11-21 Bromfield Street | DTX | Downtown

FK4

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Looks like a nice building for Alexandria VA.
 

DZH22

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If you read through the rest of the site, you'd get the impression that (A) there's still a housing crisis in the area and (B) the demand for new office buildings is virtually nil (don't tell that to the seaport). Yet here we are, chopping what could have been a 700' RESIDENTIAL into a fat blob piece of crap office tower, and so many of you go along with it like that's a totally acceptable alternative. Just because our city is great, it doesn't mean it couldn't either get greater, or slowly backslide into something worse. Trading max height residentials in the core for 1/3-1/2 height lab and office buildings that could feasibly be built in any of 1000 spots around the metro points us in the direction of the backslide.

Of course, with all the affordable housing restrictions that will surely be placed on housing by the newly elected mayor, we can expect new housing proposals in Boston proper to slow to a trickle. Luckily there is a large enough backlog to sustain the next few years, but by around 2026-2030 we absolutely will be feeling the detrimental affects of these new policies.
 

BeyondRevenue

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My speculation--and this is only speculation: these guys could easily, and I stress easily, self-finance this if they wanted. Look at the size of their portfolio--132 properties nationwide as the website advertises. And the vast majority of the properties are all in the most lucrative markets of the urban Northeast.

Their revenues must be in the tens of millions a year. Plus, they've been around for 90 years, as the website points out here.

That means they started buying during the Great Depression. Think of what a fantastic appreciation they have enjoyed in the value of their assets, since 1930.

I would further speculate that they are burdened with very little leverage/debt, if any, given their asset base and superlong history.

Also, as far as I can tell they're privately-held. So they answer to no one other than themselves.

But because of what you're saying, I'm guessing they chose, for whatever reasons (I'm sure they're smart), to acquire a bank loan. So I bet the banks wouldn't finance them unless they chose office use. And my guess for that is because, if you think about it, the immediate DTX luxury residential market is pretty saturated. Remember Winthrop Center is adding 100s more units, 47 LaGrange coming online, and others on this forum have pointed out the significant slowdown in sales at One Dalton, etc., presumably due to loss of international buyers during pandemic.

And with everyone else leaping into the lab market, would they really want to be late to that party?

Again, all speculation.
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Need moar housing!
Hot take: The render looks like someone failed at the sight lines drawing part in senior art class.
Point of Order: I'd propose 45 Province is largely occupied only on paper. Russian oligarch shell company paper does not bitch about blocked views. Nyet! Bildiniski LLC does not liek.
 
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sidewalks

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The enemy here is the zoning code and the neighboring property owners in the jewelers building and 45 province...well heeled neighbors had veto rights due to the threat of lawsuits
 

Blackbird

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The enemy here is the zoning code and the neighboring property owners in the jewelers building and 45 province...well heeled neighbors had veto rights due to the threat of lawsuits
Is one of those owners Sam Lagrassa’s? Cuz I will 100% support them in whatever they want over whoever is trying to redevelop the Bromfield site.
 

Batmarch

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There is no developer in the country whom would (even if they could, which is unlikely) self finance a construction project of this size.
 

DBM

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There is no developer in the country whom would (even if they could, which is unlikely) self finance a construction project of this size.
I never claimed they would. I only speculated that it would be effortless for these guys to do so, given my guess, based on the information available on their website, that they do have billions of dollars of free cash and are very tightly controlled by a tiny handful of close relatives.
 

kmp1284

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View attachment 18451

Need moar housing!
Hot take: The render looks like someone failed at the sight lines drawing part in senior art class.
Point of Order: I'd propose 45 Province is largely occupied only on paper. Russian oligarch shell company paper does not bitch about blocked views. Nyet! Bildiniski LLC does not liek.
Not sure if you’re being facetious but 45 Province is largely owner occupied actually. I’ve heard around 60%. It’s not a particularly remarkable building - it doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities and the units are mostly small and/or awkward. Other than MT which had a large contingent of original buyers from China there isn’t a a disproportionate amount of international wealth being parked in Boston condos, despite what some would have you believe.
 

stick n move

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Stop wasting your ink. This project is dead
The draft project impact report just came out on Nov 1st wtf are you talking about? The project was stopped for a while after 2016 where the previous design was unable to move forward due to a number of issues, so they went back to the drawing board.

