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FRAMINGHAM, MA-Colony Realty Partners is negotiating to buy a quartet of office buildings here totaling nearly 400,000 sf, industry sources are telling GlobeSt.com. CRP’s targets include the landmark Framingham Corporate Center and the Meadows, a 120,000-sf first class property fronting Route 9. The would-be seller is Maric Inc., a Needham-based real estate investment firm sporting a lengthy track record in Massachusetts.

“They are going to buy it,” one broker aware of the discussions insists of CRP. The firm also reportedly would acquire 125 Newbury St. and 959 Concord St. as part of the package. Given the uncertain capital climate and wispy economy, observers caution that no deal is immune from late-stage dissolution, but most spoken to said they will be surprised if the sale to CRP does not cross the finish line. “It’s getting really, really close,” says one broker.

At this point, the parties involved have yet to acknowledge the deal, with calls not returned from CRP’s Boston office or from Maric principal Mark Rubin. Eastdil Secured’s New England investment group is said to be handling the sales process, but members of that team also did not respond by press deadline. Sources could not provide a sales price for the package or a projected closing date.

Maric has owned portions of the portfolio since the mid-1990s, paying an aggregate of $42 million in four separate transactions. The holdings feature the 165,000-sf Framingham Corporate Center, aka 492 Old Connecticut Path. “It’s an excellent building,” offers one Framingham-based broker who says the asset has held up well despite having been constructed more than 20 years ago. The original developer was Centros Properties. The Meadows is the second largest structure in the portfolio, while 959 Concord St. has approximately 75,000 sf and 125 Newbury St. is just under 35,000 sf.

Although Boston Scientific is freeing up 90,000 sf at Cochituate Place in Natick, as reported by GlobeSt.com, the Framingham/Natick office submarket still possesses among the strongest fundamentals in suburban Boston. CB Richard Ellis estimates a 6.6% vacancy rate after the first quarter for a submarket of 6.7 million sf. That is the lowest among 10 submarkets reviewed and some industry veterans predict the lack of product will lead to rental increases, especially as tenants in the abutting Route 128 Central belt seek rent relief from that core submarket. CBRE puts the chasm at more than $10 per sf between Framingham/Natick and Route 128 Central, which has an average asking rate of $31.86 per sf versus $21.55 per sf for Framingham/Natick.

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