The end of the 1990s has not meant the end of interest in Greater Boston’s commercial real estate market, with investment sales roaring along during the first half of 2000. According to a review by Trammell Crow, the top 15 transactions totaled $1.73 billion in the first six months, a 26% increase over the total dollar volume registered at that point in 1999.

“Last year was so hot, you wondered whether we might have reached the peak,” says Trammell Crow principal Edward C. Maher Jr. “But it hasn’t slowed at all … The pipeline just always seems full.”

The average sales price of the top 15 transactions was $115 million, with a $70 million median figure. Leading the way was Deutsche Bank’s 49% purchase of both 53 and 75 State St., a $685 million-bite to buy into those prime Financial District office towers. In second place was Boston Capital’s $168.5-million acquisition of 99 High St., a deal considered by many to have solid long-term upside. Next in line was a retail portfolio, with Northstar Properties acquiring 19 shopping centers in five New England states from Shaw’s Supermarkets. The portfolio included 1.4 million sf of space.

The Cambridge market has plenty of activity thus far in 2000, fueled largely by a space crunch that is sending office rents into the stratosphere. With stories of $80 per sf rents in the offing, investors are wasting little time haggling over sales prices. That was affirmed earlier this summer when Capital Properties scooped up 215 First St. for $68 million, buying the property barely a week after it hit the street. Paradigm Properties and Westbrook Partners made their foray into Cambridge with the $49.9-million purchase of the Davenport Building, while properties now on the market include Riverfront Office Park and 1030 Massachusetts Ave.

Pension funds have been among the most aggressive players again in 2000, although Dutch and German money has also made its way into the mix as well. The California State Teachers Retirement System paid $41.6 million for the Concord Road Corporate Center in Billerica, and Clarion Partners paid $104.5 million for Waltham Woods Corporate Center, its $267 per sf a record price for suburban product.

Maher says the greatest focus among investors today is so-called value-added deals, with buyers looking for properties that are leased below market or requiring physical upgrades to achieve a better rate. On the flip side, another class of investors is chasing the stable, core properties that have a stable roster of tenants and little chance of depreciating should a downturn hit. German investors are typically focused on that end of the market, while private opportunity funds are leading the pack for value-added acquisitions.

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