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A Compendium of Property & Capital News
Aug 7
A Compendium of Property & Capital News

GFI, Matteson Cos. to Buy Amrheins Site Via Newmark Listing of Famed Southie Restaurant

July 08, 2019 — By Joe Clements
Amrheins Restaurant, 80 West Broadway, South Boston

SOUTH BOSTON—A new chapter has emerged in efforts to trade the prized Amrheins Restaurant site, home of the landmark eatery being offered for sale to feed an appetite for buildable parcels amid South Boston’s unfettered development boom that had pricing for 80 West Broadway pegged at upwards of $18 million when put on the block last summer through Newmark Knight Frank.

A local investor was selected winning bidder at the outset of 2019, but City Point Capital has now apparently made way for two real estate veterans who have already spun gold in the streets mere blocks from the property promotors declare “among the best available sites remaining” in the Seaport, a notion one independent observer agrees with while also insisting that GFI and Matteson Cos. have “tied up” Amrheins with a goal of wrapping up an exchange this quarter.

“I know they have it,” the source adds in backing similar missives, that CRE professional among those praising the property and maintaining the supposed cost of entry previously portended would be “in line” with values given its desired rectangular shape, frontage along bustling West Broadway near A Street and direct access to Fort Point Channel a 10-minute walk away. The MBTA Red Line connecting to South Station, Park Street and Kendall Square in Cambridge, is even closer, Newmark points out, with Amrheins barely three blocks away from the Broadway station.

Matteson Cos. founding principal John M. Matteson did not return phone calls to Real Reporter regarding the property owned by popular restaurateur Steve Mulrey. Amrheins is the community’s oldest restaurant, its enduring presence dating to 1890 accommodating not just generations of loyal locals, but major corporate, media, political and sporting figures from throughout metropolitan Boston as well. The listing of Amhreins for sale and then selection of the initial buyer—both of which were first broken by Real Reporter—received followup stories in local, regional and national publications, the verbose coverage reflecting Amrheins’ revered place in the community, according to one source tracking the process.

There is hopeful, albeit unofficial, chatter of Amhreins remaining as part of a concept that would include ground-floor retail, but regardless of any such prospect, the restaurant is expected to remain as is for several more years while design, environmental and permitting efforts are realized by the future stewards of 80 West Broadway.

Matteson is teaming with old friend Steven E. Goodman, according to informed sources, the founder of GFI Partners 15 years ago bringing his proclivity for suburban CRE endeavors to the Seaport. Earlier this decade, GFI took on a five-story textile factory in Fort Point Channel and converted it into a mixed-use project featuring 24 residential units. Matteson Cos. joined GFI on a successful urban industrial play buying a multi-tenanted building at 420 E St. for $20.9 million five years ago last week and harvesting it in January to Centerbridge Partners of New York City for $32.5 million.

GFI and Matteson Cos. were featured this past week on therealreporter.com as sellers of two flex industrial buildings in Franklin and Taunton, that $29.2 million transaction negotiated by CBRE Capital Markets encompassing 389,000 sf of fully leased product that had undergone a capital improvements and lease-up campaign after their aggregate $26.2 million purchase in March 2015.

The pending buyers of 80 West Broadway are presently partners on two marquee residenital projects in the South End and Midtown, the former 426 units of residential and 7,500 sf of retail being developed at the erstwhile Huntington Theater Co. near Northeastern University and the latter at 47 Lagrange St., around the corner from the Boston Common and Chinatown where 176 units of luxury residential and 20 parking spots are on the dais. “They are absolutely everywhere right now,” remarks one source familiar with both companies through their diverse investment sales activities, with the firms also handling leasing and management duties.

One source pegs an Amrheins real estate deal finalizing at between “60 and 90 days,” which would be late summer, early autumn. By that account, the aim beyond performing due diligence and legal matters is to gather community input and meet with public officials to discuss design and use issues. Just where in the process both groups might be is uncertain, but several sources insist GFI and Matteson Cos. have put 80 West Broadway “under agreement” and are in active talks through Newmark.

Calls to the brokerage shop about the listing being handled through Newmark’s Multifamily Practice Group were not returned by press deadline. The team is led by Executive Managing Director Michael Byrne and Managing Director Thomas D. Greeley with Associate Casey Griffin working under the oversight of US Co-Head of Capital Markets Robert E. Griffin Jr. In prior Real Reporter articles, Greeley had deemed 80 West Broadway “among the best available sites remaining” throughout the Seaport and suitable for everything from apartments and condominiums to life sciences and office space.

Casey Griffin Michael Byrne Thomas D. Greeley Robert E. Griffin Jr.