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Famed John Brewer’s Tavern Paired with Waltham Walgreens Sold as Two Building Deal For $10.4M

October 26, 2021 — By John Keith
15-21 Main Street and 39 Main Street, Waltham MA

WALTHAM — A pair of properties along Route 20 in Waltham have sold for a combined $10.4 million courtesy of a deal brokered by the principals of the Lynn-based, national firm, Horvath & Tremblay. With a Walgreens pharmacy as one tenant and the famed John Brewer’s Tavern as the other, the new owner is poised to make a healthy profit on its investment.

Seller and buyer were both pleased with the deal, according to HT Executive Vice President Robert Horvath. “This was a well-bid deal with lots of offers,” Horvath told the Real Reporter regarding the all-cash deal that closed with a capitalization rate of around 6.3 percent.

Buyer WJBC LLC out of Winchester gained ownership of the two properties from a seller partnership led by Newton-based Mark Development, which had owned 15-21 Main Street since 1997 and 39 Main Street since purchasing it at a foreclosure auction in 1995, and which is now expanding from its original focus on retail-anchored projects to mixed-use developments. Horvath and HT co-founder Todd Tremblay represented the seller and procured the buyer in both deals, which are listed on separate deeds.

Walgreens, located at 21 Main Street, has been at the property for more than 22 years and just exercised two of its renewal options early. The health and beauty aids retailer has 12 years remaining on its double-net lease with five (5), 5-year renewal options. John Brewer’s Tavern, located at 39 Main Street, has been at this location since opening in 1998 and has 1+ years remaining on their triple-net lease, leaving the new owner with several options for the site at the end of 2022.

According to the listing sheet, Walgreens has had strong and increasing reported sales at this location: $3.1 million in 2017-2018, $3.3 million in 2018-2019 and $3.4 million in 2019-2020, while John Brewer’s reported sales at this location of $3.1 million in both 2018 and 2019.

The location of the properties definitely appealed to the buyer, strategically located at the intersection of Main Street (US Route 20) and Warren Street in a high-density residential neighborhood just 1.5-miles from downtown Waltham and less than 3 miles from the Mass Pike and I-95/Route 128.

According to the 2020 US Census, 180,000 people live within 3 miles of the properties with an average $157,000 household income. Brandeis University and Bentley University are both located in Waltham and have a combined enrollment of more than 11,100 students and 1,000 faculty and staff members. More than 100,000 employees work within a three-mile radius.

“We do hundreds of deals every year and any time we have a net lease listing in the Route 128 area, it moves fairly well, with lots of interest due to the location,” said HT’s Horvath.

As of August 31, 2020, Walgreens operated approximately 9,021 drugstores across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Its corporate parent (and lease guarantor) Walgreens Boot Alliance, is a publicly-traded company and reported 2019 sales of $136.9 billion, up 4.1% year-over-year. WBA has a presence in nine countries with approximately 13,000 stores across the U.S., Europe, and Latin America, and employs more than 315,000 people, including nearly 35,000 pharmacists.

“The Brewer Tavern” was originally located across the street from where John Brewer’s Tavern is today. John Brewer operated the Tavern from 1770 until the early 1780’s when he sold it. Part of the original building remained standing until 1922 when it was torn down. The current owners have operated the restaurant and bar since 1998 and have expanded to both Malden and Newton.

The Horvath & Tremblay pipeline continues to include its bread-and-butter private-client sales of single-tenant properties with triple-net leases, mixed-use and multifamily developments, and 1031 exchanges.

Among deals of note in the drugstore arena are Bob Horvath and Todd Tremblay and Hobart Hare’s April 2021 sale of a CVS Pharmacy in West Warwick for $6.835 million at a 5.17 percent cap rate and Peter Butler and Brendan Conway’s sale of the brand-new Walgreens in Woburn, which traded for $11 million at a 5.37 percent cap rate. Horvath & Tremblay represented the seller and procured the buyer on both deals.

Bob Horvath