In what could turn out to be a particularly sweet deal for the New England Confectionary Co. (Necco), the local candymaker is selling its headquarters at 254 Massachusetts Ave. for a reported $76.5 million. Tribeca Partners, founded by a broker from Insignia/ESG in New York City, is said to be planning a telecommunications data center in the massive property.

“That’s the word on the street,” says one Boston real estate broker familiar with the deal. The source, who requested anonymity, insists that Tribeca has the property tied up. Insignia/ESG of Boston is said to be leasing broker.

Calls to broker William Brodsky at Insignia/ESG’s New York office were not returned. Citing a confidentiality agreement, Necco spokesman Stan Byerly declined comment, except to acknowledge that the 500,000-sf property is on the market. “It will all probably be known in the next couple of weeks, but right now we can’t say anything about it,” says Byerly.

Jeanne Strain of the Cambridge Business Development Center says it is well known that Necco has been trying to sell its plant, but adds she has not heard of Tribeca’s plans. With the building’s prominent locations on one of the city’s main thoroughfares, Strain says the developers may have difficulty pushing their project, given that data centers typically do not attract a lot of vitality. Such a use would probably have to be accentuated with a retail presence on the first floor, Strain says, or perhaps some residential units.

The deal could also be a blow for Cambridge, given that the 700-member workforce makes Necco one of the city’s largest employers. Byerly says the company, which makes the famous Necco Wafers and a variety of other candies, has found a new home, but declined comment on where it will be moving. The firm has been at its current home since 1926.Necco has tried to sell its property several times, but reportedly was unable to until now because it could not find an appropriate place to relocate. The broker familiar with the sale says the escalating rents in Cambridge will reward Necco’s patience, saying the company had one agreement six years ago to sell the property for $15 million, and another one more recently for $60 million.

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