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Multifamily Brokerage Closes $500M New England Portfolio Sale, Opens New Boston Office

Brokerage firm Melnick Real Estate Advisors has kicked off an expansion into the Boston region with the $500M sale of six communities across New England. 

The Bethesda, Maryland-based firm represented the seller, AIR Communities, and was the sole broker in the portfolio sale to Eagle Rock Properties. The portfolio totals 1,314 units spanning from Brighton to Framingham to Nashua, New Hampshire. 

The Waverly apartment community in Boston's Brighton neighborhood, part of the six-property portfolio that AIR Communities sold.

The brokerage firm's founder and president, Scott Melnick, told Bisnow that the deal represents the start of its larger expansion in the region.

Melnick is opening a new Boston office at 855 Boylston St. To lead the office, it has hired Martin Hansberry, who previously worked at Grandbridge Real Estate Capital, Berkadia and Cushman & Wakefield.

“You want to expand the right way, and it was the perfect fit,” Melnick said of hiring Hansberry. 

The portfolio sale was announced last week by AIR Communities, a Denver-based apartment REIT, but it didn't disclose the buyer or the locations of the properties. Melnick shared the details of the massive portfolio with Bisnow:

  • Waverly, a 103-unit property at 9 Bronsdon St. in Boston's Brighton neighborhood, was built in 1970. 
  • Bayberry Hill Estates, a 424-unit property at 50 Dinsmore Ave. in Framingham, was built in 1971. 
  • Georgetown I, a 207-unit property at 5 Georgetown Drive in Framingham, was built in 1964.
  • Georgetown II, a 72-unit property at 640 Worcester Road in Framingham, was built in 1979.
  • Vantage Point, a 96-unit property at 100 Vantage Terrace in Swampscott, was built in 1987.
  • Bay Ridge at Nashua, a 412-unit property at 25 Bay Ridge Drive in Nashua, New Hampshire, was built in 1984.
A map showing the six-property portfolio that AIR Communities sold to Eagle Rock Properties.

Melnick said the deal was a success because AIR was able to find the right buyer. Eagle Rock — a New York-based firm that owns and manages apartments in the Northeast and mid-Atlantic — provided its own equity, allowing it to move forward quicker than if it had to raise money from investors for the deal, Melnick said. 

“In today’s environment with interest rates going up, you want a buyer that will be able to lock their interest rate and don’t need to go find their investors first. They already have the money,” Melnick said.

Melnick, a multifamily broker with over 30 years of experience leading sales teams at TranswesternJLL and Berkadia, founded his own firm in 2018, starting off by brokering deals in the D.C. and Baltimore markets.

In February 2021, the firm opened its second office in Miami, led by Jenny Arias May and Scott Koch. Melnick was interested in the Miami area because of investor activity and it would act as an extension of the firm’s East Coast presence. The firm also has an office in Austin, Texas.

Melnick Real Estate Advisors founder Scott Melnick speaking Nov. 29 at Bisnow's BMAC East event in D.C.

Melnick said he saw the same vision with a Boston office, and he said the Eagle Rock deal was the perfect introduction into the market. 

“This deal helped be the catalyst,” Melnick said. “The buyer and seller of this transaction are the buyers and sellers of exclusive listings that we are working on in Washington and Florida. It shows the commonality.” 

Melnick said that investors want to be in the Boston area and that the market fits well with the firm's skill set. 

“Boston has lots of institutional owners, but then it has a lot of families that have owned things for 50 years, so our private capital expertise in 1031 really helps with those types of owners,” Melnick said.

Melnick said his firm has more deals underway in other parts of New England. He said he aims to hire around four Boston-based brokers to work on deals in the region. 

“Some of the transactions that will be starting first will be in Connecticut, it’s not just Massachusetts or New Hampshire,” Melnick said.

Melnick said he plans to expand to more markets in the future. He believes his business will remain strong in the wake of an economic downturn because multifamily assets are stable, and he focuses on selling deals that have debts a buyer can assume. 

“A lot of our competitors are cutting back staff, especially the public brokerage firms, but we are expanding," Melnick said. "These times are actually great for our skills and expertise."