BRAINTREE, MA-After being held by one entity for decades, a 417,000-sf portfolio of flex and office space has its second new owner this year. Dubai Investment Group Real Estate is taking a majority position in the 10-building assemblage, joining KS Partners LLC, the Billerica-based firm that secured the properties in June for $52 million. KS will retain day-to-day oversight and leasing of the holdings.

“Acquisition of well-positioned assets in growth markets fits our strategy of building a strong global investment portfolio,” says Anthony Juliano, managing director of DIG Real Estate in the Americas. “The transaction builds on DIG Real Estate’s already strong track record in value-added investing, and we are excited to be teaming with KS Partners.”

The feeling is mutual, KS Partners founder Kambiz Shahbazi tells The two entities have “a shared philosophy” for value creation, says the veteran developer, whose firm owns several dozen commercial properties in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire, typically those requiring a value-add approach. The idea of bringing in an institutional capital source upon buying a property has been previously employed by KS Partners, Shahbazi notes, but he was especially careful to ensure that the Braintree relationship was aligned properly.

“I feel very excited about Braintree, and I needed a partner who had the same long-term strategy,” he explains. While well-located and maintained professionally by their former owner, the Flatley Co., the buildings will require a level of investment to reach full potential, says Shahbazi. DIG’s patience and deep capital pool will enable the developer to make the necessary upgrades to attract tenants, he predicts.

The three assets making up the portfolio include the Mark 128 Office Park on Wood Road, the four-building Blue Hill Commerce Center on Brooks Drive, and the Forbes Business Center. Located on Forbes Road, the latter entity is the largest on a square foot basis at 225,000 sf in four buildings. KS Partners has undertaken a plan to reposition the Forbes Business Center by adding new uses such as retail, an effort that recently succeeded in a critical variance by the community. Shahbazi says Braintree officials have been “very receptive” to suggested changes, praising the town for a recognition that the properties serve as the “gateway” to their municipality. While final approvals have yet to be delivered, Shahbazi says he is optimistic the requests for the changes will be granted.

While only about 30,000 sf of space will be converted as retail, Shahbazi says he believes that plus other cosmetic and infrastructure improvements will further enhance the buildings for tenants. “It has great potential for the future,” he says of the buildings and the South Shore office market in general. KS Partners also announced the hiring of broker Richard Pilla of Paramount Partners as exclusive listing agent for the retail, a block of space being carved out in a design from Cubellis Associates Architects of Boston.

Ackman-Ziff handled the partnership structure between KS Partners and DIG Real Estate, an agreement that Shahbazi says he is hopeful will lead to new ventures between the two as DIG increases its exposure to New England real estate. Legal counsel for the Braintree deal was provided by Dionne & Gass on behalf of KS Partners. Morrison & Foerster represented DIG Real Estate.


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