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BOSTON-Manulife Financial has begun construction on a 14-story office building here in the seaport district of South Boston. A company official tells GlobeSt.com that the Toronto-based company will use the building as the company’s US headquarters.

According to Tina Acranis, assistant vice president for marketing and communication for the firm’s real estate division, Manulife is developing the tower on land it is leasing from the Massachusetts Port Authority. Acranis could not say whether the company would have preferred to purchase the site but she notes that leasing the property was “consistent with what is available in Boston.” The company responded to a request for proposal put out by MassPort a year ago. Acranis also points out that, despite the area’s reputation as a ‘high barrier to entry’ city, the yearlong process was not unusually long for this type of project.

The $135 million project will consolidate the company’s US operations that are presently located in various leased offices around the city.

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