New Strategy, Youthful VP--Hamilton Ready for Next Gen
The Hamilton Co is switching things up, moving from acquisitions to development. And its turning to 28-year-old Jameson Brown, son of CEO Harold Brown, to manage its latest project.
Jameson, the VP of Acquisitions & Development, joined the family business in ’09, after graduating from Tulane. One of the largest private owners of multifamily housing in Boston, (5,000 apartments and 2M SF of commercial space in eastern Mass) Hamilton will break ground Thursday on a 48-unit building at 40 Malvern St in Allston near Boston University. By fall, it will complete construction on a 30-unit building in Back Bay (1085 Boylston St). These ground-up projects are the first for Hamilton since 2003—when it built 601 Albany St in the South End. The hot multifamily market has pushed prices for existing product high enough to justify new construction, Jameson tells us.
Jameson—who reports to the company's well-seasoned president, Carl Valeri—is also chairman of the nonprofit Hamilton Charitable Foundation. The plan is for the nonprofit to receive all of the profits from the building being developed in Back Bay. With rents starting at $2,500/month, 1085 Boylston St is likely to compete well with the luxury product in this exclusive neighborhood, where one-bedrooms start at $3,500 to $4k. Hamilton is also planning a 44-apartment building at Douglass Park in the South End. Setting its sights on Union Square, Somerville, Hamilton has acquired three contiguous commercial properties with a total footprint of 50k SF. A master plan blessed by the city calls for $1B of new development around the Square.
Jameson says that his father, who founded Hamilton 61 years ago, taught him to have a “level head” about the cyclical commercial property market; be conservative but take advantage of opportunities. Father and son are looking at a photo of Hamilton’s conversion of an old office building at 8 Winter St in Downtown Crossing into mid-market one-bedrooms that were 100% leased before construction was completed in ’13 and before DX became the cool new downtown neighborhood.
The development team at Hamilton includes John Bodin, Neal Campbell, Jameson, Andrew Bloch and Phil Vallely. Harold credits Jameson for his ideas about online marketing, targeting emerging markets like Somerville and introducing design elements like the open plan layout at 1085 Boylston St. Born into the business, Jameson was always interested in its complexity. Commercial real estate is about investment, management, design, negotiations and involvement with communities where Jameson was raised and lives. The Hamilton strategy: focus on proven neighborhoods with public transit access and modest sized projects with few stakeholders. Then it can move quickly, Jameson explains.