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WILMINGTON, MA-A Scarborough, ME-based real estate group has purchased a flex/office building from the New Boston Fund. Ram Management Co. paid $11 million for 100 Research Dr., a 103,000-sf structure sited on 15 acres in the Ballardvale commercial district near Interstate 93.

Primarily focused on value-add deals that require extensive work, Ram made an exception on 100 Research Dr., explains EVP Brian Gagne. The 20-year-old building, he says, has a solid countenance and was well maintained by NBF, which paid $6.8 million for the asset in August 1999. “It is in excellent condition,” Gagne tells GlobeSt.com, requiring mainly cosmetic improvements. There is some lease-up ahead as well given a current occupancy of 65%, but Gagne expressed confidence that exclusive agents Newmark Knight Frank will be up to the task. NKF represented Ram in buying the asset, and brokers Jim Thomson and Doug Jacoby will oversee leasing of the remaining 38,000 sf, much of it laboratory.

“They’ve done a great job for us,” Gagne says of Thomson’s team, which has assisted Ram on filling other Massachusetts properties acquired in recent years. Ram has overhauled CRE in Canton and Marlborough, having repositioned 445 Simarano Dr. in the latter community in one of its most recent endeavors. That investment paid off last year when life sciences firm Cytyc Corp. took nearly all the 175,000 sf there in a 12-year deal for lab/manufacturing space. It took “a ton of work” to make marketable, says Gagne, but 445 Simarano Dr. could prove to be among Ram’s most lucrative investments. The laboratory capabilities at 100 Research Dr. were another attraction, he adds, especially given the growing presence of life sciences companies in suburban Boston’s northern tier.

Wilmington is among several I-93 communities there drawing the attention of developers convinced Boston’s recovery will extend away from central Route 128 to fringe districts. “We like that market from Wakefield to Wilmington to Woburn,” says Gagne. Ram has already seen success in Wakefield, for example, bringing occupancy at the recently purchased 107 Audubon Rd., a 156,000-sf building, from 58% to 82%. Other investors active in the area include Griffith Properties, Nordic Properties, Transwestern Investment Co. and the Gale Cos.

Headquartered in Scarborough, ME, and known traditionally as a retail developer focused on outlet product, Ram has offices in Wakefield and in Miami, having just secured an 80,000-sf industrial building in South Florida. Despite the slate of assets already in tow, Ram is looking for more, says Gagne. “We would definitely like to grow in our established markets,” he explains. Ram has opportunities currently on the radar screen in Massachusetts, Gagne says, although he declined to identify the prospects.

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