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TYNGSBOROUGH, MA-Providing a boost to the Interstate 495 North industrial market, Beacon Power has signed a 103,000-sf lease at the former Hussey Plastics plant. Beacon Power will use the facility at 65 Middlesex Rd. to design, develop and operate energy storage systems that provide frequency regulation services in US electricity markets.

Situated just off Route 3 on a 17.7-acre parcel, 65 Middlesex Rd. offers a variety of pluses for industrial tenants, according to officials at the Stubblebine Co., the commercial real estate firm that represents landlord GFI Partners. Besides ceiling heights reaching 24 feet, the building is adaptable for uses ranging from warehouse to hi-tech manufacturing, of benefit to Beacon’s multi-level platform, relays Stubblebine. Freight rail access to the complex was deemed another reason the facility won out in the space search. Relocating from Wilmington, Beacon Power needed room for expansion as well, explain the brokers, who included David and James Stubblebine and Ellen Garthoff for GFI. Lenny Owens of McCall & Almy in Boston served as broker for the tenant.

The commitment by Beacon Power is among the largest industrial leases in the region in 2007, and was especially welcome given a dearth of activity seen for much of the year to date. Siegel Egg taking 170,000 sf in Billerica, and Sterling Corp. securing 70,000 sf in Chelmsford were the only substantial deals in Q2, says Richards Barry Joyce & Partners in its regional review. The northern tier of I-495 has a 16.4% vacancy rate, says RBJ.

According to statistics from Grubb & Ellis, there has been 323,000 sf of negative absorption in the area’s overall industrial sector through mid-year, bringing the vacancy rate in its survey to 16.1%. That is highest of any of the four industrial submarkets tracked by Grubb & Ellis in Greater Boston. The next highest is 14.9% in the west, followed by 12.0% in the south region. The Central market has the tightest rate at 10.0%, while the market overall has posted negative net absorption of 48,000 sf through mid-year.

Based in Boston, GFI Partners has owned 65 Middlesex Rd. since buying it in late 2000 for $3.1 million. The firm earlier this month took out a $5.5-million mortgage on the property from Anglo Irish Bank Corp.

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