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FRANKLIN, MA-Its management team might not be much for talk, but Colony Realty Partners is taking plenty of action as a commercial real estate investor in suburban Boston. The firm is angling to buy 17 Forge Park here in the Interstate 495/Massachusetts Turnpike submarket, according to multiple sources, a pursuit reportedly being done on behalf of the same fund which just closed on an $82 million office portfolio in Framingham, as first detailed by GlobeSt.com.

“That is happening,” maintains one source tracking the Forge Park negotiations, a notion supported by other industry professionals. It is unclear whether a contract has been inked, or what the sales price might be for the single-story, 80,000-sf building, which was originally constructed by National Development of Newton as a distribution center and regional headquarters for Keebler Foods. One veteran broker of the I-495 market provided a ballpark estimate of $80 to $85 per sf, depending on the status of the tenant.

As in the case of the Framingham portfolio and previous deals, Boston-based Colony Realty Partners did not respond to inquiries regarding 17 Forge Park. The firm has yet to even acknowledge the presence of a third fund, but market watchers maintain the group is indeed making the latest round of investments for that vehicle in the wake of its Colony Realty Partners LP and Colony Realty Partners II LP funds. Those two ventures have already given Colony Realty a national stockpile of industrial, multifamily, office and retail properties. According to the firm’s website, the acquisition focus is typically on small and mid-sized properties and assets sporting strong cash flow that generate strong and consistent returns.

Although Franklin remains among suburban Boston’s strongest industrial centers, the Interstate 495/Massachusetts Turnpike submarket had a difficult start to 2008, registering negative net absorption of 100,000 sf in a review by Jones Lang LaSalle. The Greater Boston industrial sector overall had negative 1.34 million sf of absorption in Q1, says JLL, with six of seven submarkets tracked ending the opening frame in the red. Interstate 495/Massaachusetts Turnpike does have a vacancy rate of 16.7%, slightly below the market average of 17.8% for 60.8 million sf.

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