On feb 26th 2020 the proponent withdrew the original letter of intent for the previous project. Then on March 4 2020 there was a brand new letter of intent filed with the bpda, with new project programming. From then on there has been a steady stream of updates and information right up to a couple days ago.

So far the documents that have been filed for the new project include:
LOI letter of intent
IAG impact advisory group memorandum
Pnf project notification form
Project Presentation
Public meetings
Pnf comment periods
Public comment periods
Bcdc design committee presentation
Scoping determination
DIPR draft project impact report
DIPR comment period

Take a look for yourself. Very much alive.
http://www.bostonplans.org/projects/development-projects/11-21-bromfield-street
 

stoweker

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I would guess they have several billions in liquidity, based on the information on their website. Assuming "LPs" translates to "limited partners," I would also guess they are very tightly-held in terms of only a few family members controlling all fractions of ownership. Why would pre-leasing necessarily matter in such circumstances, if their appetite is to be totally speculative?

That said, I'm not inclined to dispute your claim that it's DOA until Boston's office market strengthens.

Interestingly [confusingly?], there is abundant evidence that Boston's office market is the top nationwide currently.

[during the COVID era, is that like being the best player on the Baltimore Orioles?]

I really don't know how much the developers' analysis takes such reports into account though, obviously.

https://www.globest.com/2021/10/28/...nding-office-markets/?slreturn=20211004115331

https://bostonrealestatetimes.com/b...o-indicators-in-new-monthly-report-from-cbre/
Ok so i don't know anything about these people other than what's on their website, but i doubt they have billions in liquidity (no one keeps that much around in cash and marketables... the most i've ever seen was $500mm liquid from a super prominent sponsor), but who knows what they have or what their net worth is. Maybe they don't have limited partners and self finance everything with just the family, and if so good on them no need to raise money to build a tower and no one to be responsible to but yourself - I wish I could be so fortunate. It would be weird not to take out a construction loan, but again, who knows maybe they're sitting on a gazillion dollars of cash that they want to put to work by building a midrise office tower in downtown crossing unlevered, people do strange things.

With respect to the Boston office market, it's top nationwide because of all of the lab leasing activity - if you strip that out the office market sucks (look at the sublease stats in the real estate times article - 64% above baseline and 6th most sublease space in country - woof). Lab leasing gets lumped into office, it's not segregated into its own category (and even when they lease flex space it's still considered an office lease which is weird but whatever).

There's also a ton of office space coming available or currently available - i mean hell the majority of the State Street tower on lincoln street is going to be dark once they move to the new one, so you can backfill there (and rates will come down since it's headed to special servicing if not already there, trepp had something about it a few months ago forgot if it's with the receiver yet or just headed to it), and the new state street tower had a ton of new availability. That's just two prominent examples - also not entirely sure what preleasing looks like at the po square redevelopment, but like, presumably they have a bunch of class A space they'll need to backfill once they're done with the expansion and reskin. Then there's like all of the Class B stuff in DTX which is pretty grim right now. Anyways if you're a true office user you have options in Boston right now. My gut is that will accelerate into 2023-2024 as the last of the pre-pandemic leases start to rollover and CFOs will have enough time to really understand what their office use pattern is going to look like in the post-covid world. Personally I think downtown office is in for a long recovery, but who knows my crystal ball is as clear as anyone else.
 

