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Journeying Through Boston's Real Estate Icons: Legacy, Innovation, and the Essence of ESG

Updated: Nov 8, 2023

Author: Aayush Puri (MRE' 24)

Editor: Etta Madete (MRE' 24)

Trek Leader: Ellie Sheild (MRE' 24, MUP' 23)

The Harvard Alumni Real Estate Board (HAREB) organized a real estate trek in Boston, MA, for students from Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard Business School. During this trip, we got a hands-on experience, which helped us apply the theoretical knowledge we’ve gained in our classes.

TA Realty

Harvard University students at TA Realty, Boston, MA

Seeing TA Realty’s work up close, it’s obvious they’re not just playing the game; they’re here to change it. They manage their properties with a mix of moves and bold strategies that other companies could learn from. Their strong track record isn’t just numbers on a page but proof that they know what works in real estate, and here’s how they do it well. TA Realty, a prominent figure in the real estate industry since its establishment in 1982, is known for its focused and entrepreneurial approach. Over the years, the company has built an impressive track record by managing, acquiring, or investing in assets totaling over $30 billion. What distinguishes TA Realty is its diverse range of investment strategies, which include value-add closed-end, core open-end, core + open-end, and customized separate accounts, providing a well-rounded approach to real estate investment. With a substantial $10 billion in assets under management (AUM) and currently managing $3.9 billion, their financial foundation is robust, boasting $2.9 billion in gross asset value and $3.9 billion in gross assets. TA Realty combines the agility of a boutique firm with the backing of domestic and international institutional capital, making them both adaptable and resilient. With a vast portfolio that spans over 1,000 properties in industrial, office, multifamily, and retail sectors across more than 30 major US markets, TA Realty’s extensive experience contributes significantly to the broader real estate landscape while shaping its own success.

CrossHarbor Capital Partners

Harvard University students at CrossHarbor Capital Partners, Boston, MA

Kevin Stone, a dynamic representative of CrossHarbor Capital Partners, painted a picture of passion and vision. Their approach showcased a unique blend of traditional methods punctuated with fresh perspectives, especially noticeable in their attitude towards market dislocations. CrossHarbor Capital Partners, founded in 1993, manages a range of fund strategies that cater to a diverse clientele, including esteemed endowments, foundations, pension plans, financial institutions, family offices, and sovereign entities. The firm’s track record boasts successful investments totaling over $29.0 billion, navigating a diverse portfolio of over 360 transactions, and managing Assets worth $8.7 Billion. CrossHarbor’s session left us with the impression of a firm that dances on the edge of real estate innovation, deftly balancing the tried-and-true with the groundbreaking. The firm’s agility in responding to market dislocations is like a skilled surfer riding the waves of change, positioning them as a guiding light for how agile and strategic thinking is the cornerstone of enduring success. At CrossHarbor, there’s a sense of excitement that you can’t ignore. They have this fresh way of looking at real estate that makes you think they’re on to something big. Their approach to shaking things up and finding the best deals, even when the market’s tough, shows they’re not just following trends, but instead, they’re here to set them, and we’re excited about it!

ESG in the Spotlight: More Than Just a Checkbox

Diving deeper into Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations, it became clear that while both firms recognized its importance, their approaches varied. The need for embedding ESG at the core of real estate decision-making is paramount. As real estate professionals in the making, our challenge is to intertwine these principles with industry practices seamlessly. When it comes to ESG, TA Realty and CrossHarbor don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk. Their work shows that they’re serious about making real estate better for the planet and people. It’s not just about checking boxes, but it’s clear they believe that doing good is just as important as doing well, which really stands out in today’s world.

As I reflect on this journey through Boston, it’s evident that the real estate industry stands at a pivotal crossroads. Merging the wisdom of yesteryears with today’s innovations, especially in the realm of ESG, is the way forward. As we continue our academic pursuits, I’m filled with hope and excitement for the future we’re set to shape.



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