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READING, MA-National Development has closed on a 26-acre commercial parcel here, but managing partner Theodore Tye says the Newton-based real estate firm is still not exactly sure what will be built at the so-called Addison Wesley property overlooking Route 128. After receiving needed zoning changes from the town earlier this month, National is mulling two options, Tye tells GlobeSt.com, one of which would focus on the office market, whereas the second plan would provide a mix of office and residential uses.

“We’re going to let the market decide,” Tye relays, although he says the initial push will be to develop the property as office space. Plan A, as Tye refers to that concept, would yield about 400,000 sf in four or five buildings. “I think its one of the best suburban campus sites in the marketplace,” Tye says in explaining that preference. National has retained Grubb & Ellis to seek potential tenants, with brokers Phil Giunta and George Nugent heading up that assignment. Giunta and Nugent also negotiated the $18.9-million sale of the property to National from Pearson Education, which acquired the campus in 1999 after buying the occupant, Addison Wesley Publishing, and subsequently relocating those employees.

Access and visibility to Route 128 are among the reasons Tye offers in predicting that office users would be drawn to the opportunity. Not only does the entrance adjoin Exit 38, the property at Jacob Way and Main Street is also just one exit north of the critical juncture of Interstate 93. The parcel is 12 miles from Downtown Boston. G&E will hit the pavement hard in early 2008 to drum up a response, and National will then make a determination on what direction to head, Tye says. The company is still seeking some permit approvals, but National hopes to be in the ground by year’s end with one plan or the other.

National’s alternate concept, Plan B, would include about 175,000 sf of office space and several residential concepts, including apartments, senior housing and townhomes. Zoning changes won at town meeting allows up to 203 apartments. Tye says feedback from the community indicates that either concept would be acceptable, noting that the zoning changes were voted in overwhelmingly. The response was certainly more congenial than that for a previous bid to develop a lifestyle center retail complex at the property, an effort rejected largely on concerns regarding traffic impact.

One of National’s partners in the project is Jeremy Sclar, whose W/S Development Associates had pursued the lifestyle center plan. Another partner is Pyramid Advisors, a Boston firm focused on hotel development. That does not necessarily mean a hotel would be included in the plans, although the parcel is now zoned for hospitality and Tye says Plan A could accommodate that use.

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