By Joe Clements

NEEDHAM — This past week’s $6.0 million sale of a 22,450 sf office building by Winhall Cos. through Boston Realty Advisors gives the brokerage firm’s suburban team a hat trick of sorts in being the third similarly sized trade since this summer of a commercial building near Exit 19 off Route 128 which is seeing dramatic investment from both the private and public arenas. BRA principal Jeremy Freid, SIOR, sees a correlation between that infusion and increased demand for CRE by both users and investors, stirring an environment in which his Needham clients have cashed in assets that collectively reaped almost $20 million in volume.

“Everyone is trying to take advantage of this crazy market,” Freid says in assessing the activity involving BRA’s team including Douglas Adamian, Adam T. Meixner and Jordan Sneider, specialists in the Central Route 128. Besides the hockey analogy, each could get Tommy points for a triple double from having helped reposition all three buildings via separate lease-up successes, with Freid estimating every one was at least 40 percent vacant when first taking on the listings, part of a wholistic approach by the firm, he relays.

Aerial view of 10 Charles Street & Exit 19 in Needham

Aerial view of 10 Charles Street & Exit 19 in Needham

“We do both, and our goal is to think strategically into the future, so we try to structure the lease to benefit a sales scenario, even if they are a long-term owner,” says Freid. Transactions of note in the mix would be Columbia Restaurant Group and One Nation Fitness splitting 18,000 sf at 10 Charles St., Confidence Connection (11,000 sf) and Construction Coordinators (4,000 sf) at 140 Gould St. and Valmark Corp. taking 6,000 sf at 190 Highland Ave. with another 3,000 sf leased by Adaptive Networks.

Even having stabilized the three buildings to full occupancy, it was not a given the owners would part with them, and Freid maintains the catalyst has been transformational changes around the clients’ buildings, structures which all date to the 1960s and 1970s. Exit 19 has been completely retooled to unclog a notorious bottleneck, and a local partnership with Newton to create the “N2 corridor” has enticed developers such as Normandy Real Estate Partners to further bolster the district. A shining example would be the new TripAdvisors headquarters developed by Normandy close to the Exit 19 action.

The initial BRA trade of the recent three was completed just before Independence Day when Wallace Properties sold 10 Charles St. for $5.78 million to Felix Cincotta, equating to $144 per sf for the building whose prior trade occurred in January 2007 at a price tag of $3.6 million. It contains 40,000 sf of flex product constructed in 1961 on 41,000 sf. Then on Sept. 29th, 140 Gould St. changed hands for the first time since September 1993 when Petrini Corp. shelled out $175 per sf to take on a 40,235-sf office building. Urban Equities was the owner cashing out on that property in a deal which totals $7.05 million, its prior sale for $3.1 million. Capping the triple play is 109 Highland Ave. which Winhall Cos. had paid $1.12 million for in February 1995, its managers being Kenneth Epstein and Richard Epstein. That is $50 per sf versus the $267 per sf result from investor Peter Swartz on a building completed in 1978 on two-thirds of an acre and touted for its unique design and efficient floor plates. Kenley Realty Co. is the group managed by Swartz that did the all-cash transaction.

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