SHREWSBURY, MA-The sale of a 670,000-sf office complex here was an institutional play–literally. User University of Massachusetts Medical Center paid $27.5 million for 333 South St. to Seagate Holdings, a disc-drive maker who inherited the property in a 2006 takeover of rival Maxtor Corp.

The transaction reflects “a little of both” expansion for the nearby medical facility and Seagate’s desire to jettison excess real estate, the seller’s broker, Christopher Tosti, tells Growth-minded Seagate is undertaking the approach for dozens of similarly acquired properties nationally, a strategy Tosti says is deemed a prudent investment approach. “They really needed to do this” to be fiscally responsible, he says of Seagate, which is headquartered in Scotts Valley, CA.

Tosti, who has represented the building through various ownerships along with CBRE/NE principals Robert Walles and Robert McGuire, says that Seagate will retain “a substantial presence” in the building for an unannounced term, and “pockets” of space will be available for other third-party tenants. But Tosti says he believes the intention is for UMass to ultimately employ the bulk of the two-building, interconnected complex for its own requirements. Despite its hefty size, the property is close to full right now, says Tosti.

Besides a prominent location in the heart of the MetroWest’s Route 9 corridor, plentiful parking and closeness to the medical center campus in abutting Worcester, Tosti says UMass will benefit from various physical features of 333 South St. As a manufacturing plant for DEC’s disc drive division and successors up to Seagate, one-third of the space is fitted out as clean rooms and could be altered to accommodate the medical center’s research needs in that area, says Tosti.

A veteran broker who handles both leasing and investment sales, Tosti concurs that the MetroWest is luring substantial public and private capital given the suddenly rising rents throughout Greater Boston. Nonetheless, the same dynamics driving that phenomenon were not prevalent for 333 South St., he says, casting it more as a mutually beneficial solution for two individual entities. That element provided for a smooth and equitable negotiation, he says, and a trade he considered “a fair outcome” for both buyer and seller. The team of Tosti, McGuire and Walles that brokered the deal also included recently relocated colleague Matthew Flaherty.

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