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BOSTON-A New York real estate investment firm has made its second major Hub purchase in two years, as the RAK Group has bought One Congress St., a parking garage and office complex sited in the city’s Government Center district. The firm paid Dean Witter Realty $118 million for the 10-story structure, which is considered Boston’s largest enclosed public parking facility.

“We saw this as an exceptional opportunity to upgrade and maximize the upside potential of one of Downtown Boston’s most strategically located properties,” says RAK principal Michael Zerner in explaining the acquisition. The company typically invests in underperforming office, residential and retail properties in central business districts of so-called 24-hour cities.Built in 1967 as an eight-level parking facility, One Congress St. was expanded in 1990 when 300,000 sf of office space was grafted onto the top, providing unusually large floorplates of 150,000 sf each. The office space is currently leased to two government agencies, the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development.

With 2,200 parking spaces, the property contains 14% of the city’s Downtown parking inventory. Zerner notes that the city currently has one of the strongest parking markets in the country, while office rents in the building are considered well below market given that rents have grown nearly 40% since 1995.

RAK’s other Boston holding is located just a few blocks away in the Downtown Crossing shopping district. The firm paid $27 million for 294-300 Washington St. in 1998, and is now in the process of renovating the 11-story, 200,000-sf building into a mix of office and retail space.

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