Case Study: 144 Old Colony Avenue, South Boston 06/28/23

case study burns

South Boston continues to be one of the city's hottest neighborhoods for new development. Burns Realty & Investments, a fully integrated real estate services firm, calls the neighborhood home and recently completed the development, construction, and lease-up of a mixed-use project at 144 Old Colony Avenue. The group's holistic integration across all aspects of the project allowed for on-time and on-budget delivery. 


Description of Project: A 15,000 GSF mixed-use building in South Boston comprising 19 compact rental units and 1 commercial unit, 2 at-grade parking spaces, and 8 mechanical parking lift spaces.

Project Team:   

Developer: Boston Pinnacle Properties
Architect: Tim Johnson Architect
General Contractor: Synergy Construction Group
Broker: Burns Realty & Investments
Property Manager: BRI Management

A look inside the commercial space at 144 Old Colony Ave., home to The Dirty Italian, opening soon.

Project Design/Permitting Schedule: 24 Months 

Project Construction Schedule: 20 Months

Unique Permitting Aspects of Project:

  • Compact Living Program – allows the creation of units smaller than standard metro sizing to provide housing supply to those who do not need much living space. Many young and older urban professionals do not need nor require an overwhelming amount of living space. This program permits developers to create high-density buildings while maintaining a relatively small footprint that would otherwise be required for buildings to contain the same amount of traditionally sized units.

  • South Boston Dorchester Avenue Plan – City initiative to “preserve, enhance, and grow” the surrounding infrastructure and housing stock. This permitting effort was undertaken in harmony with this plan.

  • Article 80 Project/Small Project Review – applies to projects with a minimum of 20,000 SF or 15 dwelling units; For this review process, the BPDA becomes involved which allows various city departments to give feedback on the project regarding the design and appearance, the level of affordability offered, and the feasibility of the project’s mobility infrastructure.

Unique Construction Aspects of Project:

  • All-electric building

  • Harding Steel mechanized parking

  • Specialty retail space

  • Façade: cream terracotta paneling

  • Second-floor gym space overlooking Old Colony Ave.

Funding/Finance Highlights:

  • First Boston Capital Partners: 144 Old Colony is the first deal done with the Private Lending Branch of the Grossman Companies

  • Debt & Equity for 144 Old Colony were arranged by FinanceBoston

LEED/Healthy Building/Sustainable Construction Aspects:

  • All electric project 

  • We have a shared electric vehicle available for building occupants to use

  • All wood construction instead of traditional podium construction

Delivery of Project to Market:

  • Transformer Conundrum: Just two months before the completion of our building, we faced an unexpected setback when we discovered that the three transformers essential for our electrical power were unavailable. The scorching temperatures experienced during the summer caused multiple emergencies across the city the depleted Eversource's stock. This news necessitated an all-hands-on-deck approach, as our team embarked on the challenging task of reaching out to numerous transformer manufacturers and distributors across the country. Countless phone calls were made as we diligently searched for a viable solution. After an arduous effort, we finally found a solution that would enable us to acquire the necessary transformers. With this obstacle overcome, we were able to proceed and successfully complete the construction of the building. The experience highlighted the importance of resilience, teamwork, and resourcefulness in overcoming unexpected challenges and achieving our goals.

  • QA/QC Margarita Punch List Party: Team members from property management, brokerage, and development came together to celebrate the temporary Certificate of Occupancy and inspect each unit for imperfections, proper functioning of appliances and lighting, and other items that needed fixing.

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The residences at 144 Old Colony feature modern kitchens, hardwood floors, and in-unit W/D.