History of Commonwealth Avenue Real Estate
Commonwealth Ave, also called "Comm Ave" by locals, is one of the most prominent streets in Boston's Back Bay neighborhood. As with other areas around the historic Back Bay district, Commonwealth Ave has heavy European, particularly Parisian, influences. It is essentially a parkway divided by a wide grassy mall in the center, which contains historic statutes of Alexander Hamilton, John Glover, the Vendome Memorial, and more. The section of road that runs through Newton is on the National Register of Historic Places as the Commonwealth Avenue Historic District. Parts of Commonwealth Avenue are owned by nearby Boston University. Due to the school's needs, Commonwealth Avenue is a main transportation center for Boston's MBTA and light rails. It has a convenient blend of residential homes, apartments and condominiums, shopping centers, and commercial enterprises. Commonwealth Avenue extends to the neighboring city of Newton, Massachusetts. Commerce Ave begins west of the Boston Public Garden and continues through the neighborhoods of Back Bay, Kenmore Square, Brighton, Allston, and Chestnut Hill. Commonwealth Avenue crosses the Charles River, which is one of the most coveted natural landscapes in the area.
Traditionally, Commonwealth Avenue was a popular place to live and attend cultural events. During the first quarter of the 1900s, it also began to attract commercial clients. Because of the local area's strong economy, many businesses opened. Apartment buildings and condominiums found today on Comm Ave include a mix of original residential buildings and housing facilities that were converted as businesses came and left. In the 1930s, the Capitol Theater arrived at 1266 Commerce Avenue. Development pushed westward along Commonwealth Avenue. Housing units continued appearing for students; some housing was located in traditional all-residential facilities, but mixed use arrangements became popular as commercial tenants seized opportunities to open ground-level shops catering to the local population's needs.
From its beginning, Commonwealth Avenue developed a reputation as a destination for Boston's high society. Auto dealerships once occupied a large part of the Avenue. Even at the height of the economic depression, Comm Ave had over 50 car dealerships that sold new and used personal and commercial vehicles. Catering to the wealthy resident and visiting customer base, many large commercial and industrial operations moved into the area through the mid-1900s. Between 1953 and 1970, DeMambro Electronics, the largest electronic parts distributor east of Chicago, was headquartered at the intersection of Commonwealth Ave and Brighton Ave. After the business shut its doors, the building turned into residential apartments. Surrounding buildings, including the Packard building, transformed into a condominium complex.
Between 1920 and 1928, Boston University purchased 15 acres of land along Commerce Avenue. The land that it purchased was initially reclaimed by the Riverfront Improvement Association. Through a series of fundraising campaigns, the University ultimately established its Charles River Campus. The construction of BU's buildings and athletic fields changed the original layout of Commonwealth Ave from a largely residential and commercial setting to a more park-like campus setting.
True to its mixed-use nature, Commonwealth Ave has catered to residents and businesses in recent decades. Its real estate includes condominiums and apartment buildings placed in historic brick and brownstone townhomes. Although the Avenue features predominantly older homes and structures, prospective tenants and owners enjoy the meticulous pride and care that local homeowners take in modernizing their homes' interiors.