The Real Reporter
March 15, 2018
BOSTON - All cash trades negotiated this quarter via Boston Realty Advisors are displaying continued ability to attract investors from far and near to the city’s traditional core, with a “critical mass” of 40 Beacon Hill apartments bought by New York-based Center Court Properties for $9 million last month (see story, page 64) while Mount Vernon Co. has just paid fellow homegrown developer Clifford Long $6.8 million for a chic 12-unit South End Inn, as usual the deal done with a broader scheme in mind. Chandler Studios complements a 210-unit hotel at 40 Berkeley St. MVC founder Bruce A. Percelay purchased in April 2014 for $17.2 million, that another BRA exclusive.
The Boston Realty Advisors team that peddled Chandler Studios for the seller and secured MVC includes founding principal Jason S. Weissman, partner Nicholas M. Herz and Vice President Kevin Benzinger. In acknowledging the Chandler Studios deal, Percelay praises the inn for its high-end design and finishes plus having a location “that gets better every day,” the repositioning of 56 Berkeley St. into hospitality space undertaken by Long following the building’s $1.4 million purchase in June 2009. “It was a total turnkey deal for us,” Percelay recounts, whereas MVC is rolling up the sleeves for an ambitious upgrade of 40 Berkeley St. into a concept the new steward pledges “is going to be unlike anything you see anywhere today in Boston or beyond.” Chandler Studios will offer a counter-balance to the larger hotel in a campaign launching this summer, Percelay explains.
“We will tie them together, offering two remarkable alternatives under one brand,” he relays, promising 40 Berkeley St. will be cast into “an uber-cool millennial hotel . . . we see as a true destination where you can be right in the middle of everything downtown,” the site adjacent to the Back Bay and Fenway, as well as Kenmore Square and the Longwood Medical Area. Public transit is plentiful as well. A portion of 40 Berkeley St. has been closed in advance of its restoration, with rebranding and MVC’s marketing work already underway. On top of his own deep experience in the advertising and hotel arenas, Percelay promises “a big surprise” regarding the marketing and hospitality talent being brought in to forge such a transformational change. “We are extremely excited about this,” says Percelay, who has another intriguing project taking shape in Brighton mere blocks from the massive Boston Landing mixed-use campus overlooking the Massachusetts Turnpike Extension. MVC received the go-ahead for that project earlier this year.
Percelay, who dramatically recast an entire Allston neighborhood into the verdant Green District earlier this decade, deems Allston-Brighton “probably the hottest market in all of Boston right now,” the onslaught of private investors and Harvard University playing big roles in that standing. At the same time, MVC continues to do business elsewhere in more established neighborhoods such as the South End where the firm has a mixed-use building at 16-24 Union Park St. wrested away from another spirited competition run by BRA in winter 2015 when Percelay made an offer the long-time owner did not refuse, resulting in the $5.42 million purchase of the 7,950-sf multifamily/retail asset which is located barely a half-mile from 40 and 56 Berkeley Street.
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