(Read more on the industrial market.)

FRANKLIN, MA-Complementing a series of recent building sales at the Franklin Industrial Park, a Fortune 500 tenant has signed one of suburban Boston’s biggest commercial lease agreements of 2007 in the 210-acre, master-planned development. Owens & Minor renewed for 227,000 sf at 135 Constitution Blvd., a 20-year-old warehouse facility owned by Invesco Real Estate.

“This transaction works out well for both Invesco and Owens & Minor, who have built on an already strong business relationship,” says broker John Lashar of Richards Barry Joyce & Partners. The Boston-based real estate services firm negotiated terms on behalf of the landlord, an assignment handled by Lashar, VP Paul Leone and Associate Robert Byrne. The tenant was represented by Ken Boyd of Jackson & Cooksey.

According to Lashar, 135 Constitution Blvd. offers an efficient layout able to accommodate the distribution needs of Owens & Minor, the nation’s leading supplier of medical/surgical supplies used by hospitals and physicians. The building features clear height to 30 feet and 34 loading docks. Combined with close proximity to Interstate 495 and other major roadways connecting to southern New England, the physical attributes make the building “a top distribution facility in the area,” according to Invesco principal David Bass. “Owens & Minor is an excellent tenant, and we are pleased to retain them,” adds Bass, whose firm acquired 135 Constitution Blvd. in 2005. The renewal also spares Owens & Minor the chore of relocating its large-scale distribution operations, notes Lashar.

Franklin is a centerpiece of the I-495 South industrial belt, a submarket sporting 16.2 million sf of warehouse space as of Q3, according to RBJ’s research report, indSTATus. The industrial vacancy rate for I-495 South is 16.4%. While a bit on the high side for suburban Boston, the vacancy levels have not curbed interest among commercial real estate investors, as evidenced by the brisk sales activity in the Franklin Industrial Park this autumn. In October, TA Associates paid $20.3 million for 20 Freedom Way, a 233,000-sf distribution center, while Lincoln Property Co. just purchased two assets there totaling 160,000 sf. Lincoln paid $15.6 million for those buildings, a deal first reported on GlobeSt.com.

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