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WALTHAM, MA-Comcast Inc. has signed one of the bigger leases of 2007 in suburban Boston, with the telecommunications services provider committing to more than 60,000 sf at 309 Waverly Oaks Rd. The four-story, 143,000-sf building was developed on spec by Duffy Properties LLC.

The agreement comes after a slow opening to the year for Boston’s most dynamic suburban office market, with Jones Lang LaSalle indicating there was more than 48,000 sf of negative absorption in the Massachusetts Turnpike/Route 128 corridor during the opening quarter. As a result, the vacancy rate for the 19.1-million-sf submarket ticked up slightly to 9.1%, according to JLL reports.

Comcast officials did not return calls to detail their plans for the property, or say how many employees will operate from the building. Efforts to contact brokers for the tenant, Alex Dauria and Jay Nugent of JLL, were unsuccessful, but Duffy Properties principal Steven Duffy says the space will be used as a call center, with Comcast expected to consolidate similar offices in the region to the site. Duffy could not say which offices are involved, but tells GlobeSt.com that the company will occupy all of the second floor and three-quarters of the ground floor.

The lease bodes well for Duffy, a locally based company that sensed the Waltham market was ripe for more supply, especially mid-priced space that can take advantage of rents rolling at the highest quality buildings fronting Route 128. The building went under construction last fall, and is now ready for occupancy.

“We just felt the economic conditions were changing for the better, and decided it was time to pull the trigger,” says Duffy, who handled the leasing in-house and is the listing broker for the other space. While he would not provide specifics on the Comcast terms, Duffy says the remaining space at 309 Waverly Oaks Rd. is being marketed in the mid-$20-per-sf range. JLL puts the average rent in the submarket at $29.29 per sf, with some deals being achieved over $40 per sf.

Sticker-shocked tenants with leases rolling from the early part of the decade when rents were depressed have been finding their way to Waverly Oaks Office Park, says Duffy, whose company has 1.1 million sf in seven buildings. A companion to 307 Waverly Oaks Rd., 307 Waverly Oaks Rd., has signed nearly 30,000 sf in leases in the past month, says Duffy, while he reports brisk traffic for the upper two floors at 309 Waverly Oaks Rd. There are two proposals out each exceeding 20,000 sf, he says. “We like to [market] ourselves as an affordable alternative, and that’s what people are looking for” says Duffy.

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