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WILMINGTON, MA-Despite a difficult quarter for the Route 128 North industrial submarket, one building here has enjoyed a slew of leasing to help close out 2007 on a positive note. Thanks to nearly 110,000 sf of space commitments by four tenants, 1 Burlington Ave. is now at full occupancy.

Saccos headlines the activity at the landmark distribution facility just north of the juncture of Route 128 and Interstate 93, with the firm securing 36,000 sf. Trainor Trucking is leasing 32,000 sf, while RMA Fitness and Wynco are each taking 20,000 sf. Landlord GFI Partners and all tenants except Trainor were represented by David, James and Micah Stubblebine and Ellen Garthoff of the Stubblebine Co. Bruce Levine and David Connelly of CB Richard Ellis negotiated for the landlord on the Trainor transaction.

Officials at Winchester-based Stubblebine Co., which has been retained as exclusive listing agent for the property, attribute the brisk leasing at 1 Burlington Ave. to GFI’s hands-on, value added approach to real estate. The Boston-based has owned 1 Burlington Ave. since buying it for $5.6 million in 1997.

The Metro North section of suburban Boston’s industrial market has had a sporadic year, with the Route 3 North corridor surging in the final frame of 2007. That submarket of nearly 10 million sf posted 50% of the net positive absorption seen in the fourth quarter in the entire suburban Boston market of 133 million sf, according to figures compiled by CB Richard Ellis. The real estate services firm reports that Greater Boston had a healthy 548,000 sf of net absorption for the quarter, of which 274,000 sf was registered in Route 3 North.

One of the largest submarkets at 20.8 million sf, the Route 128 North stretch of Metro North had the worst quarterly showing among 11 districts tracked by CBRE, with negative net absorption of 75,000 sf despite the impressive leasing at 1 Burlington Ave. The adjacent I-495 Northeast submarket was also in the red at negative 12,000 sf absorption, even after a 61,000-sf lease was signed at 200 Danton Dr. in Methuen. David and James Stubblebine brokered that deal on behalf of the tenant, Graebel Van Lines, while landlord Lewis Heafitz of Equity Industrial was represented in-house by Bruce Levine.

The entire Metro North industrial region covered by CBRE encompasses 51.2 million sf and five submarkets, of which three recorded positive net absorption for the quarter. Even after the rocky ending to 2007, Route 128 North has the lowest availability rate of the five at 11.6%, whereas I-495 Northeast is highest at 27.9% for 9.2 million sf of inventory. The average asking rate of $9.39 per sf in Route 128 North is also the priciest among the five submarkets, compared to a low of $7.03 per sf for the close-in suburbs. Metro North overall averages $7.94 per sf, CBRE reports.

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