stoweker

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Not sure if you’re being facetious but 45 Province is largely owner occupied actually. I’ve heard around 60%. It’s not a particularly remarkable building - it doesn’t offer much in the way of amenities and the units are mostly small and/or awkward. Other than MT which had a large contingent of original buyers from China there isn’t a a disproportionate amount of international wealth being parked in Boston condos, despite what some would have you believe.
ha which is why 1 dalton, st regis, and echelon are sucking wind. imagine that the condos at sudbury are probably super slow too (but that's a weird location...). Too much luxury supply not enough people to buy 1,000 sf condos at $3,000 PSF
 

DBM

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Ok so i don't know anything about these people other than what's on their website, but i doubt they have billions in liquidity (no one keeps that much around in cash and marketables... the most i've ever seen was $500mm liquid from a super prominent sponsor), but who knows what they have or what their net worth is. Maybe they don't have limited partners and self finance everything with just the family, and if so good on them no need to raise money to build a tower and no one to be responsible to but yourself - I wish I could be so fortunate. It would be weird not to take out a construction loan, but again, who knows maybe they're sitting on a gazillion dollars of cash that they want to put to work by building a midrise office tower in downtown crossing unlevered, people do strange things.
Don't get me wrong--even though I assume they are massively liquid, in the billions-range, and very tightly-held, of course they'd be dummies NOT to take out a construction loan, only because interest rates are still hyperlow, and, perhaps more significantly, over a 30-year-term, assuming significant cumulative inflation, the tail-end of the payments are so relatively cheap compared to today's value of the dollar, right? Those are the two factors that dictate why you should ALWAYS take out a loan instead of self-financing, as far as I'm aware, even if you're in the most advantageous position, liquidity/ownership structure-wise... which I assume these guys are.

P.S. Assuming this project gets built, on groundbreaking day, I officially bestow upon Batmarch the 2021 Stoeweker Award, conferred upon the ArchBoston poster who most loudly proclaims a project is "DOA," despite not offering up a thimble of documentation in terms of them being privy to developer/bank negotiations, etc., such that they would have a basis for such assertions.

[in all seriousness, Stoeweker you make excellent contributions to this site, but you were so spectacularly wrong in your multiple assertions re: Winthrop Center being a bust...]
 

stoweker

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Don't get me wrong--even though I assume they are massively liquid, in the billions-range, and very tightly-held, of course they'd be dummies NOT to take out a construction loan, only because interest rates are still hyperlow, and, perhaps more significantly, over a 30-year-term, assuming significant cumulative inflation, the tail-end of the payments are so relatively cheap compared to today's value of the dollar, right? Those are the two factors that dictate why you should ALWAYS take out a loan instead of self-financing, as far as I'm aware, even if you're in the most advantageous position, liquidity/ownership structure-wise... which I assume these guys are.

P.S. Assuming this project gets built, on groundbreaking day, I officially bestow upon Batmarch the 2021 Stoeweker Award, conferred upon the ArchBoston poster who most loudly proclaims a project is "DOA," despite not offering up a thimble of documentation in terms of them being privy to developer/bank negotiations, etc., such that they would have a basis for such assertions.

[in all seriousness, Stoeweker you make excellent contributions to this site, but you were so spectacularly wrong in your multiple assertions re: Winthrop Center being a bust...]
hahahah, oh i know, i can only speculate (and like to do so!). I'm still surprised that Winthrop got financed in early COVID when the debt capital markets were completely locked up for like, everything, good on them for getting it over the finish line. It's a great addition to the city and will revitalize that area once it opens.

a broken clock is right twice a day though! I'll come to Boston and happily accept my award in person when they break ground on this one; same as Winthrop it would be great if something gets built here.

