Pinnacle at Central Wharf (Harbor Garage) | 70 East India Row | Waterfront | Downtown

HenryAlan

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I'm really not sure why people are so fixated on who owns it or whether or not it was a good investment. My desire is to see this building rise above the harbor, and it seems pretty likely at this point that it will. Let's talk about the architecture, the merits of the claims about flood resiliency, the engineering process, etc. For whatever reason, Chiaforo's name is strongly associated with this project. Whether it's because he owns it or because some less transparent ownership arrangement wants him to build it doesn't much matter.
 

stoweker

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It has been many a year since I took a course in agency, so my memory has surely faded, but I do distinctly recall that a principal cannot simultaneously be an agent with respect to the same transaction. In the very first pages of the PNF filing, Ram's Head is listed as the owner (the Principal) of the Harbor Garage property. just beneath that entry, Chiofaro & Co. is listed as the agent.

This discussion of Principal in Wiki is a fair outline of the difference between Principal and Agent.

Partners are principals.
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I did a little test to see if anybody reads the links I posted. The linked article in Commonwealth magazine contains this gem from Ted Oatis (in 2010), "Oatis says the garage generates an operating profit of $8.5 million a year."

Before there is a chorus of 'I told you so', operating profit is not the same as net profit, as operating expenses do not include interest payments on loans. In this instance, the operating profit would be further reduced by the interest paid to the lender in CT on the two balloon notes made to the 'joint venture' of Prudential and Chiofaro.
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Chiofaro, in the Globe obituary of his partner Ted Oatis, compared their partnership to that of The Odd Couple (a play and comedy series which antedates most posters on this board) starring Felix and Oscar. Oatis was Felix, and Chiofaro was Oscar. Neil Simon, the playwright, intended they be stereotypical opposites.

"Felix exemplifies the precision and perfection that Banker's are known for. He has very specific views about how things are to be done. Going with the flow when things change without warning makes his brain twitch with nervous discomfort. He seeks order and predictability.

"Oscar, on the other hand, is a stereotypical Merchant. He is easygoing and takes things as they come. In fact, Oscar would rather things not be orderly and consistent. What's the fun in that?

"Despite the fact that Oscar is constantly frustrated by Felix's ordered lifestyle, he is very loyal and places value, albeit unconsciously, on their friendship. Their relationship matters, and that is a hallmark trait of Merchants."
it's commercial real estate dude, EBITDA is what people look at not net profit. depreciation, amortization, and taxes don't matter. interest expense is 100% less than 8.5MM /year on a 90MM loan and if they were cranking out 8.5mm 10 years ago they're 10000000% doing better than that now through inflation, modernization of systems / reduced expense load, and fall off in interest rates. the property makes money full stop.
 

DBM

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I'm really not sure why people are so fixated on who owns it or whether or not it was a good investment. My desire is to see this building rise above the harbor, and it seems pretty likely at this point that it will. Let's talk about the architecture, the merits of the claims about flood resiliency, the engineering process, etc. For whatever reason, Chiaforo's name is strongly associated with this project. Whether it's because he owns it or because some less transparent ownership arrangement wants him to build it doesn't much matter.
Well said. I think one of the disorienting factors here [and I have no idea if it's been mentioned upthread here, but perhaps it's worth reiterating] is what an outlier Chiaforo is in this town in terms of his *developer persona.* Generally all of the other big-time Boston developers are reserved and measured in the brand-identity they project. But Chiaforo, with the platform the Globe loves to give him, is clearly in love with his image as the "brash flamboyant hard-charging maverick." Frankly it's embarrassing the way the Globe gives him a soapbox--it's in fact demeaning to both the newspaper and himself in terms of how it embellishes a stereotype that masks his complexity as a regular human being. Now, whether or not there's an inverse proportion to the ink gushed over him in the broadsheet, and the amount of points he actually has--or the amount of developer prowess he actually still possesses, having not put up a tower in 30 years--I don't know.
 

stellarfun

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For those who are interested in background on development of the site:

The ENF for the Harbor Garage filed with the Commonwealth, This is seven pages long, and while there is no date, it is for the initial design, so sometime in 2008-2009. No subsequent ENF has been filed to my knowledge.
http://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/eea/emepa/pdffiles/enfs/050609em/14411.pdf

The ENF contains this sentence
"A Chapter 91-compliant alternative [to the proposed building] would result in a significantly smaller project that would not only trim public benefits but would also be financially infeasible."

