NASHUA, NH-Mimicking a similar trend of the 1980s, the strength of the Massachusetts office market is beginning to spill over into New Hampshire, with both investors and tenants increasingly eyeing the Granite State as an alternative to rising prices in Boston’s Downtown and suburban markets.

In the latest deal, a New York investment group has acquired Indian Head Plaza in Nashua. The first class office building, also known as 30 Temple Place, sold for $9.75 million to Everest Partners. According to Senior Director James Belli of Cushman & Wakefield, the buyers felt the upside at 30 Temple Place was promising over the near term.

“They are looking for good returns, and this property is well-positioned in the market,” says Belli, whose firm brokered the sale on behalf of both parties. Senior directors Peter Joseph and Tom Farrelly also worked on the assignment, as did associate directors Chris Phaneuf and Denis Dancoes.

Everest has traditionally focused on retail, says Belli, but the firm felt the 110,000-sf Nashua property was a solid investment in the northern New England office market. Along with Progress Software, the fully occupied building also houses Internet Commerce Solutions, a fast-growing startup company that is now in nearly 30,000 sf.

The tenant roster reflects the mixed bag of companies in the New Hampshire market. Progress is a Massachusetts-based company that needed inexpensive office space as close as possible to its headquarters in Bedford, while ICS exemplifies success among homegrown New Hampshire companies. Along with growth from within, Belli says the location is manageable for firms coming from the south.”It’s really an extension of the Massachusetts market,” says Belli, noting that Nashua is about the same distance from Boston to the north as booming Westborough, MA is to the west. The class A office vacancy is currently 5.4%, according to C&W, while average rents are at just $18.34 per sf, compared to nearly $30 per sf in suburban Boston.

On the investment front, the ability to acquire commercial space below replacement cost is becoming increasingly difficult in Massachusetts, while major pension funds and other institutional buyers are not as dominating in the north as they are in the Hub. That allows entrepreneurs and private investment funds a greater chance to buy properties in New Hampshire, says Belli.

The Nashua deal reflects the continued disposition of equity real estate by John Hancock Mutual Life Insurance Co. C&W has also recently sold two southern New Hampshire buildings on behalf of Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association. It also has another office property under contract there, and is close to selecting a buyer for a fourth building. “It’s a good market right now,” says Belli.

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