WORCESTER, MA- The Roxbury-based Mayo Group purchased a four-property portfolio from the Belfonti Associates of Connecticut for $14 million. The properties, located on the Worcester Commons, comprise two mixed-use residential/retail buildings, an office building and a parking lot totaling 400,000 sf.

The properties are the 215,000-sf Bancroft Commons and the 83,000-sf, Park Plaza. Both are mid-rise residential/retail spaces with 188 and 90 residential units, respectively. Also involved in the sale are the Preservation Worcester Building, a mid-rise office building with 16,000 sf and a 13,000-sf parking lot located on 514-522 Main St.

“We feel that there is a great upside to this deal,” Taran T. Grigsby, attorney for the Mayo Group, tells GlobeSt.com. “These assets are undervalued.”

The Mayo Group is relatively new to the Worcester market, but controls nearly 1,400 residential units in the greater Boston area as well as approximately 1 million sf of commercial space. The firm recently purchased two buildings in Boston–211 Congress St., a 70%-occupied office building, and 121 Portland St., a vacant North Station building with “no concrete plans,” according to Grigsby.

The value of the properties was greatly enhanced when Boston-based Berkeley Investments Inc. and Starwood Capital of Greenwich Connecticut entered into a joint venture to purchase and renovate the Worcester Commons. The Commons is a one million sf, mixed-use outlet mall purchased by the JV in June of 2004.

Belfonti Associates, a real estate development and investment firm, purchased the properties individually between 1999 and 2003, for approximately $7.55 million, realizing a nearly $6.5 million return on the relatively quick turnaround.

Belfonti Associates president and CEO Michael Belfonti decided to strike while the irons were hot. “Now is the time to capitalize on the appreciation of these assets, while still leaving economic upside for the new developer. Our current strategy is to move out of smaller markets and to seek acquisitions in larger MSAs nationwide.” Bob Tito, executive vice president and principal of Hunneman Commercial, represented both the buyer and seller.


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