CAMBRIDGE—After a fast-paced battle targeting 922 Massachusetts Ave., New York-based Columbia Partners has taken the prized 31-unit apartment building in teeming Central Square offered this spring through Boston Realty Advisors. The Emerson fetched $11.5 million and was financed with $7.5 million from Cambridge Trust Co.

“We are excited with our acquisition of The Emerson and look forward to contributing to the community,” Columbia Partners manager Kamesh Suppiah says in a statement provided Real Reporter after closing on the legacy trophy property owned by a private family trust for 35 years, its prior exchange occurring in May 1984 when the structure was purchased for $425,000. The selling entity is 922 Massachusetts Ave LLC for the landmark asset meticulously tended to through the years by Concentric Management.

BRA founding principal Jason Weissman describes the marketing process as “a very spirited competition,” with The Emerson’s cachet generating over 130 inquiries and 35 actual tours. “Investors were drawn to it for many reasons,” Weissman explains. “It is a 100-percent market-rate, brick-faced trophy apartment building within walking distance of Harvard University and MIT . . . it is also the sort of property that rarely comes available, and people recognized what a special opportunity this was.”

Weissman was joined on the assignment by Managing Director Nicholas M. Herz and Associate Director Kevin Benzinger. The sales price equates to an impressive per-unit rate eclipsing $372,500. Weissman says the scale of its exclusive and upside potential in one of the Northeast’s tightest housing markets were appealing to bidders and part of the reason for such a voluminous response.

BRA’s launch of The Emerson this spring was first unveiled by Real Reporter, an article in which the full-service brokerage shop stressed superior public transit options, beginning with the Central Square MBTA Red Line Station barely five minutes away from 922 Massachusetts Ave. BRA also highlighted the proximity to Harvard and MIT as well as a constituency of global companies in nearby Kendall Square, just one stop from Central Square and served by a multitude of bus lines and dedicated bicycle lanes.

“Residents of The Emerson benefit from all Cambridge has to offer,” BRA declared in the marketing initiative which also provided a video presentation and dedicated website for what is described as a value-add opportunity. Dating to 1915, the four-story, 21,775-sf structure is wedged onto a 4,800-sf parcel close to a series of dining, entertainment and shopping establishments, with its famous neighbor next door The Plough & Stars Restaurant that has been a fixture in Central Square for 50 years.

Focused on multifamily real estate, Columbia Partners has made numerous investments in key East Coast cities but is said to have completed its inaugural Greater Boston purchase in buying 922 Massachusetts Ave., which was done under the entity 922 MA LLC, its signatory Kenneth Tan.

BRA would seem a good tour guide of the local scene given its history of multifamily and commercial sales in the area, among them a pair of large Harvard Square assets featuring apartments, office space and retail separately listed and bought by prolific investor Dr. Gerald Chan, deals beginning in 2012 first noted in Real Reporter, including 18-28 JFK St., a $31 million buy made after $16 million was spent on 49 JFK St. and 115 Mount Auburn St. in the spring of that year.

Weissman would not identify any other suitors for The Emerson, or say whether Dr. Chan was in the hunt, but praises the winning company for a successful execution up against nearly three dozen formidable bidders. “They did a great job,” he says.