Boston's Next Generation of Developers: SV+Partners 06/04/24

sv partners

The ever-changing real estate landscape of Greater Boston requires developers to be resourceful and agile as they adjust to countless challenges such as new energy and building codes and a tough financing market. While historically Boston has seen a group of big-name players leading the development game, a new crop of firms have started to make their impact known.  In this series, BLDUP speaks with Boston’s Next Generation of Developers to discuss how they got their start, what makes for a good project, and their thoughts on the future of development in the city.

In this installment, we chat with Co-Founders of SV+Partners (“SV+P”), John Sullivan & Jacob Vance. The pair have a combined experience of over 35+ years in the local development industry and their promising firm already owns several properties with over 600+ residential units in their development pipeline, as well as commercial and industrial sites with value-add potential. As a full-service real estate development manager and opportunistic investment firm, SV+P focuses on institutional scale and middle market properties in the Greater Boston area.

 

BLDUP: What draws you to real estate development in Greater Boston? 

SV+P: Real estate development in Greater Boston is dynamic and opportunistic given the region’s economic strength and diversity, which creates a stable environment for investment.  At the same time, varying rules and regulations, mixed reception to change and a scarcity of developable land create high barriers to entry and a challenging environment to get deals done.  Navigating this landscape requires local expertise, and we bring a combined 35+ years of experience working in this market alongside our capital partners, project teams, and the communities we work within.  The collaboration and teamwork that goes into addressing each project’s unique set of challenges is what we truly enjoy – there’s always more to learn and carry over to the next one.

BLDUP: Collectively, you have over 35+ years of experience working in the real estate industry in Boston.  Both of you spent more than a decade working together at Cabot, Cabot & Forbes developing numerous projects across the region. John, you started your career working in the construction management industry and Jacob, you worked in finance.  How have those experiences impacted what you are doing today?

SV+P: Our prior experiences have helped shape who we are and how we do things today.  For many years, we worked together in an entrepreneurial environment where we were able to identify opportunities and source new off market deals, and bring those projects forward through entitlements, design, construction and operations.  However, not all of the best opportunities are new developments, especially in this market.  We rely on our experience with acquisitions and managing assets to identify existing value-add sites as well.  We’ve been fortunate to spearhead some great projects and have developed lasting relationships along the way.  That experience allows us to source our own projects and build a portfolio, which includes a diverse mix of middle market and institutional assets across multifamily, industrial, and commercial asset classes.

BLDUP: What makes a “good project” or investment for SV + Partners?

SV+P: A “good project” is, first and foremost, one that strikes the right balance between risk and reward.  From a portfolio perspective, that means a healthy mix of singles, doubles, and of course some homeruns.  From there, our strategy is guided by a couple of core principles.  

  1. Diversified Cash Flow + Asset Types. While development projects typically yield higher absolute returns, they can take a significant amount of time and can lack cash flow during the earlier stages of their deal cycles. During the predevelopment period, markets can change and challenge assumptions that were made initially.  One of our core portfolio strategies is to acquire existing cash flowing properties across multiple asset classes, including multifamily, industrial, and commercial.  These deals have a value-add or development option component to provide upside in the future, while the existing cash flow provides mitigated downside risk.  Being nimble and able to respond to dynamic market conditions is especially important in the current environment.

  2. The local housing supply and demand imbalance has resulted in a chronic undersupply of quality housing.  We look for Class-A and B multifamily sites proximate to employment centers, institutions, and transportation nodes that will continue to be in high demand.

BLDUP: How have current market conditions (rising interest rates, construction costs) affected your pipeline?

SV+P: Today’s market conditions have certainly changed our approach. Gone are the days where you could acquire and fully capitalize deals that still had a number of uncertainties and risk. Nowadays, for our new construction projects, we need to be fully buttoned up with entitlements, largely through the design process, and have our budgets finalized before we approach the capital markets. To that end, we’re currently focused on achieving major milestones on our own, such as permits & approvals, 100% design, cost certainty and obtaining building permits. It takes discipline to be patient and move the ball up-field to make a project truly shovel-ready. 

BLDUP: What project(s) are you most excited about?

SV+P: We have two multifamily projects that will have a building permit in 2024.

  • 811 Lynnway, Lynn.  We are fully approved to build a 228-unit 100% market rate multifamily project in a submarket that has seen significant institutional activity and success in recent years.  The site is situated in an Opportunity Zone in a gateway entry location to the city just north of Revere.  The project is an earlier mover in the waterfront district, and we feel strongly that the area will continue to develop into a destination along the north shore.

  • 530 2nd Street, Everett.  We are fully approved to build an 89-unit multifamily project in one of Greater Boston’s fastest growing submarkets located just a few miles from downtown.  To date, Everett has seen mainly larger scale projects, and so we’re excited to deliver a boutique elevated product type catering to residents seeking a more intimate experience within a Class-A building.

BLDUP: What do the next few years look like for SV + Partners?

SV+P: For our multifamily sites, in 2024 we’ll be under construction on 27 units this summer and will be ready to break ground with another 317 units later this year.  In 2025 we’ll be wrapping up the design phase for an additional 256 units with a targeted groundbreaking for those projects later that year.  In parallel, we’re actively seeking to grow our portfolio with existing cash flowing multifamily, industrial, and commercial properties.  The rollout of our acquisition and development pipeline over the next couple of years allows our teams to look more holistically at our platform’s trajectory and establish long-term partnerships across multiple deal cycles.

BLDUP: You have a lot going on!  How can someone get in touch with you to learn more?

SV+P: We love what we do! Always welcome the opportunity to expand our network.  Check out our website at www.svandp.com and shoot us an email at info@svandp.com