Significant activity in user-buyer/user-seller market


BOSTON – With the pendulum continuing to sway in the conversation of “own” vs. “lease”, in recent months the Colliers International Southwest team, comprised of senior vice presidents David Goodhue, Caleb Hudak and Steve Woelfel and assistant vice presidents Kevin Brawley and PJ Foster, has frequently found itself involved in several transactions with the former.

Representing ownership in all cases but one where they represented the buyer, Colliers has seen a strong demand for product suitable for owner occupancy. In a trend that kicked off with the sale of the 80,000-square-foot 33 Commercial Street (Building 52), Foxborough to Sanskar Culture Society, activity has since continued with the sale of the remainder of the 33 Commercial Street campus to Foxborough Regional Charter School.

33 Commercial Street

The two-building campus sold for a total of $8.2 million ($4.1 million per building) and represents a full liquidation of Lexington Realty Trust’s Foxborough asset that was formerly home to Invensys, who was acquired by Schneider Electric in 2014.

The team has also sold a portion of Nordblom’s Solomon Pond Park at 295 Donald Lynch Boulevard, Marlborough to Crossroads School in a $95/SF transaction that will convert the vacant office property into an educational institution. From a buyer’s standpoint, Colliers knows all too well from its site search with DN Van Lines that the ability to repurpose existing infrastructure is critical to user-buyers.

Therefore, when they uncovered the 42,000-square-foot warehouse opportunity at 2 Beeman Road, Northborough, they knew it was a good fit. Formerly owned/occupied by Latrobe Specialty Metals Distribution Inc., the space was an excellent option for the rapidly growing moving and storage company who operates from New England to Florida.

These examples aside, however, it seems that owning real estate is still more the exception than the rule for most companies. Colliers recently went through the exercise of shedding an owner-occupied building in exchange for leased space with Murata Power Solutions who wanted to sell its long-time headquarters in Mansfield. The 172,000-square-foot building at 11 Cabot Boulevard ultimately sold to Hilco Real Estate, and Murata will relocate to 30,000 square feet at 129 Flanders Road, Westborough. Hilco will reposition the Cabot Park-located facility, maintaining many of the buildings strengths and ultimately providing a quality manufacturing/office option at a competitive price.

“Regardless of whether we call this a trend or not, it is undeniable that there is an incredible amount of market movement on both sides of the coin,” noted Hudak. “It seems that companies – whether buying or selling – are looking to take advantage of the few opportunities that exist while interest rates remain low. Many of these groups have a better understanding of their current and future business needs and are comfortable moving into an ownership role or signing a longer term lease.”