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BOSTON-Essex River Ventures wrapped up its third Bay State buy this year with the $8-million acquisition of two connected buildings totaling 63,154 sf in the city’s Leather District. The 201-207 South St. property was sold by Zoom Electronics under a leaseback agreement that allows the seller to remain as a tenant in 25,200 sf of office space for the next two years. New York-based private equity firm Cronus Capital LP was Essex’s equity partner in the deal.

“Our company is pretty focused on acquiring value added opportunities that are under the radar screen of some of the larger institutional investors and this fit the bill nicely,” Essex River Ventures president John Fenton tells GlobeSt.com, adding that the property’s price point, location, flexible floor plates and window line contributed to the locally based firm’s purchasing decision.

The building, which is about 50% leased, will undergo extensive renovation work that includes entry and lobby enhancements along with exterior renovations under the new ownership, Fenton says. Floor plates will also be reworked to accommodate multi-tenant users, he adds.

The acquisition was the third in the Boston area since the beginning of the year for Essex, which has purchased about a dozen properties in Massachusetts and Rhode Island since the firm started three years ago. In August, the real estate investment and asset management firm acquired Inner Tech Park, a three-building, 161,440-sf office, lab and R&D complex at 52-56 Roland St. on the Charlestown and Somerville line for $19.4 million. A month earlier, it paid $28.4 million for a three-building, 313,000-sf R&D portfolio at 299-301 Ballardvale Rd. in Wilmington and Andover.

Fenton says the firm expects to grow its stabilized portfolio to between $200 million and $250 million by the end of 2007 with the acquisition of additional properties. Essex also plans to dispose of five assets by the end of January, he adds.

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