BOSTON—Boston Realty Advisors founding principal Jason S. Weissman highlights a New World feature in pitching his brokerage firm’s latest urban CRE sales listing, the Liberty Tree Building which is a landmark as site of a Revolutionary War-era protest where the five-story structure has stood since 1850. In this week’s launch of the exclusive assignment involving 37 upper level apartments and fully occupied ground-floor retail, Weissman points to the MBTA Orange Line station incorporated into 630 Washington St. as a modern accouterments likely to catch the eye of investors.
“You can’t get any more transit-oriented than that,” Weissman observes in confirming the 55,000-sf mixed-use asset is up for grabs and promises long-range stability beyond accessibility strengths, the pieces so compelling industry prognosticators are already predicting the Middle Markets asset could approach $39 million. While he declined to discuss pricing targets, Weissman offers extensive praise for his client’s “meticulous” 2015 overhaul of the property to resuscitate its value after falling into foreclosure in the wake of 2008’s recession when a prior owner became saddled with CMBS debt.
“This is a superb core opportunity that has plenty of upside from various aspects and is in a submarket undergoing incredible changes for the good,” Weissman says. “We are extremely excited to be handling this very unique asset.”
BRA’s client, Washington Liberty LLC, in June 2013 paid $8.1 million for the building that once housed the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles and the group founded by metropolitan Boston investor William J. Thibeault undertook a value-add campaign backed by $6.1 million from East Boston Savings Bank whose results were impressive enough to re-sign Bank of America to a deal extending to 2030, while a Dunkin’ Donuts in the remaining retail offers further cash flow.
“They did a fantastic job,” Weissman says of the landlord’s repositioning of 630 Washington St. into an institutional-grade building which is also expected to attract overseas capital, a constituency prevalent in Boston investment circles these days. Boston Realty Advisors knows that full well, coming off the firm’s separate listing of 311 Summer St. in Boston’s Seaport District that sold this past month to a Qatari fund. That buyer paid an astounding $673 per sf for the 57,200-sf office/retail building occupied by architectural firm Stantec, whose principals had spent just $7.0 million on the building in 2007.
Reflecting its mixed-use nature, several practice groups in the BRA Capital Markets operation are involved in 630 Washington St. Besides Weissman, other partners participating are retail aces Michael d’Hemecourt and Whitney E. Gallivan plus debt and structured finance veteran Nicholas M. Herz. Associate Director Christopher J. Donato and Associates Kevin Benzinger and Samer Abouhamad are also on the case which is expected to ramp up in the coming weeks once informational materials are distributed and tours scheduled.
The loft-style residential units which range from studio up to three-bedroom duplex layouts have “extraordinary ceiling heights,” a brick-and-beam backdrop and “premium finishes” luxurious enough that BRA informational materials suggest 630 Washington St. could be converted to condominiums, a tantalizing prospect given a lack of inventory in Boston right now at a time when condo prices are soaring. Values should be further bolstered, according to the materials, by “increased capital injection into the area” from such massive projects as the new Millennium Tower a few blocks away.Capital Markets, Jason Weissman, Kevin Benzinger, Michael D'Hemecourt, Whitney Gallivan