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BOSTON-Less than 18 months after acquiring Somerville’s Assembly Square for $65 million, Rockland, MD-based Federal Realty Investment Trust has grabbed a trio of suburban Boston properties in a $150 million off-market negotiation. That brings the REIT’s Bay State holdings to more than 2 million sf.

The three properties, Linden Square in Wellesley, Chelsea Commons in Chelsea, and the North Dartmouth Shopping Center in North Dartmouth, were all acquired from affiliates of Eastern Development of Woburn, as part of a long-term hold, REIT EVP Jeff Berkes tells GlobeSt.com. The acquisitions bring the Trust’s Boston portfolio to more than two million sf of retail space, including properties owned through Federal Realty’s joint venture with Clarion Lion Properties Fund.

“Boston is a very important market to us,” says Berkes, who is also chief investment officer. “It’s one of our key markets on the East Coast, and these are very well-located properties in each of the submarkets.” Berkes notes that all three assets met the REIT’s criteria for buying strong retail properties in markets with high population, strong income and strong barriers to entry.

Linden Square is currently in the midst of a $50-million redevelopment that includes 10 buildings comprising approximately 250,000 sf of retail and office space. Redevelopment plans for the 18.4-acre parcel include the creation of several new buildings, the addition of a spa and health club and improvements to office and common areas. The initial phase of that project is set to open by the end of 2007. Company officials say it may explore additional redevelopment opportunities at the site over the next few years.

Chelsea Commons is comprised of a 192,000-sf community shopping center while North Dartmouth Shopping Center contains 28.2 acres with long-term triple-net land leases to Lowe’s Home Improvement and Stop & Shop.

The acquisitions follow Fed’s $64-million buy of Assembly Square in Somerville in March 2005. Company spokespeople said at the time that they plan to invest $38 million into redeveloping that retail site over the next few years. Berkes says the REIT plans other acquisitions in the Boston area, including the possible acquisition next year of a second phase of Chelsea Commons.

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