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BOSTON-Yet another tenant has signed on at Seaport Center, the nine-story, 458,000-sf office building in the city’s emerging Seaport District. A trade group, the International Health Racquet & Sportsclub Association, is taking just under 20,000 sf on the second floor of the building, also known as 451 D St., bringing occupancy to nearly 70%.

“That lease is signed,” relays Robert Doherty of the Beal Cos., the Boston-based real estate and investment firm that acquired the building in May 2006 in partnership with Rockpoint Group LLC. Doherty says Ihrsa will be relocating to the property by year’s end from 263 Summer St., also part of the Seaport District.

Previously known as the Fargo Building, 451 D St. was taken back by its lender prior to Beal and Rockpoint’s acquisition. A plan to convert the building to residential had resulted in the departure of several tenants, but upon buying the asset, Beal and Rockpoint undertook a campaign to restock Seaport Center as an office building. The effort has already yielded a number of sizeable commitments, including a Hart-Hanks subsidiary, the Aberdeen Group, which leased 26,000 sf in the first quarter, as reported by GlobeSt.com.

Previously, the New York City-based investment group JP Morgan, was rumored to be negotiating a six-figure lease at Seaport Center. Doherty continues to decline comment on that or other rumored suitors for the building, citing confidentiality agreements in place. Nonetheless, sources insist JP Morgan is in talks to bring divisions from Boston’s Financial District to Seaport Center, after the firm had entertained a departure to the suburbs.

Whether JP Morgan is targeting Seaport Center should be resolved over the near term, according to industry observers. In the meantime, the landlord is busy getting the space ready for Ihrsa and other new arrivals. “We’re just plugging along,” Doherty says of the lease-up initiative. In the Ihrsa lease, Ben Heller, VP of Jones Lang LaSalle, negotiated for the tenant, while JLL principals William Barrack and William Collins were brokers for the landlord.

The pact bolsters a submarket that had a slow beginning to 2008, at least according to JLL’s first quarter report. The review shows negative net absorption of 45,000 sf in Q1 for the inventory of 4.7 million sf. Despite its torpid start, the Seaport District still bears one of Boston’s tightest vacancy rates, estimated at 8.3% by JLL. Only the Back Bay’s 4% vacancy is lower among six submarkets tracked by JLL.

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