Jason Weissman
Founder and Senior Partner, Boston Realty Advisors
Age: 44
Industry experience: 25 years 

Boston Realty Advisors recently concluded a year of major milestones including the selection of a new Back Bay headquarters and significant growth of its business lines and workforce. The Boston-based real estate brokerage and advisory firm acquired 136 Newbury St. last year for $7.6 million and is renovating the 19th-century structure in preparation for a spring relocation. During 2022, its Advisors Living residential arm added 114 new residential brokers, bringing its total to 194, while completing $1.4 billion in annual sales volume comprising 1,354 single-family and condominium sales. On the commercial side, Boston Realty Advisors completed 165 leases totaling over 465,000 square feet. Jason Weissman founded the company in 2001 and manages its investment sales and capital markets platform. 

Q: What was your original vision and business plan for Boston Realty Advisors?
A: I had a vision that we were going to build a vertically integrated real estate services company that had both residential and commercial brokerage under one roof. Early on, people had the critique of saying, “Hey, stay in your lane,” but really it’s been the diversification of our service that has been key to our success to make it through down markets. We’re deeply focused on real estate brokerage services, and we have added property management. Real estate professionals have choices in the marketplace where they want to grow their career and we have a very advisor-centric business that gives them an amazing platform. Everyone knows in the brokerage business that it’s the broker and adviser who is really representing you. You have to have great salespeople because it’s a people-focused business. Given the strong headwinds in Q3 and Q4 that every brokerage company experienced, we outperformed the marketplace significantly. Merit McIntyre, the former president of Coldwell Banker [in New England], joined Advisors Living as president and CEO in 2021, and Bill McIntyre later in 2021 as chief financial officer. 

Q: What do other residential brokerages’ recent difficulties mean for BRA’s recruiting strategy?
A: We have significant recruiting from all of the major brokerages. Anywhere Real Estate lost $453 million in Q4. We’ve been careful and disciplined in our growth strategy, and our commercial brokerage has former CBRE and JLL sales team members. We have a good representation from people who choose to be with a local ownership. We’re providing fair compensation programs and I think people are joining us because of the solid infrastructure, the experienced management team that cares about their success and is committed to them. Thank God we’re not reporting on a quarterly basis and having to manage quarter-by-quarter. 

Q: What was the impetus for your pending relocation to Newbury Street?
A: We loved our 745 Boylston location, but the whole key to us is the success and vibrancy of Newbury Street. It’s booking the trends and retail has come back strong. When our people come into the office, they want to be in an incredible environment. It’s a phenomenal building, and we’re doing a historic renovation of the exterior bringing the building back to its initial luster. We wanted to make the commitment that we own our headquarters, but we are a hub-and-spoke company. We had a beautiful opening of our Sudbury office, and we have opened up in my hometown of Newton – an office in Waban. 

Q: What criteria do you look at when evaluating locations for a new office?
A: For the home sales business, it’s all based on the professionals and the quality of the adviser talent that we can find in the community. We build our offices around that talent, and if we can build enough critical mass. 

Q: What does leasing activity in Back Bay say about the direction of the urban retail market?
A: Retail rents have upticked significantly since COVID and on Newbury Street, there are some incredible tenancies that have been created over the past 12 months. There is an array of deals we know that are happening at year-over-year [rent] increases to 2022.  

Q: What types of transactions are generating the most volume in investment sales?
A: In investment sales, from $1 million to $25 million is our sweet spot of transactions, and we recently sold the Green District [multifamily development site in Marlborough] for $150 million. Small buildings have been selling well. There’s a lot of liquidity in that space. But we are speaking to a lot of lenders right now, and evaluating and analyzing the valuations on loan pools, and there will be some REOs in the marketplace. Our platform will be very much aligned to assist lenders, given our in-house platform, as we think about business lines for us in 2023 and 2024. 

Weissman’s Top Five Favorite Artists: 

  1. Kenneth Noland 
  2. Anselm Kiefer 
  3. Alberto Giacometti 
  4. Amedeo Modigliani 
  5. Yves Klein 

Seizing a Growth Opportunity in a Turbulent Market

by Steve Adams time to read: 3 min