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WESTBOROUGH, MA-When New York City-based KS Partners acquired a quartet of suburban buildings last year from Berkeley Investments, including two here in the heart of Boston’s MetroWest region, principal Kambiz Shahbazi overlooked industry skepticism about the prospects for a turnaround, pessimism fueled by substantial vacancy in the assets and a submarket flush with office and flex space. Having just brought 115 and 117 Flanders Rd. to 100% occupancy by leasing 44,000 sf in a trio of deals, KS Partners has seemingly overcome those obstacles, and Shahbazi says the firm did so in half the time allocated and at rates escalating above $20 per sf.

“I wish we had more buildings like them in the Westborough market,” Shahbazi tells GlobeSt.com. The leases were headlined by a 21,000-sf commitment from PANalytical Inc., a global leader in X-ray systems that will occupy 117 Flanders Rd. The firm is being joined there by Malvern Instruments, which is taking 14,000 sf, while life sciences giant Genzyme Corp. has leased nearly 9,000 sf at the adjacent 115 Flanders Rd. That 66,000-sf building is the larger and older of the structures, having opened in 1987, two years before the 50,000-sf 117 Flanders Rd. came on line. The Berkeley Investments portfolio acquired by KS Partners also included 1881 Worcester Rd. in Framingham and 3 Riverside Dr. in Andover.

Besides the work of the exclusive leasing agents, CB Richard Ellis/New England, Shahbazi credits an improving suburban office market and the quality of the buildings for landing prospects over competing options. Patience honoring client requests and timetables also played a role, he says, with KS Partners taking a hands-on approach to design, construction and management of its tenant space. “That is a big reason for the success,” Shahbazi says, adding the same approach helped convince another firm to recently take 20,000 sf in the Andover building, an 89,000-sf property that was about 50% empty when KS took it over. The rate is now in the 80% range, he says, with encouraging velocity for the remaining space.

KS Partners has already harvested the Framingham building, flipping it quickly for $138 per sf after buying the 64,000-sf asset for approximately $100 per sf. “It has been a phenomenal outcome,” Shahbazi says of the portfolio overall. “We are very pleased with what we have been able to accomplish.” The ability to understand different markets aided KS in taking over the geographically diverse package, he adds, with Andover located in the suburban North region.

The CBRE leasing team handling the Westborough leases are principals Christopher Tosti, Robert McGuire and Robert Walles, along with Associate Britton Derkac. CBRE represented Genzyme as well, while Brett O’Brien of O’Brien Commercial and Jim Bartholomew of NAI Hunneman Commercial Co. were brokers for Malvern Instruments and PANalytical.

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