WILMINGTON, MA-A tightening commercial real estate belt has been cinched in even more following a six-figure lease to Blue Raven Technology. The 100,000-sf renewal represents a 35,000-sf expansion by the company, which will now occupy all of Building D, one of four structures encompassing 110 Fordham Rd.

“The expansion integrates well with our operations and positions us for our current and future growth,” says BRT president Glen Kashgegian in announcing the agreement. Owned by KS Partners, 110 Fordham Rd. is directly off Interstate 93, sandwiched between the Route 128 and I-495 interchanges.

Formerly Pre-Owned Electronics, BRT has been at the park for a year. KS Partners EVP Robert Macnamara cites a solid, functional building and its management for securing BRT. “The property conforms to a standard of excellence required by growing companies,” says Macnamara, whose firm bought the 300,000-sf complex in March for $26 million. BRT broker Thomas Aitken also praises the park and its landlord. “They really worked hard with Blue Raven to get a deal done,” says Aitken, calling the decision “a logical choice” for his client. BRT has extended its pact into 2014.

“It’s a very nice, single story building that works well for them,” says Aitken, an NAI Hunneman Commercial Co. SVP who has been covering the Wilmington market since the early 1990s and reports that 2007 has seen an encouraging rebound. “It’s a recovery that is really being helped by the strength of Route 128,” explains Aitken, with escalating rents pushing prospects to outer alternatives. Even Woburn is heating up enough to spur thoughts of migration north, says Aitken. A rise in amenities such as increased retail is making I-93 North more appealing as well, says Aitken, who recalls the submarket’s darkest days in the 1990s when a 50% vacancy rate haunted local landlords.

The situation is now on the mend, however, as evidenced by third quarter figures from Meredith & Grew that show the vacancy rate at 23.2% after just under one million sf of net absorption through three quarters. Among the major leases already struck this year include Sofft Shoe Co. moving its headquarters from NH to a 37,000-sf operation at Brickstone Sq. in Andover and Enterasys Network leasing 151,000 sf at 50 Minuteman Rd. in Andover, while Wyeth Pharmaceuticals and Verizon took nearly 100,000 sf total at the Ballardvale Office Park in Wilmington.

Aitken says he anticipates the demand for space will continue into next year with several large requirements still circulating. That would be good news for KS Partners, as the New York City based real estate investment firm has a significant presence on the I-93 corridor, including other assets in Wilmington on Ballardvale St. and 3 Riverside Dr. in Andover, a 99,000-sf flex/office property. KS is presently in 24 communities in southern New Hampshire and Massachusetts, owning nearly 60 buildings.

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