To read a related article about Boston Wharf Company parcels, click here.

Published in the Boston Business Journal on 12/17/04
© 2004 American City Business Journals Inc.

Berkeley Investments caps $100M deal for Boston Wharf properties

Berkeley Investments Inc. announced Friday it acquired 12 properties as part of the Boston Wharf Co.'s portfolio in the Seaport District for $100 million as previously reported in the Boston Business Journal.

The acquisition consists of 700,000 square feet of existing office buildings, two parking garages and four surface parking lots which hold 1,000 cars.

The properties, located on Congress Street, Farnsworth Street and Boston Wharf Road, were acquired in an off-market deal between Berkeley and Boston Wharf Co. Berkeley plans to develop a mixed-used development with uses that will create an 18-hour community.

Others have looked at parts or the entire property but deals have fallen through or buyers have walked away. In the last several weeks, Taurus Investment Holdings called off a deal to buy Boston's Wharf's 253 Summer ST. and 19-37 Melcher St. The four-interconnected buildings totaling 173,000 square feet were priced at $200 per-square-foot or about $35 million. The parties reportedly couldn't reach an agreement on price.

Earlier this summer, Boston Wharf sold a block of 10 buildings totaling 386,000 square feet to HDG Mansur Capital Group LLC for $92 million. The properties were part of a deal that fell through with Tishman Speyer Properties LP for the entire 44-building, 2.8 million-square-foot portfolio.

Boston-based Berkeley Investments sees opportunity in redeveloping and upgrading the properties that it considers to be in an area ripe for future development due to the completion of infrastructure projects like the Big Dig, the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center and the MBTA Silver Line.

"The location of this portfolio of properties along with the long-term potential to maximize future development makes this acquisition a very attractive opportunity for Berkeley." said Rick Griffin, vice president of acquisitions for Berkeley Investments, in a statement. "South Boston's waterfront, specifically the Fort Point district, is emerging as an up-and-coming neighborhood and we look forward to being a key player in this exciting transformation."

Among the plans Berkeley is considering, according to the press release, include: upgrading the space, amenities and services in the portfolio; converting or upgrading the older assets into upscale condominiums or higher quality office space and converting ground floor space of the office buildings into restaurants, entertainment and retail uses. Berkeley plans to work with the Boston Redevelopment Authority to create a development plan that matches the city's vision for the Seaport District.

Berkeley was represented by attorneys Richard Toelke, partner, and Maurice "Skip" Sullivan, associate, of Bingham McCutchen LLP's Boston-based real estate practice group in the acquisition. Wachovia Securities was the lender in the transaction.

© 2004 American City Business Journals Inc.

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