New England Realty Associates Limited Partnership 10-K 2006
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549
the transition period from
New England Realty Associates Limited Partnership
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Registrants telephone number, including area code: (617) 783-0039
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Limited Partnership Units
(Title of class)
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes o No x
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrants knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K.
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, or a non- accelerated filer. See definition of accelerated filer and large accelerated filer in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o No x
Documents Incorporated By Reference
As of June 30, 2005, the aggregate market value of the registrants securities held by non-affiliates of the registrant was $85,485,560 based on the average bid and asked price of the registrants traded securities on such date.
(For this computation, the Registrant has excluded the market value of all Depositary Receipts reported as beneficially owned by executive officers and directors of the General Partner of the Registrant; such exclusion shall not be deemed to constitute an admission that any such person is an affiliate of the Registrant.)
NEW ENGLAND REALTY ASSOCIATES LIMITED PARTNERSHIP
TABLE OF CONTENTS
New England Realty Associates Limited Partnership (NERA or the Partnership), a Massachusetts Limited Partnership, was formed on August 12, 1977 as the successor to five real estate limited partnerships (collectively, the Colonial Partnerships), which filed for protection under Chapter XII of the Federal Bankruptcy Act in September 1974. The bankruptcy proceedings were terminated in late 1984. In July 2004, the General Partner extended the termination date of the Partnership until 2057, as allowed in the Partnership Agreement.
The authorized capital of the Partnership is represented by three classes of partnership units (Units). There are two categories of limited partnership interests (Class A Units and Class B Units) and one category of general partnership interests (the General Partnership Units). The Class A Units were issued to creditors and limited partners of the Colonial Partnerships and have been registered under Section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended (the Exchange Act). Each Class A Unit is exchangeable for 10 publicly traded depositary receipts (Receipts), which are currently listed on the American Stock Exchange and are registered under Section 12(b) of the Exchange Act. The Class B Units were issued to the original general partners of the Partnership. The General Partnership Units are held by the current general partner of the Partnership, NewReal, Inc. (the General Partner). The Class A Units represent an 80% ownership interest, the Class B Units represent a 19% ownership interest, and the General Partnership Units represent a 1% ownership interest.
The Partnership is engaged in the business of acquiring, developing, holding for investment, operating and selling real estate. The Partnership, directly or through 22 subsidiary limited partnerships or limited liability companies, owns and operates various residential apartment buildings, condominium units and commercial properties located in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. As used herein, the Partnerships subsidiary limited partnerships and limited liability companies are each referred to as a Subsidiary Partnership and are collectively referred to as the Subsidiary Partnerships.
The Partnership owns between a 99.67% and 100% interest in each of the Subsidiary Partnerships, except in six limited liability companies (the Investment Properties) in which the Partnership has a 50% ownership interest, the majority shareholder of the General Partner own between 43.2% and 47.5%, and the President and five other employees of the Partnerships management company, The Hamilton Company, own between 6.8% and 2.5%, respectively. See Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for a description of the properties and their operations. The Partnerships interest in the Investment Properties is accounted for on the equity method of consolidation in the Consolidated Financial Statements. See Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial StatementsPrinciples of Consolidation. Of those Subsidiary Partnerships not wholly owned by the Partnership, except for the Investment Properties, the remaining ownership interest is held by an unaffiliated third party. In each such case, the third party has entered into a lease agreement with the Partnership, pursuant to which any benefit derived from its ownership interest in the applicable Subsidiary Partnerships will be returned to the Partnership.
The long-term goals of the Partnership are to manage, rent and improve its properties and to acquire additional properties with income and capital appreciation potential as suitable opportunities arise. When appropriate, the Partnership may sell or refinance selected properties. Proceeds from any such sales or refinancings will be reinvested in acquisitions of other properties, distributed to the partners, or used for operating expenses or reserves, as determined by the General Partner.
The Partnership is managed by the General Partner, NewReal, Inc., a Massachusetts corporation wholly owned by Harold Brown and Ronald Brown. The General Partner has engaged The Hamilton Company, Inc. (the Hamilton Company or Hamilton) to perform general management functions for the Partnerships properties in exchange for management fees. The Hamilton Company is wholly owned by Harold Brown and employs Ronald Brown and Harold Brown. The Partnership and its Subsidiary Partnerships currently employ 39 individuals who are primarily involved in the supervision and maintenance of specific properties. The General Partner has no employees.
As of March 8, 2006, the Partnership and its Subsidiary Partnerships owned 2,377 residential apartment units in 22 residential and mixed-use complexes (collectively, the Apartment Complexes). The Partnership also owns 24 condominium units in two residential condominium complexes, all of which are leased to residential tenants (collectively referred to as the Condominium Units). The Apartment Complexes, the Condominium Units and the Investment Properties are located primarily in the metropolitan Boston area of Massachusetts.
