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A Compendium of Property & Capital News
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Oct 19
A Compendium of Property & Capital News

Horvath & Tremblay Tout Location of 28-Unit Watertown Sq. Apartment Listing

September 26, 2019 — By Joe Clements
17 Winter St., Watertown MA

WATERTOWN—When it comes to the latest inner suburban exclusive by Horvath & Tremblay’s Multifamily team, one can get there from here—and stay a while, too.

Tenant accessibility is a major selling point of 17 Winter St., concurs HT Senior VP John Pentore, Executive VP Dennis Kelleher and he leading a team launching the 28-unit listing today on behalf of a family partnership whose patriarch spent $560,000 on the building back in April 1974 when the four-story, brick-faced structure was only seven years old. The family group which has kept 17 Winter St. an enduring, over-performing residential property through the past 45 years is now pedding the asset via HT with an asking price of $9.5 million.

The L-shaped, garden-style apartment building comprising 26,300 sf is situated along a tiny side street behind Watertown Square’s CBD on a well-manicured 27,000-sf parcel providing off-street parking for 33 vehicles, an element embraced by mobile tenants who also benefit from quick access to the Massachusetts Turnpike, Mount Auburn Street to Harvard Square, Route 20 to Waltham and connections to Storrow Drive.

“It’s where Cambridge and Newton meet Watertown and everything that is going on there today,” observes Pentore, his firm quite familiar with the community after harvesting a smaller-yet-similar property at 777 Mount Auburn St. featuring a supreme position bordering Cambridge and off-street parking. There, HT delivered $2.7 million—$337,500 per unit—peddling the property in July 2018 as previously detailed by Real Reporter.

For people sans automobile, HT notes Watertown Square is the starting point of multiple bus lines connecting directly to Boston’s Back Bay and Financial District, plus neighboring communities in Arlington, Belmont and Waltham and even the MBTA Red Line in Harvard Square. “Public transportation is really strong,” Pentore says, that element important to college students and millennials.

At the same time, HT marketing materials trumpet another popular notion—the LWP trend where everything is right at hand. “Seventeen Winter St. is situated in a fantastic urban infill location . . . immediately adjacent to the Watertown Square commercial district,” HT outlines, the overview citing “an amenity rich area with numereous retailers, restaurants and nightlife options” sufficient to have over 33,300 residents living around Watertown Square and make it among the urban ring’s most thickly settled neighborhoods.

Among the dining options available within a short walk of 17 Winter St. are Not Your Average Joe’s, Dunkin’, Subway and numerous local foodie mainstays, plus retailers ranging from CVS and a Partners walk-in-clinic to the UPS Store and financial institutions such as Bank of America, Eastern Bank and Santander. The Watertown Public Library is just 100 feet away from 17 Winter St., Stop & Shop Supermarket and Watertown High School are each barely a half-mile away, and the transformational Arsenal Yards mixed-use development sporting scores of dining, entertainment and shopping venues is exactly one mile east.

As for the ‘W’ in LWP, there are over 425,000 employees working within a three-mile radius and Watertown itself features the likes of AthenaHealth, Doble Engineering, Exergen Corp., Harvard Business Publishing, Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates, NESN and Selecta Biosciences. The community is also growing as a natural spillover for companies being pushed out of Boston and Cambridge by skyrocketing lab and office rents, promising even more job opportunities going forward.

“It’s nice because Winter Street is a quiet residential street with no on-street parking, but anything you need is right outside your door,” Pentore notes, the combination attractive enough to command upwards of $1,725 per month for a one-bed, one-bath apartment; $1,895 for a two-bed, one-bath unit; and $1,995 for layouts with three bedrooms and one bath. The asset has “an excellent occupancy history,” according to HT, one factor credited to the stable management having kept 17 Winter St. “in fantastic condition” and complement elements including balconies and outdoor patios for many units and other highlights such as air-conditioning and dishwashers.

“Management has been superior,” says Pentore, praising the operators for infusing capital into the property that already benefits from a low-maintenance brick exterior. Besides replacing all windows in the building, the landlord has re-carpeted and re-painted common areas, engaged professional landscaping services and installed new technoogy to improve boiler efficiency.

If it attains the $9.5 million asking rate, 17 Winter St. would trade at about a 4 percent capitalization rate, a taut metric yet a deal Pentore maintains bidders will be drawn to thanks to strong market metrics and the asset itself, “a legacy property that is stablized and well-maintained in an excellent location” which Pentore says is likely to whet the investment appetite of local and regional buyers favoring core product, but also those from the national and possibly global realms. “This is going to be broadly marketed,” Pentore stresses. “We think is has a (wide-reaching) appeal.”

Yet another carrot in the ointment would be value-add elements that could be realized through “programmatic upgrades” to the apartments which can increase rental rates and gross income, HT explains, and also from converting space the landlord currently uses to run company offices. “The potential exists to increase the (rental) unit counts, combine the space with the apartments above, utilize the space for management or add an on-site fitness facility and/or amenity room for tenants,” relays the HT informational package.

John Pentore Dennis Kelleher