Two Things That Get Projects Done
HYM Investment is only four years old, but it's already developing two of the region's largest projects (including the $1B, 2.4M SF Government Center Garage redevelopment, approved by the City last week). How does it do it? Relationships and capital, HYM's Tom O'Brien tells us.
In fall '08, Tom and partnersÂ Doug Manz and Paul Crisalli were working for JPI when the economy tanked and JPI's primary funder, GE, pulled the plug. After a gloomy year, the three started their company in fall '09 and gave it a personal name: HYM, which stands for one of Tom's daughter Marisol's favorite sayings. Within eight months, the developers landed three big deals: theÂ Government Center Garage; the $2.5B, 5.2M SF North Point mixed-use project with Canyon Johnson; and advising the Drew Co on its $120M Waterside Place multifamily building, where occupancy is expected in January.
Tom had worked for AIG, Tishman Speyer, the Boston Redevelopment Authority--where he rose to be the director--and JPI, where he met Doug Manz (above far right with David Bracken and Jim Gordon). In each job, he learned the real estate business and built "lasting and important" relationships. Add capital to the mix and "you can find your way to success," he says. (Capital is one of the finest cartographers for success maps.) It's no coincidence then that one of HYM's financial partners in the Government Center Garage is National Real Estate Advisors, which Tom (then BRA Director) worked with during the development of 33 Arch St.
Paul Crisalli (with Marcella Barriere, Alex Laffey and Lacey Plunkett) recalls that the six-building Government Center Garage had challenges. Early on, HYM had to convert the garage into a financially stable asset despite its 250k SF of empty office space and perennially half-empty 2,500-car parking structure. (If you back into a parking spot in an empty parking lot, but no one was there to see it, did you actually park?) Done and done. HYM created a development plan with CBT Architects and McNamara Salvia Engineers. Tom got input from his former boss, Mayor Menino, the BRA staff, and--before going public--gathered support from the neighboring communities.
The project, which will integrate a key downtown submarket back into the CBD, is complex. When construction starts in a year, the first building--a 45-story, 450-aparment tower--must be built over and around the functioning garage. Super columns will be sunk through the garage and a crane staged on New Sudbury Street. The other big challenge: financing and the market. Both have to remain strong. But Tom likes the odds. The site is five acres in the heart of downtown with great transit access. Half of the existing garage will be incorporated into the project and--pesky as the structure may be during construction--it saves the huge expense of building new parking.