Additionally, as of March 8, 2006, the Subsidiary Partnerships owned a commercial shopping center in Framingham, Massachusetts and commercial space in mixed-use buildings in Boston, Brockton and Newton, Massachusetts. These properties are referred to collectively as the Commercial Properties. See Note 2 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, included as a part of this Form 10-K.
Additionally, as of December 31, 2005, the Partnership owned a 50% ownership interest in six residential complexes, the Investment Properties, with a total of 606 units. See Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements for additional information on these investments.
The Apartment Complexes, Investment Properties, Condominium Units and Commercial Properties are referred to collectively as the Properties.
Harold Brown and, in certain cases, Ronald Brown, own or have owned interests in certain of the Properties and the Subsidiary Partnerships. See Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions.
The leasing of real estate in the metropolitan Boston area of Massachusetts is highly competitive. The Apartment Complexes, Condominium Units and the Investment Properties must compete for tenants with other residential apartments and condominium units in the areas in which they are located. The Commercial Properties must compete for commercial tenants with other shopping malls and office buildings in the areas in which they are located. Thus, the level of competition at each Property depends on how many other similarly situated properties are in its vicinity. See Item 7. Managements Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of OperationsFactors that May Affect Future Results.
The Second Amended and Restated Contract of Limited Partnership of the Partnership (the Partnership Agreement) authorizes the General Partner to acquire real estate and real estate related investments from or in participation with either or both of Harold Brown and Ronald Brown, or their affiliates, upon the satisfaction of certain terms and conditions, including the approval of the Partnerships Advisory Committee and limitations on the price paid by the Partnership for such investments. The Partnership Agreement also permits the Partnerships limited partners and the General Partner to make loans to the Partnership, subject to certain limitations on the rate of interest that may be charged to the Partnership. Except for the foregoing, the Partnership does not have any policies prohibiting any limited partner, General Partner or any other person from having any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any investment to be acquired or disposed of by the Partnership or in any transaction to which the Partnership is a party or has an interest in or from engaging, for their own account, in business activities of the types conducted or to be conducted by the Partnership. The General Partner is not limited in the number or
amount of mortgages which may be placed on any Property, nor is there a policy limiting the percentage of Partnership assets which may be invested in any specific Property.
The Partnership operates in only one industry segmentreal estate. The Partnership does not have any foreign operations, and its business is not seasonal. See the Consolidated Financial Statements attached hereto and incorporated by reference herein for financial information relating to our industry segment.
In 2005, the Partnership paid a distribution of $28.00 per Unit ($2.80 per Receipt) for a total payment of $4,843,216. In 2004, the Partnership paid a distribution of $27.20 per Unit ($2.72 per Receipt) for a total payment of $4,704,838. In February 2006, the Partnership approved a quarterly distribution of $7.00 per Unit ($0.70 per Receipt), payable on March 31, 2006.
During 2005, the Partnership and its Subsidiary Partnerships completed improvements to certain of the Properties at a total cost of approximately $2,600,000. These improvements were funded from cash reserves and, to some extent, escrow accounts established in connection with the financing or refinancing of the applicable Properties. These sources have been adequate to fully fund improvements. The most significant improvements were made at 62 Boylston Street, 1131 Commonwealth Avenue, Hamilton Oaks, Westside Colonial, Brookside Associates, and School Street, at a cost of approximately $132,000, $55,000, $189,000, $178,000, $72,000 and $213,000, respectively. The Partnership plans to invest approximately $2,000,000 in capital improvements in 2006.
As more fully described in Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, during 2005, the Partnership invested approximately $6,853,000 to acquire 50% equity interests in three complexes, located in Boston and Quincy, Massachusetts. These Investment Properties subsequently returned approximately $2,100,000 to the Partnership.
The Partnership has an Advisory Committee composed of two limited partners who are not general partners or affiliates of the Partnership. The Advisory Committee meets with the General Partner to review the progress of the Partnership, assist the General Partner with policy formation, review the appropriateness, timing and amount of proposed distributions, approve or reject proposed acquisitions and investments with affiliates, and advise the General Partner on various other Partnership affairs. Per the Partnership Agreement, the Advisory Committee has no binding power except that it must approve certain investments and acquisitions or sales by the Partnership from or with affiliates of the Partnership.
Two members of the Advisory Committee were elected directors of the General Partner and appointed members of the General Partners Audit Committee on March 11, 2002. See Item 10. Directors and Executive Officers of the Registrant.
