Just how hot is Greater Boston’s commercial real estate market these days? Billerica has the answer–and Nordic Properties has the cash to prove it.

Barely two months after buying a 300,000-sf industrial property in the northern Massachusetts community, Nordic has doubled that investment by selling the property outright to Nortel Networks. Nordic acquired the building this spring for $16.1 million before trading it to the Canadian-based telecommunications concern for an astounding $33.5 million.

“That’s incredible,” one Boston investment specialist said when informed of the deal. “I guess they really had the stars lined up on that one.”

The broker, who requested anonymity, says he had another buyer lined up to acquire the property, but was slightly outbid by Nordic. Such a sizeable windfall is unusual in the industry, the broker notes, adding that it typically requires someone who needs the space badly.

“It’s a function of timing, what else is available, and the specific needs of the user,” the broker says. “This company obviously looked at it and said, ‘If we don’t have the facility to operate, we will be losing a lot more dollars than if we overpay for [the real estate].’ That’s really the bottom line.”

Although the deal may have been a home run, Nordic is not being allowed to let out a victory whoop. Citing a strict confidentiality agreement, Nordic officials would not comment on the transaction, even declining to confirm whether a sale has occurred. Registry of Deeds records acknowledge as much, however, and also reveal that the property traded in late 1998 to another firm for just $12.6 million. Calls to Nortel were not returned by press deadline.

Prior to the Nortel sale, Nordic had sent out press releases announcing its plans to redevelop the building into a mix of office and research space, one that was to be dubbed Rivertech Park. According to a source familiar with the effort, Nordic had completed its design and was preparing the site when Nortel stepped forward. The telecommunications company, which supposedly prefers to own rather than lease for security reasons, reportedly is using much of Nordic’s scheme in building out the space.

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