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Harold Brown Steps Down As Chairman Of The Hamilton Co.

The Hamilton Co. Chairman and CEO Harold Brown and R Brown Partners owner Ronald Brown, Harold's brother

At 93 years old, Harold Brown thinks the time is right to pull back from his workload at the company he has helmed for 64 years.  

“It’s time,” Brown told Bisnow in an email. “Our company is in great shape. We have great people in place, and I’m always around to help out.”

With successors in place, Brown is stepping down from The Hamilton Co., the company he has run for more than six decades.  The developer bought his first property, at 1292 Commonwealth Ave., in 1954 for $20K. He has since acquired over $2.3B in commercial and residential real estate, largely geared toward workforce and student housing. 

While he may have started his career at a time when residential units in Boston traded at $20K, Brown has marveled at how the average cost per unit to develop in the region in 2018 is closer to $450K. He hasn’t minced words over finding a solution. 

“How can you bring it down? You can’t. You can’t avoid it,” Brown told Bisnow in March. “It’s like death and taxes.”

The Hamilton Co. still managed to offer rent relief thanks to its early investment in areas like Allston. The developer promised its workforce housing project at 79-83 Gardner St. would offer 200 units at 30% less than the price seen in the Seaport thanks to its ability to subsidize rents on property it already owned. 

“If you have to buy the land, you can’t do it,” he said in November. “We can rent them and still make out.”

Brown made a point of telling Bisnow that, while he is taking a back seat at the company he has captained for decades, this is in no way a retirement. He will retain the title of chairman emeritus while his longtime associate Guilliaem Aertsen will succeed him as The Hamilton Co. chairman. Brown’s son and Hamilton Co. Chief Operating Officer Jameson Brown will serve as co-CEO with Chief Financial Officer Andy Bloch.

CORRECTION, SEPT. 18, 5:45 P.M. ET: Ronald Brown is the brother of Harold Brown. A previous version of this story used an incorrect name.