The Partnerships website is www.thehamiltoncompany.com/InvestorRelations.htm. On its website, the Partnership makes available, free of charge, its annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, current reports on Form 8-K and amendments to those reports filed or furnished pursuant to Section 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. These forms are made available as soon as reasonably practical after the Partnership electronically files or furnishes such materials to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In addition, the Partnerships website includes other items related to corporate
governance matters, including, among other things, the Partnerships corporate governance guidelines, charters of various committees of the Board of Directors, and the Partnerships code of business conduct and ethics applicable to all employees, officers and directors. Copies of these documents may be obtained, free of charge, from the website. Any shareholder also may obtain copies of these documents, free of charge, by sending a request in writing to: Director of Investor Relations, New England Realty Associates Limited Partnership, 39 Brighton Avenue, Allston, MA 02134.
We are subject to certain risks and uncertainties as described below. These risks and uncertainties may not be the only ones we face; there may be additional risks that we do not presently know of or that we currently consider immaterial. All of these risks could adversely affect our business, financial condition, results of operations and cash flows. Our ability to pay distributions on, and the market price of, our equity securities may be adversely affected if any of such risks are realized. All investors should consider the following risk factors before deciding to purchase or sell securities of the Partnership.
We are subject to risks inherent in the ownership of real estate. We own and manage multifamily apartment complexes and commercial properties that are subject to varying degrees of risk generally incident to the ownership of real estate. Our financial condition, the value of our properties and our ability to make distributions to our shareholders will be dependent upon our ability to operate our properties in a manner sufficient to generate income in excess of operating expenses and debt service charges, which may be affected by the following risks, some of which are discussed in more detail below:
· changes in the economic climate in the markets in which we own and manage properties, including interest rates, the overall level of economic activity, the availability of consumer credit and mortgage financing, unemployment rates and other factors;
· a lessening of demand for the multifamily units that we own;
· competition from other available multifamily units and changes in market rental rates;
· increases in property and liability insurance costs;
· changes in real estate taxes and other operating expenses (e.g., cleaning, utilities, repair and maintenance costs, insurance and administrative costs, security, landscaping, staffing and other general costs);
· changes in laws and regulations affecting properties (including tax, environmental, zoning and building codes, and housing laws and regulations);
· weather and other conditions that might adversely affect operating expenses;
· expenditures that cannot be anticipated, such as utility rate and usage increases, unanticipated repairs and real estate tax valuation reassessments or millage rate increases;
· our inability to control operating expenses or achieve increases in revenues;
· the results of litigation filed or to be filed against us;
· risks related to our joint ventures;
· risks of personal injury claims and property damage related to mold claims because of diminished insurance coverage;
· catastrophic property damage losses that are not covered by our insurance;
· risks associated with property acquisitions such as environmental liabilities, among others;
· changes in market conditions that may limit or prevent us from acquiring or selling properties; and
· the perception of residents and prospective residents as to the attractiveness, convenience and safety of our properties or the neighborhoods in which they are located.
We are dependent on rental income from our multifamily apartment complexes and commercial properties. If we are unable to attract and retain residents or if our residents are unable to pay their rental obligations, our financial condition and funds available for distribution to our shareholders will be adversely affected.
Our multifamily apartment complexes and commercial properties are subject to competition. Our properties and joint venture investments are located in developed areas that include other properties. The properties also compete with other rental alternatives, such as condominiums, single and multifamily rental homes and owner occupied single and multifamily homes, in attracting residents. This competition may affect our ability to attract and retain residents and to increase or maintain rental rates.
The properties we own are concentrated in Eastern Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. Our performance, therefore, is linked to economic conditions and the market for available rental housing in these states. The decline in the market for apartment housing and/or commercial properties may adversely affect our financial condition, results of operations and ability to make distributions to our shareholders.
Our insurance may not be adequate to cover certain risks. There are certain types of risks, generally of a catastrophic nature, such as earthquakes, floods, windstorms, act of war and terrorist attacks, that may be uninsurable, or are not economically insurable, or are not fully covered by insurance. Moreover, certain risks, such as mold and environmental exposures, generally are not covered by our insurance. Should an uninsured loss or a loss in excess of insured limits occur, we could lose our equity in the affected property as well as the anticipated future cash flow from that property. Any such loss could have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations.
Debt financing could adversely affect our performance. The vast majority of our assets are encumbered by project specific, non-recourse, non-cross-collateralized mortgage debt. There is a risk that these properties will not have sufficient cash flow from operations for payments of required principal and interest. We may not be able to refinance these loans at an amount equal to the loan balance and the terms of any refinancing will not be as favorable as the terms of existing indebtedness. If we are unable to make required payments on indebtedness that is secured by a mortgage, the Partnership will either invest additional money in the property or the property securing the mortgage may be foreclosed with a consequent loss of income and value to us.
Real estate investments are generally illiquid, and we may not be able to sell our properties when it is economically or strategically advantageous to do so. Real estate investments generally cannot be sold quickly, and our ability to sell properties may be affected by market conditions. We may not be able to diversify or vary our portfolio promptly in accordance with our strategies or in response to economic or other conditions.
