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BURLINGTON, MA-Yet another property trade initiated late last year has survived the recent turmoil dogging commercial real estate, as New Boston Fund completes its $21.3 million sale of 5 Burlington Woods, a three-story office building on three acres abutting Route 128. The sale of the 105,000 sf asset to ELV Associates was initially reported by GlobeSt.com in its Dec. 19, 2007 edition.

“We’re pleased with the results,” relays Jones Lang LaSalle managing director Scott Jamieson, a member of the investment sales team brokering the agreement. “It was a good, strong price reflective of the strong market.” Citing client confidentiality, Jamieson would not discuss terms, but sources acknowledged the building fetched just over $200 per sf. Jamieson represented the seller and procured the buyer along with JLL managing directors Catherine Daume, Michael Smith and Tamie Thompson, as well as SVP Gail McDonough and AVP Daniel Kollar.

Jamieson credits “a motivated buyer and seller” as one reason 5 Burlington Woods was able to reach the finish line at a time when the choppy sales climate doomed many other deals. ELV Associates president Scott Jenkins says the commitment reflects his firm’s confidence in 5 Burlington Woods and the northern tier of Route 128 in general. “With considerable growth in Burlington market rents in recent years, the property is well-positioned for value enhancement,” says Jenkins. Rents are into the $40 per sf range for select space, and other class A assets are scoring well into the $30′s per sf.

“The Burlington market is quite dynamic,” Jamieson agrees, “and ELV recognized the opportunity to acquire a well-located, well-leased asset which fits well into their strategy of a long-term ownership.” NBF SVP Jonathan Gillman expresses satisfaction regarding the harvesting of a property that the firm acquired in 2001 for $18 million. “Having stabilized the asset, we were able to recognize the opportunity for appropriate returns for our investors and allow us to focus our attention on future value-add opportunities in the marketplace,” says Gillman, whose firm also just closed on the sale of the Rivertech business park in Billerica for $45.2 million.

Five Burlington Woods was just one of several high-profile properties that JLL’s investment sales group handled in Burlington last year. Deals totaling $333 million included record pricing fetched for 4 van de Graaf Dr., plus the $212 million sale of the 800,000-sf Sun Microsystems campus and the $66.5 million disposition of the Burlington Woods Office Park, a three-building asset located adjacent to 5 Burlington Woods. The dominance of Burlington contributed to an impressive 2007 campaign for JLL’s Boston sales team. The group brokered $1.7 billion of product overall, a figure bolstered by the $377 million sale of a regional retail portfolio owned by Tedeschi Corp. that Managing Director James Koury negotiated.

Jamieson says skittish owners reluctant to trade in the uncertain environment have started 2008 out slower than normal, but he anticipates a rebound as the debt market imbroglio works through the system during the next three to six months. “By the end, I think we’ll have had a pretty good year,” he says, partly because of fresh capital sources clamoring to invest in real estate. Tertiary communities could struggle as investors seek safer harbors, Jamieson says, but he is among many experts anticipating that primary markets such as Greater Boston will garner interest. “Fundamentally, we’ve never been stronger,” he says.

Five Burlington Woods was 94% occupied at the time of the sale to ELV. Tenants include Fay, Spofford & Thorndike, an engineering/planning company; plus Hollister Associates and Linear Properties. Besides negotiating the sale, JLL was also named exclusive leasing agent for 5 Burlington Woods, an assignment being handled by Thompson and Kollar.

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