“Our history is important to us; it is the stories and memories of our founder and predecessors that guide us in all that we do and provide our moral compass.”
For almost 140 years, A.W. Perry, Inc. has contributed to the fabric and economy of the city of Boston and the South Shore. Today under the management of the fourth and fifth generations of the Perry family, this privately held real estate development, investment and property management company maintains a reputation of strength, stability and integrity and abides by the same simple formula for success set forth by the company’s founder, Alonzo W. Perry: “Establish and maintain enduring business relationships by being personally involved in knowing and meeting the needs of each tenant.”
True To Our Roots The Legacy of Alonzo W. Perry by John J. Galluzzo
In 1884 Alonzo W. Perry, a successful shoe manufacturer from Rockland, MA, founded the company and entered the real estate business after closing his shoe factory at 125 Summer Street in Boston. It was here that he began subleasing space to other smaller businesses in need of office and manufacturing facilities. At the time, Boston’s commercial properties were largely owned by trusts representing wealthy families and institutions that did not want to deal with the day-to-day headaches of building management. A.W. saw this as an opportunity, and he continued to lease buildings in Boston and sublease them to tenants. He was instrumental in helping to rebuild Boston after the Great Fire and soon became one of Boston’s largest real estate operators with over 800 tenants under lease.
After World War I, Perry and his three sons, who were involved in the business, focused on real estate investment, acquiring a large number of commercial properties in Boston and Rockland. The firm was among the largest taxpayers in both communities. At the time of Alonzo’s death in 1928, his son H.G. Perry took control and saw the company through the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression. During the Great Depression and its subsequent years, the firm experienced its greatest growth as H.G. Perry boldly acquired properties in Boston and Rockland. H.G. became known as the “Dean of Boston Real Estate” and was recognized as Boston’s foremost authority on property values. Due to his stature in business, he was issued the real estate brokers license number “1” when the Commonwealth began licensing brokers in 1960.
In Boston, A.W. Perry has developed properties that add value to the framework of the city. In the 1980s, the Company assembled the block around the site of its original 1884 company office and spearheaded the development of 125 Summer Street, a 23-story, 463,000 sf first-class office building. At 125 Summer Street, the original historic facades were retained and many elements from the historic neighborhood were incorporated as features in the new facade. The company has also restored and manages several historic buildings including three that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of these properties, Twenty Winthrop Square, a 36,000-square-foot office building is the Company’s headquarters. A.W. Perry is perhaps most noted for its landmark renovation of “The Berkeley at 420 Boylston Street”, a six-story, 114,000 sf terra-cotta faced building that was completely updated in 1989. Known as the “Crowned Jewel of Back Bay”, it was the first building in Boston to be honored with all three of BOMA’s “Office Building of the Year” awards; Local, Regional, and International. In 2006, A.W. Perry held an event celebrating its 100th Birthday.
A.W. Perry has a proud history of residential development. A.W. Perry and Jay and Paul Gallagher have worked together since 1992 to create first-class residential neighborhoods which are home to more than 400 South Shore families. The Perry/Gallagher team most recently completed the first-class neighborhoods Wildcat Hill in Norwell and Horseshoe Farm in North Marshfield, MA. These “green” cluster developments are environmentally friendly as they preserve 50% of the land for open space. Currently, The Gallaghers are marketing home-building opportunities on Keene Street in Duxbury, MA a highly desirable community on Boston’s South Shore.
There is a bright future ahead with this history as its foundation and the Company is poised for continued success, building relationships in new fields and adding quality to its portfolio. The Perry team includes a group of young executives eager and proud to carry and build upon the legacy of Alonzo W. Perry.