Our access to public debt markets is limited. Substantially all of our debt financings are secured by mortgages on our properties because of our limited access to public debt markets.
Litigation may result in unfavorable outcomes. Like many real estate operators, we may be involved in lawsuits involving premises liability claims, housing discrimination claims and alleged violations of landlord-tenant laws, which may give rise to class action litigation or governmental investigations. Any material litigation not covered by insurance, such as a class action, could result in substantial costs being incurred.
Our financial results may be adversely impacted if we are unable to sell properties and employ the proceeds in accordance with our strategic plan. Our ability to pay down debt, reduce our interest costs, buy back stock and acquire properties is dependent upon our ability to sell the properties we have selected for disposition at the prices and within the deadlines we have established for each respective property.
The costs of complying with laws and regulations could adversely affect our cash flow and ability to make distributions to our shareholders. Our properties must comply with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (the "ADA") to the extent that they are "public accommodations" or "commercial facilities" as defined in the ADA. The ADA does not consider apartment complexes to be public accommodations or commercial facilities, except for portions of such properties that are open to the public. In addition, the Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (the "FHAA") requires apartment complexes first occupied after March 13, 1990, to be accessible to the handicapped. Other laws also require apartment communities to be handicap accessible. Noncompliance with these laws could result in the imposition of fines or an award of damages to private litigants. We have been subject to lawsuits alleging violations of handicap design laws in connection with certain of our developments. If compliance with these laws involves substantial expenditures or must be made on an accelerated basis, our ability to make distributions to our shareholders could be adversely affected.
Under various federal, state and local laws, an owner or operator of real estate may be liable for the costs of removal or remediation of certain hazardous or toxic substances on, under or in the property. This liability may be imposed without regard to whether the owner or operator knew of, or was responsible for, the presence of the substances. Other law imposes on owners and operators certain requirements regarding conditions and activities that may affect human health or the environment. Failure to comply with applicable requirements could complicate our ability to lease or sell an affected property and could subject us to monetary penalties, costs required to achieve compliance and potential liability to third parties. We are not aware of any material noncompliance, liability or claim relating to hazardous or toxic substances or other environmental matters in connection with any of our properties. Nonetheless, it is possible that material environmental contamination or conditions exist, or could arise in the future, in the apartment communities or on the land upon which they are located.
We are subject to the risks associated with investments through joint ventures. Six of our properties are owned by joint ventures in which we do not have a controlling interest. We may enter into joint ventures, including joint ventures that we do not control, in the future. Any joint venture investment involves risks such as the possibility that the co-venturer may seek relief under federal or state insolvency laws, or have economic or business interests or goals that are inconsistent with our business interests or goals. While the bankruptcy or insolvency of our co-venturer generally should not disrupt the operations of the joint venture, we could be forced to purchase the co-venturer's interest in the joint venture or the interest could be sold to a third party. We also may guarantee the indebtedness of our joint ventures. If we do not have control over a joint venture, the value of our investment may be affected adversely by a third party that may have different goals and capabilities than ours.
We are subject to risks associated with development, acquisition and expansion of multifamily apartment complexes. Development projects and acquisitions and expansions of apartment complexes are subject to a number of risks, including:
· availability of acceptable financing;
· competition with other entities for investment opportunities;
· failure by our properties to achieve anticipated operating results;
· construction costs of a property exceeding original estimates;
· delays in construction; and
· expenditure of funds on, and the devotion of management time to, transactions that may not come to fruition.
We are subject to control by our directors and officers. The directors and executive officers of the General Partner and members of their families owned approximately 18.0% of our depositary receipts as of December 31, 2005. Additionally, management decisions rest with our General Partner without limited partner approval. The Partnership has not submitted any items for a vote by partners since inception.
Competition for skilled personnel could increase our labor costs. We and our management company compete with various other companies in attracting and retaining qualified and skilled personnel who are responsible for the day-to-day operations of our properties. Competitive pressures may require that we enhance our pay and benefits package to compete effectively for such personnel. We may not be able to offset such added costs by increasing the rates we charge our tenants. If there is an increase in these costs or if we fail to attract and retain qualified and skilled personnel, our business and operating results could be harmed.
We depend on our key personnel. Our success depends to a significant degree upon the continued contribution of key members of the management company, who may be difficult to replace. The loss of services of these executives could have a material adverse effect on us. There can be no assurance that the services of such personnel will continue to be available to us. We do not hold key-man life insurance on any of our key personnel.
The Partnership and its Subsidiary Partnerships own the Apartment Complexes, the Condominium Units, the Commercial Properties and a 50% interest in six Investment Properties.
See also Item 13. Certain Relationships and Related Transactions for information concerning affiliated transactions.
The table below lists the location of the 22 Apartment Complexes, the number and type of units in each complex, the range of rents and vacancies as of March 8, 2006, the principal amount outstanding under any mortgages as of December 31, 2005, the fixed interest rates applicable to such mortgages, and the maturity dates of such mortgages.
