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Light at the End for Allston Deal

BOSTON - As a New England staple in commercial real estate, the Hamilton Co. has been nothing if not patient over the years, and that trait is evident in the pursuit of 122 Brighton Ave., a single-story retail building mere blocks from Hamilton's headquarters at 39 Brighton Ave. Founder Harold Brown agreed to buy the asset more than two years ago, but seller Raj Dhanda - the owner of Neena's Design Lighting - asked for an extension that finally matures this month.

 "We're happy," Hamilton President Carl Valeri says of the anticipated closing. Occupied by a consignment shop, Urban Renewals, the property is secured by a 10-year lease. "They are a very successful company," Valeri says of the tenant.

A woman spoken to by phone at the shop tells The Real Reporter that the operation draws from through-out metropolitan Boston. "It's a big store," she relays, adding, "We have a sale every day." Situated next to the White Horse Tavern, there is a Sleepy's mattress unit on the other side of 128 Brighton Ave., a building already owned by the Hamilton Co.

We are a big believer in Brighton Ave.," says Valeri, whose company will have nine properties on that linear boulevard between Packard's Corner and Union Square once Dhanda's asset is in tow. Others include 2-32, 19, 23 and 80 
Brighton Ave., featuring a mix of residential and commercial space. As an asset class it is struggling, but retail in Allston's eclectic Harvard Avenue business district always perseveres, says Valeri, estimating rents reaching upwards of $20 per sf, nearly double from the highs at the start of the decade. "It's amazing," he says of the area's performance. The purchase of 122 Brighton Ave. gives Hamilton an intriguing development parcel to boot when combined with 128 Brighton Ave. 

Dhanda says he requested the flexible terms to accommodate his separate bid to buy a property in Brookline's Coolidge Corner. "I have known Harold for a long time, and he was willing to wait," Dhanda says. As it was, the Brookline 
opportunity did not materialize, but Dhanda reports he is now chasing a deal in Harvard Square.

Known regionally for distinctive radio spots pitching the Neena's Design and Lighting showrooms in Brookline, Newton and Wellesley, as well as one recently opened in Boston's Fort Point Channel, Dhanda declined to offer specifics of the sale of 122 Brighton Ave., as did Valeri. The property is valued at $1.7 million by the city of Boston, Dhanda paid $955,000 for 122 Brighton Ave in November, 1997.

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