Fisher College Scores $22.5M Trading Two Hub Assets Near Public Garden via CBRE/NEOctober 27, 2017 — By Joe Clements
BOSTON—The lower the number on a Back Bay street, the higher its value typically proves, or so that notion would appear true in the tony neighborhood’s latest eye-popping transaction where Fisher College has reaped $22.5 million harvesting 10-11 Arlington St. to a private investor through a CBRE/NE exclusive. The conjoined ornate properties overlooking Boston’s lush Public Garden are described by one observer as “a Van Gogh” which required in excess of $1,000 per sf to secure.
Managed by Jacqueline R. McCoy, buying entity 10-11 Arlington LLC borrowed $19.1 million from Bank of America to facilitate the purchase.
“You won’t find a better address in Boston . . . everybody wanted that deal,” asserts one market watcher of the 21,200-sf assemblage traded by CBRE/NE’s multifamiy group that is led by Simon J. Butler and Biria St. John working with other members of the full services real estate services operation including principal Mark Reardon and First VP Meredith Christensen plus Vice President Diane Harris. Calls to the brokerage shop were not returned by press deadline regarding a campaign conducted during the usually torpid summer months which nonetheless drew nearly four dozen tours from a wide stripe of suitors.
Marketing materials tout the intricate 19th century architecture framed by mansard roofs, graceful staircases, high ceilings and oversized windows, elements providing “exceptional light and unprecedented views” accompanied by an “irreplaceable location” borne of being the Public Garden’s first residential offspring. It is also the last remaining redevelopment opportunity on Arlington Street, according to CBRE, its bounded by Commonwealth Avenue and Marlborough Street.
Condominium converters, short-term rental purveyors and overseas capital were among the prospects said to have taken a run at 10-11 Arlington St. Compared to some institutions who have been famously cashing in on legacy properties in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill this decade held for generations, Fisher College had not possessed 10-11 Arlington St for very long, spending $11.75 million in March 2013 to take on an assemblage around the corner from its campus at 118 Beacon St. It is unclear what function if any the school was using the space for since the purchase, but leases there are not expected to hinder a redevelopment.
While perceived by many as a multifamly play, the landmark buildings dating to 1861 have been functioning as non-residential for some time, with Fisher buying them from the Tellus Institute, a Gotham-based non-profit focused on sustainable development advocacy that had bought it in 1993 for just $1.32 million from Sears, Roebuck & Co. That retailer had assumed control of the property in 1974 for $850,000, 10-11 Arlington St. then home to Harbridge House, the acclaimed global management firm launched by Harvard Business School taken over by Sears’ Allstate division. Other denizens of note at 10-111 Arlington St. have included the World Affairs Council and United Nations Information Center.
Silence from the parties involved in the latest trade makes it challenging to determine what the fate of 10-11 Arlington St. might be, but industry buzz suggests the buyer may intend to run a CRE investment shop from the venue but could potentially have enough room to incorporate residential as well, creating the ultimate LWP environment if proven true, with the landscape featuring the entire stretch of Newbury Street two blocks removed. The physical nature of the buildings is reportedly amenable to a flexible layout that could also accommodate a boutique hotel or be attractive as another commercial use. “It’s intriguing,” one market watcher says of the pending future for what CBRE had declared would be “the crown jewel in any portfolio” of the winning suitor.Meredith Christensen Diane Harris Mark Reardon