National Development: Post-Recessionary Heavy Hitter
With three major mixed-use developments on the drawing board in '08, the five partners at National Development had lots of sleepless nights, says one of them, Jack O'Neil (above), a former Colby College hockey player. (At least you save money on pillows.) But, they were able to change plans "on the fly" (as the guys with the puck say) to put on ice The Ink Block South End, MarketStreet Lynnfield and Longwood Center, which now are all under construction. Each of the sites was purchased during an up-cycle when no one anticipated that an economic downturn would wound lenders, stall capital markets, and upend the real estate market. But, National hung-in planning for better days, Jack says.
From '08 to '10, the $200M Ink Block South End benefited from an interim lease agreement with the Boston Herald, which had owned and run its newspaper at the site. National's lease with Whole Foods for 50k SF was a big win, Jack says. (Also a win for anyone who enjoys organically grown lima beans.) Managing partner Ted Tye (above) says that construction started this summer on three buildings (delivery spring '15) with 85k SF of retail, 315 apartments and 83 condos priced from $500k to $2M. During the recession, the $200M MarketStreet slated for 395k SF of retail, 80k SF of offices, and 180 rental apartments--looked like it might never be built.
Since August at MarketStreet, 50 stores and restaurants have opened and two-thirds of the apartments have been leased, exceeding expectations. The $350M, 415k SF Longwood Center, with anchor Dana Farber Cancer Institute, is due for completion in a year. In '92, Tom Alperin (above), Ted and Jack founded the private company that does development, construction, property management and manages two real estate funds; two Tufts alum, surrounding one Colby grad. Then, Ed Marsteiner and Steve Kinsella joined as partners. Jack says they got through the recession with good relationships, patient lenders, and great partners.