A Completely Foreign Life…So Close, Yet So Far

I’m an architecture geek. I wanted to be an architect throughout my entire childhood (though, I did fantasize about being a bus driver at one point, too…don’t ask). Anyway, I went to Boston to study architecture until I realized I hated it as a profession. Now, it’s just a hobby of mine.

As a hobby, I’ll occasional sketch floor plans (schools, offices, homes, apartment buildings) and I have developed a strong interest in urban planning. One of my favorite websites (and, no, it’s not porn) is “Architectural Boston” where people with similar interests post comments and photos of developments taking place (or previously have taken place) in the Boston area. I’m a geek – I admit it.

So, for the past year or two I’ve been following the development of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and Residences condo development that will be built on Boylston Street by the Prudential Center. It’s slated to being construction later this summer (or early fall). Now, I knew it was going to be high end. But the building you see below (which isn’t that tall) is going to have 23 elevators so that penthouse units can have their own private elevators.

There was a recent article in the Boston Globe (also where the photo came from) discussing how 44 of the 50 units are already purchased and the building hasn’t even broken ground yet (nor has the developer started advertising). The part that kills me is that one of the buyers bought his condo here already and was also persuaded by the broker to simultaneously buy a nearby townhouse condo for $8.65 million to live in until this place is built.

It seems like my life has always been about living so close…yet so far. I mean, I’m probably under a mile away from this new development (and other high-end developments). My childhood was the same, being raised in Osterville on Cape Cod. All of my neighbors had bigger houses, tennis courts, swimming pools and country club memberships*. We had a white picket fence and yellow grass.

And that’s my life. For most people, living on the edge means a life of adventure and risk. I give it a whole new meaning.


*It’s no coincidence that Osterville is also home to most expensive house sold in Massachusetts history, at $26 million.


  1. Comment by chrispy on May 19, 2005 2:20 pm

    i sense a little envy coming from the other side of the fence. what is it about how the “other half” lives that fascinates you so much? i know youve been surrounded for most of your life by people who have More. but really…do you care all that much about having More? do you really care about living in an $8M box? if you do, i never figured you for the type.

  2. Comment by Karl on May 19, 2005 2:31 pm

    Good point, Chris. I just re-read my posting and realized it came off as jealousy. Actually, i’m not jealous of wealth or material things (you’ve seen how I dress).

    I originally intended to write about the absurdity of the cost to live there…but in my familiar way, began rambling.

  3. Comment by chrispy on May 19, 2005 3:07 pm

    absurd real estate values? LOL. “come on a my house, my house”. i think every city at the moment is experiencing some absurd real estate boom.

  4. Comment by David on May 19, 2005 4:07 pm

    You don’t want to live there.
    It’s haunted.

  5. Comment by jeff on May 19, 2005 9:41 pm

    eh…beyond some expensive fixtures and other crap, what’s really different? The regular people have more fun anyway.

  6. Comment by Brad on May 20, 2005 11:35 am

    it’s an impressive buidling, but for whatever envy it might give me, i’ve gotten to the point that either i want to be fabulously wealthy so i can afford everything and not think about it or stay where i am and have a happy life and not have to beat my brains out for it

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