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A Compendium of Property & Capital News
Jan 16
A Compendium of Property & Capital News

Campanelli, Thorndike Sell 188 Norton Apartments to Jones Street Via JLL Exclusive for $53.6M

March 22, 2018 — By Joe Clements
East Main Apartments, Norton MA

NORTON—It seems Upland Woods was not a fluke. Barely four months after reaping $93 million selling 262 new first-class apartments in Norwood, a joint venture of Campanelli and Thorndike Development has harvested another freshly minted rental community in south suburban Boston, this outcome a $53.6 million consideration. Totaling 188 units, East Main has been purchased by Jones Street Investment Partners of Hingham with a $38.5 million mortgage from the Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund Board.

In each separate negotiation, the mulitfamily team at JLL Capital Markets advised Campanelli/Thorndike and the contingent led by JLL Managing Directors Michael Coyne and Travis D’Amato also procured both buyers, an affiliate of Jefferson Apartment Groups paying all cash for Upland Woods this past October. In Norton, JSIP had to overcome a broad stripe of competition to win the day, D’Amato tells Real Reporter, suitors including a lineup of regional investors and institutional capital who collectively drove pricing above $285,000 per unit.

“It was a great execution for a property that was extremely attractive to investors,” recounts D’Amato, the assignment also featuring JLL Vice Presidents Kevin Gleason and Brendan Shields in a fast-paced exclusive first unveiled by Real Reporter in November, a process launched right on the heels of 274 East Main St.’s completion by Campanelli Construction on a 14.7-acre site the JV had tied up in June 2015 for $2.0 million.

Located right off Interstate 495 and within five miles of I-95, East Main amenities include a fitness center and yoga room, expansive clubhouse, swimming pool and outdoor kitchen with grills and a lounge plus fire pit. The lease-up program has moved almost as quickly as the sales process, occupancy at 90 percent when changing hands.

According to principals at Campanelli and Thorndike, the approach to the two assets already sold and a third under construction in Ashland is to deliver an uncompromising level of design and materials but do so without a cookie-cutter mindset. “Each of our communities is uniquely designed with a specific tone in mind,” explains Campanelli General Partner Dan DeMarco, the East Main vision fomenting “a rustic vibe that embraces the history of the land while creating a dynamic, youthful energy appealing to a wide demographic.”

Thorndike Development President Lloyd Geisinger concurs with that assessment, deeming “thoughtful urban planning” as a cornerstone to the firm’s lengthy track record in residential construction, and in New England, “we are conditioned to value neighborhoods,” he observes. “Walking down a tree-lined street, flanked by homes with front porches, makes us feel good about the place where we live. Today’s suburban multifamily projects are all about evoking that same nostalgic feeling; our plans are about the spaces in between.”

The strong outcome in Norton shows the ardor for apartments goes beyond Boston’s urban core, adds D’Amato, a reputation as one of the most desirable multifamily sectors in the US earned “due to its diverse economy, highly educated population and stringent development controls.” As a result, he explains, “multifamily product in Boston and the surrounding area boast stable occupancy and consistent rent growth.”

The limited housing stock, while now being addressed through new construction across the market, is considered especially entrenched in Norton due to a restrictive nature towards commercial development. While citing the main ingredients for the successful result at East Main being the proven sponsors and a home-spun backdrop already being warmly received by tenants, D’Amato says barriers to entry did salve fears of unfettered development. “It is all about supply and demand in our business, and that area does not have a lot of multifamily so anything there tends to perform well, especially something of exceptional quality like (274 East Main St.).”

Founded in 2014, Jones Street has burst upon New England’s multifamily arena in a campaign that has its portfolio stretching from Maine to Rhode Island and now has over 1,600 units in tow. Their platform ran right into the JLL Capital Markets crew in late 2016 when JSIP emerged victorious for another hotly contested suburban community, Union Village Apartments in Franklin, a 300-unit assemblage that JSIP took down for $64.7 million, the deal previously detailed by Real Reporter. JSIP principals include founder Matthew G. Frazier.

As the new stewards aim to bring their Norton asset to full occupancy, Campanelli and Thorndike are already offering the 398 Ashland apartments for rent with project completion slated for later this year. Says DeMarco: “We are thrilled that we have been able to deliver three robust, distinctive communities totaling 848 units to the Greater Boston area.”

Norton’s closing comes amidst a solid beginning to 2018 for JLL’s multifamily group, according to D’Amato, although much of the work is in negotiations and unable to be discussed. “We do have a lot going on right now,” he reports, with multiple closings lining up as the spring season begins to take shape. JLL is coming off a season where there were several major exclusives consummated, the Upland Woods sale to Jefferson among the biggest assignments, but the team also had a pair of seven-figure transactions headlined by $149 million for a Charlestown multifamily building.

Travis D'Amato Michael Coyne Dan DeMarco Brendan Shields Kevin Gleason