See Note 5 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, included as part of this Form 10-K, for information relating to the mortgages payable of the Partnership and its Subsidiary Partnerships.
The Partnership owns and leases to residential tenants 24 Condominium Units in the metropolitan Boston area of Massachusetts.
The table below lists the location of the 24 Condominium Units, the type of units, the range of rents received by the Partnership for such units, and the number of vacancies as of March 8, 2006.
BOYLSTON DOWNTOWN LP. In 1995, this Subsidiary Partnership acquired the Boylston Downtown property in Boston, Massachusetts (Boylston). This mixed-use property includes 17,218 square feet of rentable commercial space. As of March 8, 2006, the commercial space had a 0% vacancy rate, and the average gross rent per square foot was $21.52. The Partnership also rents roof space for a
cellular phone antenna at an average rent of approximately $20,000 per year through July 2006. For mortgage balance, interest rate and maturity date information, see Apartment Complexes, above.
HAMILTON OAKS ASSOCIATES, LLC. The Hamilton Oaks Apartment complex, acquired by the Partnership in December 1999 through Hamilton Oaks Associates, LLC, includes 6,075 square feet of rentable commercial space, occupied by a daycare center. As of March 8, 2006, the commercial space was fully occupied, and the average rent per square foot was $14.69. The Partnership also rents roof space for a cellular phone antenna at an average rent of approximately $29,000 per year through November 2010. For mortgage balance, interest rate and maturity date information, see Apartment Complexes, above.
LINHART LP. In 1995, the Partnership acquired the Linhart property in Newton, Massachusetts (Linhart). This mixed-use property includes 21,055 square feet of rentable commercial space. As of March 8, 2006, the commercial space had a 0% vacancy rate, and the average gross rent per square foot was $22.64. For mortgage balance, interest rate and maturity date information, see Apartment Complexes, above.
NORTH BEACON 140 LP. In 1995, this Subsidiary Partnership acquired the North Beacon property in Boston, Massachusetts (North Beacon). This mixed-use property includes 1,050 square feet of rentable commercial space. The property was fully rented as of March 8, 2006, and the average rent per square foot as of that date was $25.47. For mortgage balance, interest rate and maturity date information, see Apartment Complexes, above.
STAPLES PLAZA. In 1999, the Partnership acquired the Staples Plaza shopping center in Framingham, Massachusetts (Staples Plaza). The shopping center consists of 39,600 square feet of rentable commercial space. The Partnership assumed a mortgage in the amount of $5,267,949, which carries a fixed interest rate of 8.00% and matures in 2016. As of December 31, 2005, the mortgage had an outstanding balance of $4,017,889. As of March 8, 2006, Staples Plaza was fully occupied, and the average net rent per square foot was $20.72.
See Note 14 to the Financial Statements for additional information regarding the Investment Properties.
The Partnership has a 50% ownership interest in the properties summarized below:
(A) Represents unsold units at March 8, 2006
(B) Represents units to be retained
345 FRANKLIN, LLC. In November 2001, the Partnership acquired, through this LLC, a 50% interest in a 40-unit apartment building in Cambridge, Massachusetts. This property has a 12-year mortgage, which is amortized on a 30-year schedule, with a final payment of approximately $6,000,000 due in 2014.
HAMILTON PLACE, LLC. In August 2004, the Partnership acquired for approximately $8,000,000 a 50% interest in a six building 280-unit apartment complex in Watertown, Massachusetts for $56,000,000. A $43,000,000 mortgage was obtained on the buildings. This acquisition was subsequently split into two parcels of three buildings with the intention of selling 137 apartments in three buildings as condominiums and retaining 146 units, after additional modifications were made, in three buildings. At December 31,2005, the remaining mortgage balance of the 71 units to be sold was $8,856,275.
In February 2005, Hamilton Place obtained a new 10 year mortgage on the three buildings to be retained for $16,825,000 interest only at 5.18% for 3 years and amortizing on a 30 year schedule for the remaining 7 years when the balance is due. The net proceeds after funding escrow accounts and closing costs on the new mortgage were approximately $16,700,000, which was used to reduce the existing mortgage. Hamilton Place incurred a loss of approximately $400,000 in connection with this early extinguishment of debt.
HAMILTON MINUTEMAN, LLC. In August 2004, the Partnership acquired, through this LLC, a 50% interest in a 42-unit apartment building in Lexington, Massachusetts for approximately $10,000,000. Each investor invested approximately $5,075,000 to initially fund the purchase price of the property. In October 2004, the Partnership obtained a 3-year mortgage on the property in the amount of $8,025,000 and returned $3,775,000 to the Partnership. The loan requires minimum principal payments of $1,000,000 payable $340,000 within 12 months and an additional $320,000 in year two and the remaining $320,000 within 30 months of the closing date (collectively, the "curtailment payments"). The Partnership may sell some units if necessary to make the curtailment payments. The maturity date can be extended for an additional one year. (See Note 14 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.)