To propose a non-compliant project t o the state is like vigorously waving the red cape in front of the bull. The state wrote back, the reply was longer than the seven page ENF submission. I can't immediately find a link, but the reply said the ENF was inadequate, and listed items that were omitted in the ENF. The reply specifically referenced the easements held by Harbor Towers in the garage, and asked how would these easements be addressed. IIRC, it also raised FAA height limits.

The summer 2010 issue of Commonwealth magazine. This is an enlightening, informative article based on interviews with Chiofaro and Oatis, principals at the BRA, and the lead design architect .
https://commonwealthmagazine.org/economy/just-plain-ugly/

Surprisingly, the article ^^^ does not mention the parking spaces.

In essence, the joint venture of Chiofaro and Prudential bought a garage in 2007, which was encumbered by an easement in the garage for 300-400 parking spaces for HT residents until February 2022, --about 15 years.. Chapter 91 also imposed a height limit on any structure built on that land, which is classified as tidelands.

The Harbor Towers were built in the early 1970s. The towers were built half a decade before the seminal decision of the Supreme Judicial Court in 1978 affecting development of the Boston waterfront. That decision, specifically affecting Lewis Wharf, upset the development applecart. That decision specified that private ownership of tidelands was subject to the lands being used for a public purpose related to maritime commerce. I think it a fair question whether the Harbor Towers could have been built if construction was scheduled to start after the 1978 court decision.
https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/supreme-court/1979/378-mass-629-2.html
^^^ 1978 decision of the Supreme Judicial Court, features a lengthy treatise on public use of tidelands since the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The lower court decision in this case by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals, and which contains a map of the land at issue on Lewis Wharf
http://masscases.com/cases/app/6/6massappct214.html
 

stellarfun

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For those who are interested in background on development of the site:

The ENF for the Harbor Garage filed with the Commonwealth, This is seven pages long, and while there is no date, it is for the initial design, so sometime in 2008-2009. No subsequent ENF has been filed to my knowledge.
http://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/eea/emepa/pdffiles/enfs/050609em/14411.pdf

The ENF contains this sentence
"A Chapter 91-compliant alternative [to the proposed building] would result in a significantly smaller project that would not only trim public benefits but would also be financially infeasible."

To propose a non-compliant project t o the state is like vigorously waving the red cape in front of the bull. The state wrote back, the reply was longer than the seven page ENF submission. I can't immediately find a link, but the reply said the ENF was inadequate, and listed items that were omitted in the ENF. The reply specifically referenced the easements held by Harbor Towers in the garage, and asked how would these easements be addressed. IIRC, it also raised FAA height limits.

The summer 2010 issue of Commonwealth magazine. This is an enlightening, informative article based on interviews with Chiofaro and Oatis, principals at the BRA, and the lead design architect .
https://commonwealthmagazine.org/economy/just-plain-ugly/

Surprisingly, the article ^^^ does not mention the parking spaces.

In essence, the joint venture of Chiofaro and Prudential bought a garage in 2007, which was encumbered by an easement in the garage for 300-400 parking spaces for HT residents until February 2022, --about 15 years.. Chapter 91 also imposed a height limit on any structure built on that land, which is classified as tidelands.

The Harbor Towers were built in the early 1970s. The towers were built half a decade before the seminal decision of the Supreme Judicial Court in 1978 affecting development of the Boston waterfront. That decision, specifically affecting Lewis Wharf, upset the development applecart. That decision specified that private ownership of tidelands was subject to the lands being used for a public purpose related to maritime commerce. I think it a fair question whether the Harbor Towers could have been built if construction was scheduled to start after the 1978 court decision.
https://law.justia.com/cases/massachusetts/supreme-court/1979/378-mass-629-2.html
^^^ 1978 decision of the Supreme Judicial Court, features a lengthy treatise on public use of tidelands since the earliest days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.

The lower court decision in this case by the Massachusetts Court of Appeals, and which contains a map of the land at issue on Lewis Wharf
http://masscases.com/cases/app/6/6massappct214.html
Below is a link to the state's 20 page response, in July 2009, to the seven page ENF.
https://eeaonline.eea.state.ma.us/EEA/emepa/pdffiles/certificates/071709/14411enf.pdf

___________________

Edited to add:
The last five pages of the state's reply is a list of individuals/organizations that commented on the ENF. Some of the names are duplicates, suggesting they signed more than one comment letter.

Many of the usual suspects, although some usual suspects didn't comment. Two comments from Fidelity, one from Pembroke Real Estate which is Fidelity, and one from Edward C. (Ned) Johnson IV. Bloomberg states his current net worth is $10B. Ned is the younger brother of Abigail. Abigail is wealthier than Ned. Odds are that the comments from Fidelity were not in support.
 
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