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REA
November 16, 2016  

Value-Added Shop Taps Vet, Eyes Growth

A firm that has been buying and developing value-added properties for 15 years has hired a head of acquisitions as it looks to expand its portfolio.

Eastern Real Estate of Woburn, Mass., brought aboard industry veteran Brad Takala six weeks ago to lead acquisitions nationwide. He came from JLL, where he focused on multi-family sales in Texas. Before that, he had acquisitions roles at American Real Estate of Herndon, Va., Boston firms Davis Cos. and Taurus Capital and Dallas-based Invesco Real Estate. Takala will remain based in Dallas.

Eastern’s co-founders, Dan Doherty and Brian Kelly, said they haven’t set a target for how much real estate they plan to buy. But Doherty noted that the firm has sold $1 billion of properties in the past 18 months, giving it plenty of dry powder. The firm’s remaining portfolio is worth roughly $1 billion.

“We have the capital,” he added. “We really don’t have any limitations of deal volume, and we’re not operating on a fund basis. We’ll do as many add-value opportunities that are sound.”

Doherty said that while he and Kelly largely drove the firm’s investments in the past, it’s time to have a dedicated acquisitions pro leading that effort. “We want to expand our reach in terms of acquisitions and, honestly, you’re going to have to work harder to find good opportunities,” he said.

Eastern buys, develops and redevelops across asset classes, including mixed-use projects nationwide. Its preferred markets include the Northeast, the Southeast, California and the Pacific Northwest.

A typical investment was July’s purchase of the Taj Boston hotel for $125 million from Indian Hotels of Mumbai. Eastern put together a partnership that includes Lubert-Adler Partners of Philadelphia and Boston shops New England Development and Rockpoint Group. The partnership plans to pump millions into renovations to boost cashflow and improve asset management.

Eastern was founded in 2000, two years after Doherty, Kelly and a former partner sold a suburban Boston office building for $100 million. They had bought it three years earlier for just $525,000.