ESSEX 81, LLC. In March 2005, the Partnership acquired, through this LLC, a 50% interest in a 49-unit apartment building, one commercial space, and a 50 car surface parking lot located in Boston, Massachusetts for $2,000,000. The purchase price was $14,300,000 and a $10,750,000 30 months mortgage was obtained to fund this acquisition.
1025 HAMILTON. The Partnership invested $2,352,500 for a 50% interest in a 176 unit property located in Quincy, Massachusetts in March 2005. A mortgage of $19,200,000 was obtained to fund this $23,750,000 acquisition. The 30 months mortgage has a floating interest of 2% over the 30 day Libor Index (6.39% at December 31,2005). The Partnership plans to sell 130 units as condominiums. As of December 31, 2005, 82 units have been sold, and the mortgage reduced to $9,251,000 from the proceeds.
HAMILTON BAY. On October 3, 2005, the Partnership invested $2,500,000 for a 50% ownership interest in a 168-unit apartment complex in Quincy, Massachusetts. The purchase price was $30,875,000
and a $26,165,127 30-month mortgage with a floating interest rate of 2% over the 30 day Libor Index (6.39% at December 31, 2005) was obtained to finance this acquisition. The Partnership plans to sell the majority of units as condominium and retain 48 units for long-term investment. The proceeds from the condominium sales will primarily be used to reduce the above-mentioned mortgage. Gains from the sales of units will be taxed at ordinary income rates. As of December 31, 2005, there were no sales.
The Partnership, the Subsidiary Partnerships and their properties are not presently subject to any material litigation, and, to managements knowledge, there is not any material litigation presently threatened against them. The Partnership and Subsidiary Partnerships are occasionally subject to ordinary routine legal and administrative proceedings incident to the ownership of residential and commercial real estate. Some of the legal and other expenses related to these proceedings are covered by insurance and none of these costs and expenses are expected to have a material adverse effect on the Consolidated Financial Statements of the Partnership.
No matters were submitted to a vote of the limited partners of the Partnership during the fourth quarter of the year ended December 31, 2005.
Each Class A Unit is exchangeable, through Computershare Trust Company (Computershare) (formerly Equiserve LP), the Partnerships Depositary Agent, for ten Depositary Receipts (Receipts). The Receipts are listed and publicly traded on the American Stock Exchange under the symbol NEN. Prior to December 13, 2002, the Receipts were listed and publicly traded on NASDAQ under the symbol NEWRZ. There has never been an established trading market for the Class B Units or General Partnership Units.
In 2005, the high and low bid quotations for the Receipts were $97.40 and $71.63, respectively. The table below sets forth the high and low bids for each quarter of 2005 and 2004 and the distributions paid on the Partnerships Depositary Receipts:
On March 7, 2006, the closing price on the American Stock Exchange for a Depositary Receipt was $75.61.
Any portion of the Partnerships cash which the General Partner deems not necessary for cash reserves is distributed to the Partners, and distributions are made on a quarterly basis. The Partnership has made annual distributions to its Partners since 1978. In each of 2005 and 2004, the Partnership made total distributions of $28.00 and $27.20 per Unit, respectively ($2.80 and $2.72 per Receipt, respectively). The total value of the distribution in 2005 was $4,843,216, and the total value for 2004 was $4,704,838. In February 2006, the Partnership declared a quarterly distribution of $7.00 per Unit ($.70 per Receipt) payable on March 31, 2006.
See Item 12. Security Ownership of Certain Beneficial Owners and Management for certain information relating to the number of holders of each class of Units.
The information required by this Item is included on page 42 of this Form 10-K.
The following discussion should be read in conjunction with the financial statements and notes thereof appearing elsewhere in this Report. This Report, on Form 10-K, contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the securities law. Actual results or developments could differ materially from those projected in such statements as a result of certain factors set forth in the section below entitled Factors That May Affect Future Results and elsewhere in this Report.
While the national economy has largely recovered from the recession of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Massachusetts local economy continues to lag behind. Job growth remains slow. Vacancy rates for downtown office space have improved from nearly 20%, and similar vacancy rates are beginning to improve in suburban areas. In the face of these economic realities, however, the Partnership has kept its residential vacancy rate below the 4-5% local industry average. However, doing so has resulted in slow
revenue growth due to various incentives for new rentals. Additionally, new housing product in the residential market and low mortgage interest rates that attracted first-time buyers continue to be direct competitors of the rental housing market resulting in higher turnover expenses and unit renovation costs. Finally, an abnormally cold winter, historically high snowfall, steadily increasing utility costs and increases in other operating expenses outpaced any modest increases in rental revenue that the Partnerships properties have experienced to date.
