Newbury Street Assets Sell – $226.5M

It was assembled piecemeal over five years, but a portfolio of 28 Back Bay properties centered around Newbury Street has traded whole cloth to an Atlanta-based investor, a $226.5 million transaction likely to garner national—and perhaps international—notice. The beneficiaries are Taurus Investment Holdings and UrbanMeritage, plus Federal Realty Investment Trust, which had partnered on five of the assets changing hands to Jamestown, an entity whose roots are German capital but is said to be increasingly tapping into other sources as well.

“That’s huge,” one industry observer says when told of the financial result. Eastdil Secured was initially retained this spring to market 23 of the buildings, but the Federal Realty swath was later thrown in the mix, putting the result well above the original projection of $175 million. Calls to the Eastdil team were not returned; the Capital Markets contingent on the listing that attracted multiple suitors from across the globe includes Brian Barnett, Sarah Lagosh, Peter Joseph, James McCaffrey and Christopher Phaneuf.

A “fragmented” constituency of some 200 Newbury Street property owners made for a painstaking but worthwhile endeavor to assemble critical mass, the sellers relayed in a statement regarding the closing, a release dispatched Monday following inquiries from “We are obviously thrilled with the successful conclusion of our ‘Newbury Line’ investment strategy,” Taurus CEO Peter Merrigan says in the release. Pitched as The Newbury Street Acquisition Program, the partnership became the boulevard’s largest real estate owner, he notes, with the group then transforming its stew of “disparate assets into an institutional grade investment product.” Besides pushing rents up to market levels, standardizing leases, and increasing operating efficiencies, the venture altered and improved Newbury Street’s retail mix, adds Merrigan, delivering such names as Ben Sherman, the Blues Jean Bar, Jack Wills, Pinkyotto and True Religion Apparel to many previously unoccupied storefronts. “Significant credit is due to both UrbanMeritage and the Taurus team for their dedicated and professional execution of the program,” says Merrigan in celebrating the closing. As for the buyer, he characterizes Jamestown as an experienced operator “the city of Boston will be pleased to have as a steward for these important assets in the years to come.”

Assembled between Dec. 2006 and May 2011, the Newbury Line portfolio includes 71, 81, 85-91, 111-115, 119, 127-129, 144, 154-156 (pictured), 160, 172, 177, 179, 220, 236, 286-288, 299-301, 328 and 329 Newbury St. Buildings close but not on the marquee street that are also now owned by Jamestown are 899 Boylston St., last selling for $9.65 million in Dec. 2008; 283 Dartmouth St., bought by Taurus/UrbanMeritage for $2.43 million in May 2007; and 234-236 Clarendon St., a $3.46 million acquisition completed in Nov. 2007.

Urban retail is a longtime favorite among German investors, and Jamestown has been active in the United States on that front for more than a decade. The company also has a history in the Hub, having owned downtown Boston office buildings and other product.

Taurus is a Boston-based company sporting a global platform that features undertakings as far a field as Argentina, Germany and Turkey. Since its founding in 1976, Taurus has processed more than 20 million sf of hotel, industrial, office, residential and retail space. Principals besides Merrigan include Guenther Reibling and Lorenz Reibling. UrbanMeritage has been on the scene since 2006, its leadership bearing 40 years of collective real estate experience and more than $300 million of acquisitions and development to date. Principals include Michael T. Jammen and Vincent G. Norton Jr.


Source: Joe Clements R.R.

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