28 June 2007

Luxury Condos

Riding on the T this morning, I noticed another passenger reading the Metro. For those of you who might be reading from somewhere other than the Boston area, the Metro is a free weekday paper handed out at subway stations and street corners that is read looked at by people who don't want to spend their commute just staring into space, but also don't want to think too hard in the morning. The only reason I noticed was because it appeared this person was reading it upside down. I suppose this isn't a radically unusual thing to observe in the spectrum of T rider behavior, but still.

Later I saw another copy of the paper on an adjacent seat and picked it up. It turns out that on Thursdays the Metro runs a home section (as do many other papers), and for reasons likely known only to them, they print this section upside-down from the rest of the paper. A four-page insert in the center of the paper would seem to be a much more logical and professional choice, but I'm not part of the Metro brain trust, so what do I know?

Anyway, that's not really the point of this story. There was an ad on the back of the upside-down section for a new condo development in Everett, which is adjacent to our end of Medford. I hadn't heard of it, so when I got to work I typed in the web address; turns out it's not too far from our house (there was no map link on the site; I had to map the address myself to find its exact location, which is definitely an infraction of Web Site Usability 101). They're pitching it as essentially (I'm paraphrasing) "city-style luxury living at lower prices and without city hassles."

[CORRECTION: I was wrong. There is a link that says "click here to preview directions from your location," and if you click it (which I admit I didn't do this morning), it gives you the Google Maps page I linked to above. But it's not obvious that's what's going to happen, because when you see something about directions, you think that it's going to ask for your starting location first, because that's what the web has conditioned us to expect. So I'm still calling them out for a lack of clarity, but I didn't want to get a truckload of email from people about it. When I'm wrong, I believe in admitting it.]

Oh, and did I mention it's called "Britney Place"? Is this an intended association with you-know-who? Are the people who would want to live there the sort of people who would also want to name their daughters after the recently-unhinged celeb? Or is it just poor spelling? Neither is advantageous, in my humble (and admittedly biased) opinion.

The site was fairly generic and a little short on things like pictures, but there were a couple of things I found interesting. On the right side of the "Community" page, there are three photos. One is of a guy walking a couple of dogs, one is of the Boston skyline (presumably a view from somewhere in the complex), and the third is of... a row of brick town houses on what looks a lot like Beacon Hill. I'm not sure how those things go together, but I'm thinking the developers want to plant the idea that living at Britney Place will make you feel as much a part of a community as if you lived on Beacon Hill. Okayyyy, sure, if it makes you happy.

On that same page, if you happened to follow that link, there is some general
info about the area and its convenience to Boston locations. If you didn't feel like following the link, I copied this part for your benefit: "4 minutes by car to Boston’s North End neighborhood of restaurants, cafes, shops." Read that again. Four minutes. Four minutes. If you live around here, you have a pretty good idea of how realistic that claim is (or isn't). And it's not even a sort-of-round number like five minutes.

Now remember, I said it was close to my house. I can absolutely guarantee you that it is completely impossible to drive from Britney Place to the North End in four minutes, even under totally ideal road conditions--no other traffic on the roads, all green lights--and I don't even drive. I know people who LIVE in the North End who can't get to the North End in four minutes. What flavor crack are these marketing copywriters smoking? I'm fairly confident that you could drive from Britney Place to the Gateway Plaza (Target, Costco, Home Depot, lots of other fun stuff) on Route 16 in four minutes, but I guess that wouldn't have seemed as comparably glamorous a selling point as the North End.

So, where does that leave us? Looking for some sort of a way to wrap this up, I guess. Britney Place's marketing people have, um, taken a few liberties with the materials promoting their development. Not exactly news, I guess, but it makes me wonder what other things they may have fudged or glossed over. Like, walls cost extra?


Tape said...

Also, they must have some new definition for "Short walk to the T" of which I was previously unaware.

Some Assembly Required said...

I'd meant to put this in the post and just forgot, thanks for mentioning it.

I suspect they're referring to Malden Center station, but I wouldn't call that a short walk. Wellington is even further away, I think. But "short bus ride" doesn't cut it in real estate.

Timothy said...

I currently live in Britney Place. It's nice, but not close to ANYTHING. Mainly, they just can't sell the units to anybody, so the banks won't finance mortgages. Britney Place is a lost cause - avoid it like the plague.