As an aside what I really hoped would happen to DTX pre-covid would be for the Macys to get re-branded as a bloomingdales which i think would have led to more upscale retailers on Washington Street - there's a lot of great stuff on that corridor from the Ritz up but the retail kind of stinks and I don't know how that changes without a big anchor to drive better retail. Can't see macy's doing anything with that location now though, and honestly not sure what the future holds for that spot if they ever went out since the building can't get redeveloped (as far as i know) with the data center sitting above them.
 

bigpicture7

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hahahah, oh i know, i can only speculate (and like to do so!)...
Me too. When all the dust settles a bit more, we're going to enter the era of the boutique urban office headquarters. Big suburban office parks/campuses will be dead (they'll turn into Amazon hubs, etc), companies' overall office square-footage will reduce per employee, but most of the successful companies will transition to (and maintain if already here) non-trivial headquarters spaces in cities. There's evidence this is the direction that's already solidifying: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...ffice-set-up-will-look-a-lot-like-the-old-one

Forget the idea of a city-center office hub and a handful of smaller, suburban spoke offices. Most large corporates are doubling down on existing prime locations...in the new hybrid set-up, the low-cost, commute-free spoke is your own home.

Mark my words, urban office leases won't completely collapse and will likely tick back up from the lows of the pandemic. The nature of it will be different (very few massive leases) than pre-pandemic. But it will be back.
 
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stoweker

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When all the dust settles a bit more, we're going to enter the era of the boutique urban office headquarters. Big suburban office campuses will be dead (they'll turn into Amazon hubs, etc), companies' overall office square-footage will reduce per employee, but most of the successful companies will transition to (and maintain if already here) non-trivial headquarters spaces in cities. There's evidence this is the direction that's already solidifying: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/arti...ffice-set-up-will-look-a-lot-like-the-old-one


Mark my words, urban office leases won't completely collapse and will likely tick back up from the lows of the pandemic. The nature of it will be different (very few massive leases) than pre-pandemic. But it will be back.
that's a great article, thanks for sharing. I wonder if companies move back to more SF / employee to allow for "zoom rooms", more private offices for senior employees and then hotel offices for people who choose to come in, and as the article points out new amenity spaces - if that happens maybe you end up back at roughly the same place for office demand, but with fewer people actually in office. I guess in that scenario it crushes financial district retail if no one is around to like buy a salad and run an errand at cvs at lunch. It will be interesting to see what steady state demand is for office in the future, but it's still like 2-3 years out from when the pre-covid leases start to roll and companies decide how they want to operate.

I do think it will be tough to get a critical mass of people back into an office after all of this - if you have a nice work from home setup, don't have to lose 2 hours each day to commuting, and can solve for childcare there are probably a number of people who won't come back in unless their manager compels them to do so.
 

DBM

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hahahah, oh i know, i can only speculate (and like to do so!). I'm still surprised that Winthrop got financed in early COVID when the debt capital markets were completely locked up for like, everything, good on them for getting it over the finish line. It's a great addition to the city and will revitalize that area once it opens.

a broken clock is right twice a day though! I'll come to Boston and happily accept my award in person when they break ground on this one; same as Winthrop it would be great if something gets built here.

As an aside what I really hoped would happen to DTX pre-covid would be for the Macys to get re-branded as a bloomingdales which i think would have led to more upscale retailers on Washington Street - there's a lot of great stuff on that corridor from the Ritz up but the retail kind of stinks and I don't know how that changes without a big anchor to drive better retail. Can't see macy's doing anything with that location now though, and honestly not sure what the future holds for that spot if they ever went out since the building can't get redeveloped (as far as i know) with the data center sitting above them.
I appreciate that you can take a good-natured ribbing! And yes, you're right, no way the Macy's building is getting redeveloped; the data center there is just too insanely profitable, I have to think, judging by the dozens of employees you frequently see having smoke breaks outside on Summer St. My impression based on that is they've been very successful landing major clients who've needed to offshore terabytes of data to them.

[Also check out the Google overhead view of how much rooftop mechanicals they have crammed up there, to (presumably) facilitate the cooling/exhaust needs for those thousands of servers and all the heat they emit....]

P.S. How much money do we think the developer has poured into the 11 Bromfield development proposal already, given that this is the 3rd iteration now? Could it be as much as $20-$30 million, when you consider the architects, engineers, design consultants, staffers dedicated to BPDA interactions, etc., etc.?!?
 

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