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BOSTON-A prime Financial District office building is among the first Downtown assets hitting the sales block this year, the owners of 100 Franklin St. have confirmed. Oasis Development Enterprises acquired the nine-story, 117,000-sf building for $19.5 million in August 2004.

“We are excited about the possibilities,” Oasis managing director Ivan Chow tells GlobeSt.com in acknowledging the firm has retained Cushman & Wakefield’s Capital Markets Group to package 100 Franklin St. Observers say the robust office market could lead to a substantial gain for Oasis, with Boston enjoying single digit vacancies and a run-up in rents to near-record levels. Chow declined to discuss pricing targets, but one industry professional claims 100 Franklin St. could fetch upwards of $300 per sf, or around $35 million.

Chow notes that the uncertain capital climate has led to “a fairly unpredictable market” as 2008 commences, making prognostications of how buyers will respond difficult to gauge. At the same time, he concurs that 100 Franklin St is in a stronger position than when SSR Realty Advisors was forced to sell the building to Oasis at a deep discount during the regional recession that hit barely two years after acquiring it for $27.5 million. Not only was the Boston Stock Exchange recently bought by Nasdaq, occupancy has risen from 61% to nearly 90% during Oasis’ tenure of the 100-year-old structure. “The building has done extremely well,” says Chow, adding he believes the offering could serve as a “litmus test” for investor appetite of other Boston product.

Although sales conditions have cooled dramatically since last summer, certain sectors such as Downtown Boston and Cambridge are expected to draw interest across a broad spectrum. A mix of Irish, German and Spanish money aggressively pursued Boston last year, and many believe the weak dollar will continue to attract such money even as US pension funds and REITs eye opportunities in core areas. One official whose firm has acquired multiple properties locally during the past year says the investor will likely take a run at 100 Franklin St. “We love the location,” says the source, who maintains $300 per sf is “not unreasonable” to expect among some bidders. Many other class B buildings in the Financial District have sold well above that rate in recent months, partly because class A rents are so high that tenants are seeking price alternatives and turning to class B buildings for relief.

Oasis purchased 100 Franklin St. during a 2004 buying spree that also included the nearby 10 Milk St. Chow says the 277,000-sf 10 Milk St. is not being put up for sale, with Oasis continuing its repositioning program on that asset. Controlled by Asian businessman Rev. Raymond Lee and his wife, Priscilla Lee, Oasis and sister company East West Enterprises also own such well-known suburban Boston assets as the Tower at Northwoods in Danvers, 50 Dunham Rd. in Beverly and 355 Wood Rd. in Braintree.

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