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Newbury Buzz
For Boston shoppers, Back Bay is the place and Newbury Street is at its heart. Its eight blocks of 19th century brownstones and the 45 stores and restaurants that opened in the past year combine old and chic. For The Newbury Line?s Vin Norton and Mike Jammen, who purchased 26 of the street?s 200 buildings since ?06, there's more to come: They're financing acquisitions through two funds valued at $450M—so far they've spent $148M.
Newbury Buzz
Yesterday, we snapped Vin and Mike who are renovating 177 Newbury St. on spec and planning to buy 20 more buildings in the next five years. So far in 2010, they've bought four and paid 30% less than the seller, a NY REIT, did in ?07 when it outbid them for the properties. ?We're cap-rate and cash-flow buyers,? Mike tells us. Any building whose cash flow has stagnated is worth 10-30% less than it was three years ago. The Newbury Line is a JV with Taurus Investment Holdings. Rents, meanwhile, are ?stronger than they've been since ?08,? he added.
Newbury Buzz
You can spend a day on Newbury Street: sip a latte, shop, walk down to the Public Garden and over to Charles Street. It's about 95% occupied and the big Back Bay malls, the Pru and Copley Place, are full. Newbury Street vacancies often are anomalous cases—a long empty space or a landlord reaching for higher rents, said Colliers Meredith & Grew's Jonathan Martin. The shopper demographic is a mix: Cartier fans flock to the first blocks and hip Diesel devotees to the last ones where Converse will open later this year. Many new stores signing leases are coming from abroad, especially the UK, like Ted Baker and Jack Willis, Jonathan said.
Basique?s Sheri Falk
Rents may be pricey but the location is worth it, said Basique?s Sheri Falk, who opened her French-inspired shop here in January. For her, the downturn lowered rents enough to ?open the door? to a Newbury Street presence. The street?s ?quaint charm is a perfect backdrop.? She opened her first store in NYC?s Greenwich Village eight years ago. Other Newbury Street newcomers: Ben Sherman,All Saints, Madewell, and Hotel Chocolat.