|We snapped The Abbey Group president David Epstein, who's jumped into the hot multifamily market with 1282 Boylston St, a 330k SF mixed-use complex in the Fenway featuring 210 rental apartments. (And yes, as co-owners of the Celtics, David says this could be a championship year.) Last week, the firm—which is run by David and his brother Robert Epstein and their children—notified the BRA that hopefully late next year, they'll start construction on the apartments, 100k SF of office, 18k SF of ground-floor retail, and underground parking. Also in the Fenway, The Epsteins hit one out of the park this spring with the $530M sale of the nearly 1M SF office/retail Landmark Center (that they developed in the '90s) to Samuels.
|David, here with son-in-law Shane Baron and son Jason, says that for rents at 1282 Boylston they?d like to find the ?sweet spot? just below the top of the market. The price was right for the one-plus-acre site. They traded with the Red Sox for a parking lot that Abbey owned next to Fenway Park. (Does the Abbey group have a star shortstop to trade to the Sox?) David tells us that Abbey wants to bolster its rental portfolio, since apartments are a ?very reliable long-term investment.? People always need a place to live. In Boston, where land is scarce and permitting involved, it helps to be educated in the Boston approval process. It seems that Abbey Group has an advanced degree.
|David, with marketing director and niece Audrey Epstein Reny, says there's apartment financing because Boston fundamentals are sound, there's little new product, vacancies are low, and rents are edging up. Also, it's a good time to buy for construction. Meanwhile, thanks to Abbey, Samuels and other developers, the Fenway has been transformed from a sea of parking lots to a popular live/work/play neighborhood. Abbey?s last rental project, Landmark Square, was completed in ?01 and is fully occupied. Its last condo, the luxury 45 PROVINCE downtown, opened in '09 and is 40% committed. And oh, the Celtics … David says with hard work, the title is a ?viable goal.?