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BOXBOROUGH, MA-Lend Lease Real Estate Investments Inc. has acquired 80 Central St. on behalf of an undisclosed pension fund client. The real estate financial services company is not revealing the purchase price but an industry source tells GlobeSt.com that the tab was approximately $13.7 million.

The three-story office building is situated on 37 acres and is 100% leased to NEC/Vibren Technologies, Nortel Networks and Advanced Micro Devices. According to the source, the price, which works out to the low $90s per sf, is a good deal, although he points out that “the building has some lease roll coming up in 2004 so there is some risk related to that.”

Scott I. Oran, a principal at Lend Lease, says that the building represents “tremendous upside potential at a significant discount to replacement cost.” He tells GlobeSt.com that as the market recovers and improves within the next few years, the building will likely re-lease the space at better rates. “We think the benefits outweigh the risks,” he adds. “There is a potential for real appreciation and in the meantime there is good cash flow.”

While Oran acknowledges that the real estate market in the Greater Boston area has been generally quiet recently, he anticipates that there will be a number of big transactions in the second half of the year. He notes that there are a number of large projects on the market now, such as Crosspoint in Lowell which has an asking price of $170 million as well as a number of office towers downtown. “They are going to change hands soon,” he says. “There is more investor interest now.”

Perhaps, most significantly, Oran, quoting Lend Lease’s in-house economist Ken Rosen, notes that at this point real estate is the safest of all the asset classes. “The stock market looks miserable, bonds are potentially down and these are difficult times for hedge funds and venture capital firms.” In light of all that, real estate is “not too bad.”

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