BLDUP Spotlight: John Hynes
Bldup Spotlight is a weekly feature where readers get insights on developments around the city and get to know local industry experts. Our first feature is with John Hynes, the CEO and managing partner of Boston Global Investors. John and his team at BGI are currently focused on the 6 million-square-foot mixed-use Seaport Square development.
BLDUP: What is the last book you read that you would recommend as a "must read" to the CRE community? Why did you find this book so important?
John Hynes: David McCullough's "The American Spirit, Who We Are And What We Stand For" was a good, quick read this summer. A collection of McCullough's speeches over the years that re-adjusts one's focus on the US---who we are, where we are now and how we got here. Knowing and trying to learn from history is my favorite subject.
BLDUP: Do you have a daily or weekly routine that you follow? If so, how do you feel it has contributed to your success?
John Hynes: Several readings on a daily basis, try to get to the gym 3X a week....and at my age, try to play golf as often as I can.
BLDUP: During the course of your career, what was the biggest challenge you faced and how did you overcome it? What other accomplishments and or projects hold a special place in your heart and why?
John Hynes: After 38 years, there are far too many challenges to list. Every opportunity and every deal I have faced was challenging. In short, as a .250 hitter in this league, I've learned to only work on deals I believe in and not ones that are simply available.
BLDUP: What do you foresee for the future of Boston development? Are there any challenges on the horizon and how would you suggest they be handled?
John Hynes: Boston's development business will continue to grow so long as the City continues to grow. Very simply, if we have no job growth or population growth, then we'll have no development. What will limit our growth that we can do something about? Traffic and the lack of a quality public transportation system, affordable housing for the middle-class workforce and better public schools.
Traffic: Improve and expand the MBTA service and water transportation services. Incentivize businesses to create coordinated flex-time work schedules and create more short-run shuttle/trolley services in the City which are free for all.
Workforce Housing: The City and the State need to contribute surplus land into a Housing Fund. That Fund would be comprised of developers and lenders (professionals in the business) who would deploy capital from local developers and create affordable housing in the neighborhoods. For Ex: Instead of reserving 15% of a project's units for in-house affordable units, require developers to pay $300K/unit and put that capital into the Fund. Match that capital 1-to-1 with debt and use that money to create low-rise, stick built housing on the government's surplus land.
In the last 5 years, Boston has seen 10,000 new units X 15% = 1,500 in-house affordable units....not too bad.
However, had those 1,500 units been substituted with $450 million of cash, plus another $450 million of debt we could have created a $900 million Affordable Housing Fund, which could have resulted in 3 million square feet of new housing, or approx 4,000 units in the City's middle-class neighborhoods---who need the activity the most.
Best of all, the end users would be able to buy those 4,000 units for $450 million (the equity disappears...debt only) or approximately $112,000 per unit ($500/month).
Public Schools: End forced busing. Our neighborhoods are vastly more integrated today than they were in the 1970's. Take the $80 million a year we spend on busing and lever that at 4% with municipal bonds and create $2 billion of new school construction and improvements for all the neighborhoods. And let most of the kids walk to the school in the neighborhoods in which they live.
BLDUP: What upcoming projects are you most excited about?
John Hynes: Currently, we're most excited about and working on the permitting for the Motor Mart Garage project in Park Plaza for new residential. We continue to look at various deal opportunities in the area--both residential and commercial.
BLDUP: Have you had a mentor or someone who has helped you during your career? What are the most valuable lessons you learned from that person?
John Hynes: I'd like to think I learn lessons -- some good and some bad -- from everyone I meet. There are a few people who stand out who influenced me at a young age when I was most impressionable in the way they worked, their success, the way they carried themselves, their duty to family and society. Larry Bianchi from my Codman days, Jack Fallon from RM Bradley, my cousin Tom Hynes at Colliers, and Bill Duvall and Mack Pogue at Lincoln Property Company taught me a lot in ways that I still recall today. Biggest lessons: be honest, be clear, be persistent, pick your spots and re-charge frequently.
BLDUP: What do you hope for the future of your company in the next 30 years? What legacy do you want to leave?
John Hynes: I hope that BGI continues to make a difference, do good work, continue to deliver on our promises--to our investors, our partners and the City. That we maintain our reputation of having a great imagination, great collaboration, and successful execution. That we keep giving back to the community.
I suppose our legacy in the last 38 years, will be defined by all the projects we have worked on---we've leased over 6 million square feet of space (new workspace for 25,000 people in Boston), we've developed over 8 million square feet in Boston and another 25 million square feet in Songdo, South Korea (meaning new work and living spaces for another 200,000 people). And, we've created enormous value with our work ($20 billion) and added an extraordinary amount of new tax revenue to the City of Boston (real estate tax payments growing from $1.2 million a year in 2006 to over $30 million last year).
But, by far, the legacy we have is in helping people work. In the last 10 years alone, our efforts as the master plan developer in the Seaport has resulted in work for approx 16,000 people....and their families.....8,000 on-site construction workers and another 8,000 workers behind the scenes. In my view, that's the biggest reward any developer should treasure.
BLDUP: What is a favorite quote that inspires you or you strive to live by?
The Four Agreements:
"Be Impeccably Honest With Your Word,
Don't Take Things Personally,
Don't Make Assumptions,
Do Your Best"
John Hynes is the CEO and Managing Partner of Boston Global Investors. Prior to the formation of BGI in April, 2010, Mr. Hynes spent ten years as CEO and Managing Partner for Gale International and served as the driving force in the company’s aggressive expansion both domestically and in Asia. During his tenure at Gale, Mr. Hynes was the deal originator and Managing Partner for the successful development of One Lincoln (now known as State Street Financial Center) and initiated Boston’s Seaport Square project. He also secured the massive New Songdo City project, a US $35B, 100 million square foot master planned city near Seoul, South Korea, one of the largest private real estate projects in the world today.Prior to joining Gale, Mr. Hynes spent ten years as a broker with the Codman Company and RM Bradley & Co. and ten years as the local development partner with Lincoln Property Company. During that time he participated in more than three hundred leasing and sales transactions in the Boston market totaling over six million square feet and developed three office projects totaling two million square feet with an aggregate value in excess of one billion dollars.
Currently, Mr. Hynes is focusing on the development of the 6M SF mixed-use Seaport Square project which is to be completed within this decade. John remains committed to and active within the Boston and Cape Cod communities and sits on the board of several non-profits and professional organizations. John is a graduate of Harvard College where he captained the 1980 hockey team.Boston Global Investors >>