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WALTHAM, MA-One of suburban Boston’s most visible office buildings has landed a tenant with global cache, as Richard Branson’s Virgin Money USA firm has committed to 30,000 sf at 60 Hickory Dr. The six-story 60,000-sf building is owned by King Street Properties, a local development firm that recently completed an extensive overhaul after buying the 41-year-old asset a year earlier.

“We are delighted to have Virgin Money choose the revitalized 60 Hickory Dr. as its US corporate headquarters,” King Street Properties founder Thomas Ragno says in a release. Formerly known as CircleLending, Virgin Money USA is an international leader in private loans and mortgages, and Ragno says he believes the established firm’s presence will bolster his property’s status “as one of the iconic Route 128 landmarks.”

Equally ebullient about the deal is Virgin Money USA VP Jim Robichau, who says the company was motivated by a combination of the building’s impressive sight lines along Route 128 and the upgrading of 60 Hickory Dr. by King Street Properties into a class A suburban address. “Employees, visitors and Virgin colleagues will be treated to an office environment that uniquely reflects the fun, innovative, people-focused nature of the Virgin brand,” relays Robichau. Sixty Hickory Dr. is situated in the Bear Hill Business Park between exits 26 and 27 of Route 128, a location which is close to the Massachusetts Turnpike and 10 miles from Downtown Boston. Amenities close to 60 Hickory Dr. include two luxury hotels, fitness centers and several restaurants.

Virgin Money was represented in the lease negotiations by Joseph Sciolla and Matt Harvey from the Boston office of Cresa Partners. CBRE/New England principal Steve Murphy and associate Alex Plaisted were agents for the landlord. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but one source put asking rents for the property in the $30-per-sf range. That would be among the higher rates for suburban Boston office space, although the core Route 128 Central submarket has seen 2007 deals in the newest properties achieve rates in the mid-$40s per sf. Jones Lang LaSalle estimates the average asking rate for space in the Route 128 Central submarket at $31.36 per sf through Q3 versus the overall suburban average rate of $22.77.

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