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PHILADELPHIA-As part of a two-property portfolio, Atlanta-based Wells Real Estate Funds acquired the headquarters of Independence Blue Cross here. The price for the 50-story, 840,000-sf building at 1901 Market St. is undisclosed. On condition of anonymity, a broker familiar with the transaction tells GlobeSt.com that Wells paid about $189 million or “in the area of $225 per sf.”

This is Wells’ first acquisition in the local market. The second property in the portfolio, which was owned by the real estate arm of Prudential Financial, is located in California.

The IBC building is 100% leased to Blue Cross for a “very, very long term,” according to GlobeSt.com’s source, who says it “goes well beyond 12 years.” He suggests that the income is of more importance to Wells than the investment value. The West Market submarket commands the highest office rental rates in Center City, and they range near or north of $30 per sf.

In partnership with a local-area developer that no longer exists, Independence Blue Cross began development of the postmodern tower during the building boom here of the late 1980s. It later bought out its now-defunct partner. The architect is Toronto-based WZMH Architects and Turner Construction was the general contractor. The building was completed in 1990. In the mid-1990s, Blue Cross sold the property to Prudential. According to published reports, Prudential paid approximately $150 million.

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