by buckwheat papardelle with Maine shrimp).

Trade Boston
540 Atlantic Avenue, + 1 617 451 1234

Cool marble counters and floor-to-ceiling windows set the tone for this sprawling new restaurant near South Station from Boston’s culinary doyen, Jody Adams. Set in a landmarked former trading house, Trade’s international menu is served in leather banquettes or along a big communal table.

Flour Bakery
12 Farnsworth Street, + 1 617 338 3333

The crowd is thick and social all day long at this bakery-cum-coffee shop just off FPC’s main drag. Owner Joanne Chang is a celebrated baker (and Harvard alumni) with a talent for buttery brioches. Flour also holds baking courses.

Lucky’s Lounge
355 Congress Street, + 1 617 892 4224

This subterranean, 21st century speakeasy serves hearty steaks and snack-sized sandwiches paired with classic-styled cocktails set against a back-drop of funk and soul tunes. Try the house Martini.


Made in Fort Point
12 Farnsworth Street, + 1 617 423 1100

This gallery-like boutique showcases the mostly one-off, handmade work of 75 FPC artisans. Run by the Fort Point Arts Community, the shop’s collection of furniture, ceramics, fashions, textiles and lighting help ensure FPC’s artist community continues to thrive.

Institute of Contemporary Art
100 Northern Avenue, + 1 617 478 3100

Since its 2007 debut, the Institute of Contemporary Art has served as FPC’s cultural HQ. Visit for works by Nan Goldin or Louise Bourgeois from the ICA’s permanent collection or stroll through its Poss Family Mediatheque – a media library that seemingly disappears into Boston harbour itself.

The locals

Marcy Harms
Fashion design student

“I like FPC’s loft-style living. There are great restaurants and bakeries, the area is pet friendly and I love to stroll with my dog along the harbour.”


FPC architecture dates back to the 1830s when its main owner, The Boston Wharf Company, erected red-brick warehouses to store commodities such as fabrics, clothing and, particularly, wool. For more than a century the buildings served their mercantile owner, before being abandoned following the Second World War and then slowly converted into artist home-studios during the 1970s and 80s. Today, major development companies are doing the converting, creating airy loft residences. The lofts skew large, often with outdoor space and – owing to few high-rise neighbours – with clear Channel or Harbor views. Perhaps, fittingly, The Boston Society of Architects recently relocated to a new FPC home.

Share on:






Go back: Contents



sign in to monocle

new to monocle?

Subscriptions start from £120.

Subscribe now





Monocle Radio


  • The Continental Shift