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Exclusive: Brown Closes $41M Apartment Portfolio

Moderation, or at least moderate apartment rents go a long way for The Hamilton Co. On Friday, the private owner of 5,000 apartments and 3M SF of commercial property in the region, closed on a $41M portfolio of rental apartments in Arlington and Cambridge.

That makes $170M in Hamilton multifamily buys since summer ’09, when it paid $129M for Dexter Park in the largest US property deal of that year. On Friday, we snapped Harold Brown (left), who founded Hamilton in 1954 (he’s still CEO), and company president Carl Valeri. They told us they wanted the 317-unit Brattle portfolio because it’s near public transit in a “rock solid” community where tenants’ incomes are rising. The‘70s vintage buildings are well-maintained, they tell us, and need no major renovations. Hamilton beat out about two dozen other bidders, says Harold, because they were able to do a “no due diligence” sale. He says that the company’s financial strength and relationship with Sovereign Bank enabled them to purchase without a proven cash-flow stream. Most important, he says, we could give surety of closure. “We have a 56-year proven track record.” You can benefit from every one of those years if you come to our Multifamily Summit, where Harold will be speaking. Jan. 11 (sign up now for early bird price).

Carl knows the buildings inside-out because for years he and his father Bob Valeri (owner of Valeri Construction) worked on them. He did everything from replace limestone caps on walls to install steps. While the Brattle Portfolio didn’t have the NOI to meet traditional underwriting standards, Carl's certain they can turn that around, improve occupancy and manage them more efficiently with economies of scale available to a large landlord. He also expects some rent increases—they currently range $900 for a studio to $1,600 for a two-bedroom. Some competitors for the building were Home Properties and Previtera.

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