Apartment rentals continue to be the primary long term focus of NERA. As interest rates remain low and long term investment opportunities remain few, condominium sales will continue to be an alternative investment option. While a larger portion of 2005 net profits are associated with the condominium sales which is expected again in 2006, the long term focus of the portfolio continues to remain in its core residential and commercial rental properties.
The Partnership expects the conditions experienced in 2005 to continue throughout 2006. Revenue gains are expected to be modest while increases in non-controllable operating expenses are expected to continue. Competition continues to be strong; however, the payment of rental commissions to encourage leaseup has begun to abate. As a result, it is presently unclear whether future earnings from operations will accelerate in the near term. Lastly, tax reform allowed the Partnership to accelerate depreciation on improvements and acquisitions over the past two years reducing taxable income. These tax incentives expired in 2004. Therefore, we expect income taxable to partners to increase in 2005 and to be more in line with the Partnerships financial statement net income, which will be substantially higher due to property sales.
The Partnership has retained The Hamilton Company (Hamilton) to manage and administer the Partnerships wholly owned and joint venture properties. Hamilton is a full-service real estate management company, which has legal, construction, maintenance, architectural, accounting and administrative departments. The Partnerships properties represent approximately 40% of the total properties and 70% of the residential properties managed by Hamilton. Substantially all of the other properties managed by Hamilton are owned - wholly or partially, directly or indirectly - by Harold Brown. The Partnerships Second Amended and Restated Contract of Limited Partnership (the Partnership Agreement) expressly provides that the general partner may employ a management company to manage the properties, and that such management company may be paid a fee of 4% of rental receipts for administrative and management services (the Management Fee). The Partnership annually pays Hamilton the full Management Fee, in monthly installments.
Harold Brown, his brother Ronald Brown and the President of Hamilton, Carl Valeri, collectively own approximately 21.8% of the depositary receipts representing the Partnership Class A Units (including depositary receipts held by trusts for the benefit of such persons family members). Harold Brown also owns 75% of the Partnerships Class B Units, 75% of the capital stock of NewReal, Inc. (NewReal), the Partnerships sole general partner, and all of the outstanding stock of Hamilton. Ronald Brown also owns 25% of the Partnerships Class B Units and 25% of NewReals capital stock. In addition, Ronald Brown is the President and director of NewReal and Harold Brown is New Reals Treasurer and a director. Three of NewReals other directors, Thomas Raffoul, Conrad DiGregorio and Edward Sarkisian, also own immaterial amounts of the Partnerships Class A Units or receipts.
Beyond the Management Fee, the Partnership Agreement further provides for the employment of outside professionals to provide services to the Partnership and allows NewReal to charge the Partnership for the cost of employing professionals to assist with the administration of the Partnerships properties. In addition to the Management Fee, from time to time the Partnership pays Hamilton for repairs and maintenance services, legal services, construction services and accounting services. The costs charged by Hamilton for these services are at the same hourly rate charged to all entities managed by Hamilton, and management believes such rates are competitive in the marketplace.
Hamilton accounted for approximately 4% of the repair and maintenance expense paid for by the Partnership in the years ended December 31, 2005 and 2004. Of the funds paid to Hamilton for this purpose, the great majority was to cover the cost of services provided by the Hamilton maintenance department, including plumbing, electrical, carpentry services, and snow removal for those properties close to Hamiltons headquarters. However, several of the larger Partnership properties have their own maintenance staff. Further, those properties that do not have their own maintenance staff but are located more than a reasonable distance from Hamiltons headquarters in Allston, Massachusetts are generally serviced by local, independent companies.
Hamiltons legal department handles most of the Partnerships eviction and collection matters. Additionally, it prepares most long-term commercial lease agreements and represents the Partnership in selected purchase and sale transactions. Overall, Hamilton provided approximately 70% of the legal services paid for by the Partnership during the year ended December 31, 2005 and approximately 81% for the year ended December 31, 2004.
Additionally, as described in Note 3, the Hamilton Company receives similar fees from the Investment Properties.
R. Brown Partners, which is owned by Ronald Brown, manages five condominium units located in Brookline, Massachusetts. That entity will receive annual management fees from the five units of approximately $3,000, and Hamilton will reduce its management fees to approximately 2%, so that the total management fee will not exceed the 4% allowed by the Partnerships Partnership Agreement.
The Partnership requires that three bids be obtained for construction contracts in excess of $5,000. Hamilton may be one of the three bidders on a particular project and may be awarded the contract if its bid and its ability to successfully complete the project are deemed appropriate. For contracts that are not awarded to Hamilton, Hamilton charges the Partnership a construction supervision fee equal to 5% of the contract amount. Hamiltons architectural department also provides services to the Partnership on an as-needed basis. In 2005, Hamilton provided the Partnership approximately $109,000 in construction and architectural services. In 2004, Hamilton provided construction and architectural services paid for by the Partnership totaling $3,781,000 including approximately $3,500,000 for the construction of 20 additional residential units at Westgate Apartments in Woburn, Massachusetts.
