A conversation with Adam Weiner

Adam Weiner is Managing Partner of Weiner Ventures, overseeing both its real estate and venture capital portfolios, and spearheading new business and investment opportunities. He co-founded the company with his father Stephen R. Weiner, real estate developer and founder of S. R. Weiner & Associates and co-founder of WS Development.

Adam, you’re part of a new group of individuals who are continuing the evolution of Boston’s skyline and the City’s desire for continuous improvement. What drives your long-term vision for growth in Boston?

My passion for building in the Boston area comes naturally to me. I’ve called Boston home for my entire life; I was raised by a Boston real estate entrepreneur, grew up in the Back Bay, and live with my wonderful wife and three children in the Boston area today. I’m committed to working hard in my own back yard, and also to dedicating myself to civic, cultural, and charitable activities that benefit our Boston community.

Boston’s economic vitality derives from its spirited people, its thriving industries, its walkability, and its limitless opportunities for education and growth. At Weiner Ventures, our team strives to provide residents and businesses with inviting, sustainable environments that leverage these core strengths, and to act as a catalyst for positive change within our neighborhoods. Our goal is to fundamentally transform the way people live and work, bringing residents and businesses together to experience and connect with their surroundings – and with each other.

We are particularly sensitive to the political and environmental issues relating to creating new urban environments, and at the end of the day, I consider our most important achievement having residents, community groups, businesses, and our elected officials speak well of Weiner Ventures' people, projects, and commitment to neighborhoods.

You can feel the resurgence. Boston is one of America’s premier destination cities, welcoming new employees and residents every day. A big part of our success is understanding what Bostonians value, and we try to bring that to life in our mixed-use developments as we open up new areas of the City,  and make them extraordinarily desirable places to live.

You oversee a large portfolio and are involved in many aspects of each of those projects. What is your approach to management?

Real estate and portfolio management revolve around people working together towards practical real-world solutions. That means building two-way relationships, asking lots of questions, and being an active listener. We certainly don’t have all the answers. Nobody does. But collectively, we can ask the right questions and actively listen and work together on answers that create solutions that work really well, whether it's regarding a project-specific matter or a portfolio-wide matter.  In a given situation, that may mean engaging any combination of partners, peers, mentors, officials, residents, businesses, established neighborhood organizations... whoever and whatever is needed to do it right.

Further, few business can be successful without recognizing that attention to detail transforms an exciting idea into a great one that can flourish in the real world. We try to pay smart attention to the details without letting them unnecessarily bog down people, process, or decision-making.  Hopefully, the community believes we're managing that balance well.  Regardless, our team will always push hard to continuously improve on managing that balance.

"To me, being a Bostonian means working to ensure that all of its neighborhoods are supported, whether through educational, healthcare, or social initiatives."

Adam, you are deeply involved in civic and charitable initiatives. Why?

I am blessed to have parents who cultivated a strong joy and passion for civic engagement and charitable giving in my sister and me ever since we were little kids. Our parents eagerly taught us the positive and sustainable impact of a strong work ethic coupled with the spirit of giving.

To me, being a Bostonian means working to ensure that all of its neighborhoods are supported, whether through educational, healthcare, or social initiatives. We’re all interconnected in the local culture here, and compassionate about serving the needs of those organizations and companies that are working on the critical  issues facing Greater Boston, from the Back Bay to the Longwood Medical Area, from Allston to the Financial District.

Civics and charity are not just about giving. They are about becoming directly engaged in the growth of an idea that will have profound impacts on the community.

The majority of your day-to-day activities is focused on your company’s real estate holdings. You also help lead and manage the Weiner team's venture capital investments. How does VC investing help you with real estate development and investment?

First and foremost, Weiner Ventures is laser-focused on real estate development and real estate investment. That is what we are best at doing and what we love doing. Investing in early stage venture capital opportunities is driven by two key factors. The first is about Weiner Ventures recognizing the importance of overall business portfolio investment diversification. The second is that our VC investments enable us to work with, support, and learn from even more of the brightest individuals around.

The entrepreneurs who run the companies in our venture capital investment portfolio are wonderfully creative as well as extraordinarily disciplined. They are the absolutely right people for what they do and we as investors have confidence in them and depend upon them to execute. We are there for them as strategic investors, supporting them with relationships, strategy development, and financial management. Further, these bright VC folks inject me with fresh ideas and energy that make me a more effective leader of Weiner Ventures.

Our goal is to fundamentally transform the way people live, work, and play, bringing residents and businesses together to experience and connect with their surroundings — and with each other.

Adam, the Weiner Ventures portfolio includes investments and developments in the Fenway area. Among the projects are Landmark Center, The Verb Hotel, and Pierce Boston. What attracted you to the Fenway?

Weiner Ventures is excited to be an active investor and development partner in the Fenway neighborhood and in those particular developments. Our involvement really began there in the mid-2000s, when we tied up the then-Howard Johnson's property that today is The Verb Hotel. We believed the neighborhood, which had its own wonderful roots and culture, was then poised for even further thoughtful development. Our Fenway real estate portfolio grew from then on.

Your father, Steve Weiner, founded S.R. Weiner & Associates and co-founded WS Development. How are  you involved in WS projects?

I have been an active investor in WS Development projects, two of which we have featured on the Weiner Ventures website – The Street in Chestnut Hill and Derby Street Shoppes in Hingham.

Steve Weiner and I will always be proud of our ongoing WS Development portfolio and our lifelong relationships with the team there. Weiner Ventures is a separate company that is focused primarily on mixed-use developments and investments throughout the City of Boston. I’m very fortunate to be associated with both companies.

S.R. Weiner & Associates was formed in 1981, focusing on developing regional shopping centers. Jeremy Sclar joined up with Steve in 1990 to establish WS Development. WS has a very strong reputation with its suburban retail power centers and lifestyle center developments and possesses an excellent team of honest and incredibly capable professionals.

WS Development is one of the largest privately owned retail development firms in the country — that’s something of which Steve and Jeremy and longtime partner and Executive VP Tom Desimone should be very proud. In turn, I am proud simply to be associated with them as people and as partners. I have learned a tremendous amount from them and look forward to doing so for many years to come.