Prior to 1991, the Partnership employed an outside, unaffiliated company to perform its bookkeeping and accounting functions. Since that time, such services have been provided by Hamiltons accounting staff, which consists of approximately ten people. Hamilton currently charges the Partnership $80,000 per year ($20,000 per quarter) for bookkeeping and accounting services.
For more information on related party transactions, see Note 3 to the Consolidated Financial Statements.
The preparation of consolidated financial statements, in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America, requires the Partnership to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses and related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. The Partnership regularly and continually evaluates its estimates, including those related to acquiring, developing and assessing the carrying values of its real estate properties and its investments in and advances to joint ventures. The Partnership bases its estimates on historical experience, current market conditions, and on various other assumptions that are believed to be reasonable under the circumstances. However, because future events and their effects cannot be determined with certainty, the determination of estimates requires the exercise of judgment. The Partnerships critical accounting policies are those which require assumptions to be made about such
matters that are highly uncertain. Different estimates could have a material effect on the Partnerships financial results. Judgments and uncertainties affecting the application of these policies and estimates may result in materially different amounts being reported under different conditions and circumstances. See Note 1 to the Consolidated Financial Statements, Principles of Consolidation.
Revenue Recognition: Revenues from rental properties are recognized when due from tenants. Residential leases are generally for terms of one year and commercial leases are generally for five to ten years, with renewal options at increased rents. Significant commercial leases with stepped increases over the term of the lease are recorded on the straight-line basis.
Real Estate and Depreciation: Real estate assets are stated at the lower of cost or fair value, less accumulated depreciation. Costs related to the acquisition, development, construction and improvement of properties are capitalized, including interest, internal wages and benefits, real estate taxes and insurance. Capitalization usually begins with commencement of development activity and ends when the property is ready for leasing. Replacements and improvementssuch as HVAC equipment, structural replacements, windows, appliances, flooring, carpeting and kitchen/bath replacements and renovationsare capitalized and depreciated over their estimated useful lives as follows:
· Depreciation is computed on the straight-line and accelerated methods over the estimated useful lives of the related assets. In assessing estimated useful lives, the Partnership makes assumptions based on historical experience acquired from both within and outside the Partnership. These assumptions have a direct impact on the Partnerships net income.
· Ordinary repairs and maintenance, such as unit cleaning and painting and appliance repairs, are expensed.
If there is an event or change in circumstances that indicates an impairment in the value of a property, the Partnerships policy is to assess the impairment by making a comparison of the current and projected operating cash flows of the property over its remaining useful life, on an undiscounted basis, to the carrying amount of the property. If the carrying value is in excess of the estimated projected operating cash flows of the property, the Partnership would recognize an impairment loss equivalent to the amount required to adjust the carrying amount to its estimated fair value. The Partnership has not recognized an impairment loss since 1995.
Rental Property Held for Sale and Discontinued Operations: When assets are identified by management as held for sale, the Partnership discontinues depreciating the assets and estimates the sales price, net of selling costs, of such assets. If, in managements opinion, the net sales price of the assets which have been identified as held for sale is less than the net book value of the assets, a valuation allowance is established. Properties identified as held for sale and/or sold are presented in discontinued operations for all periods presented.
Investments in Partnerships: The Partnership accounts for its 50% ownership in the Investment Properties under the equity method of accounting, as it exercises significant influence over, but does not control these entities. These investments are recorded initially at cost, as Investments in Partnerships, and subsequently adjusted for the Partnerships share in earnings, cash contributions and distributions. Under the equity method of accounting, our net equity is reflected on the consolidated balance sheets, and our share of net income or loss from the Partnership is included on the consolidated statements of income.
With respect to investments in and advances to the Investment Properties, the Partnership looks to the underlying properties to assess performance and the recoverability of carrying amounts for those investments in a manner similar to direct investments in real estate properties. An impairment charge is recorded if the carrying value of the investment exceeds its fair value.
Legal Proceedings: The Partnership is subject to various legal proceedings and claims that arise, from time to time, in the ordinary course of business. These matters are frequently covered by insurance. If it is determined that a loss is likely to occur, the estimated amount of the loss is recorded in the financial statements. Both the amount of the loss and the point at which its occurrence is considered likely can be difficult to determine.
The Partnership and its Subsidiary Partnerships earned income before other income and loss and discontinued operations of $1,910,347 during the year ended December 31, 2005, compared to $2,105,407 for the year ended December 31, 2004, a decrease of $195,060 (9.3%).
The rental activity is summarized as follows: