Heitman Pays Equity Residential $168M for Alewife Apartments

Heitman Pays Equity Residential $168M for Alewife Apartments

By Joe Clements

CAMBRIDGE—In a mega-$168 million trade that caps off a banner beginning for CBRE/NE’s market-leading multifamily sales team, Heitman Real Estate Capital has changed places with fellow Chicago-based investor Equity Residential as landlord to the Cambridge Park Apartments in this city’s rapidly emerging Alewife district. The 311-unit, first-class asset at 30 CambridgePark Dr. had been held by Equity since its $9 billion buyout of Archstone Smith four years ago, that multifamily group spending $103.2 million in July 2007 for one of the region’s most sustainable apartment communities, a dual-winged complex that came on line in 2003.

Calls to CBRE/NE principals Simon J. Butler and Biria St. John were not returned by press deadline, but Registry of Deeds records indicate the all-cash purchase by Hart Cambridge LLC from ASN CambridgePark was completed as the midyear clock struck midnight on Friday. Other market watchers have been tracking the progress as well, and maintain the results are justifiable despte the hefty surge from 2007 pricing. On a per unit basis, the new figure is over $540,000 compared to $331,800 in July 2007.

“It is an exceptional property in a very promising location,” one observer tells therealreporter.com in analyzing how the asset has appreciated so markedly during a period that saw metropolitan Boston slammed in the 2008 recession. Many Alewife corporate denizens traded up to the preferred East Cambridge cluster of laboratory and office space, whereas a reverse migration has transpired in the mid 2010’s with that district now at record levels for all of New England sending those who cannot afford office rates hitting $100 per sf gross and laboratory rents also stratospheric to abutting submarkets, and Alewife is getting preference in enabling firms to have a Cambridge address, and given the MBTA Red Line genesis is located right at CambridgePark Drive, mere steps from the apartment development and 20 minutes to Kendall Square and downtown Boston.

Access is “incredible,” according to a CRE professional familiar with both the area that is also immediately available to Route 2 and connections to Route 128 and life sciences clusters on both sides of that highway in Lexington. CambridgePark Apartments were touted in promotional materials for the transit aspect but also the neighborhood’s improving environs that includes a Jasper White Summer Shack right next to the apartments and an entire corridor of retail over a railroad bridge highlighted by CVS Pharmacy, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and multiple hotel, dining and retail options. “It really is Live Work Play now,” says the source.

The work element can found entrenched on CambridgePark Drive, with the recovery having led to several lab and office buildings being purchased and renovated this decade. Ironically a series of sales unrelated to Cambridge Park Apartments have taken place recently on that very boulevard, headlined this past month by Morgan Stanley buying 125 and 150 CambridgePark Dr. for $210 million, that exchange completed by the CBRE/NE Capital Markets team led by David J. Pergola and Brian R. Doherty.

The 470,000 sf of first-class office space sold on June 21st, while another office building at 100 CambridgePark Dr. yielded $60.2 million via Newmark Knight Frank on June 23rd. Morgan Stanley in early 2016 purchased 200 CambridgePark Dr. from King Street Properties for $165.5 million.

Coming off an impressive $1.4 billion campaign in 2016, the Butler/St. John group is on pace to reach or eclipse that level in the wake of Heitman’s acquisition. The book of business has been concentrated in Greater Boston, but CBRE/NE has completed sales in 2017 from Maine to Connecticut, with another June sale coming in Cumberland, Rhode Island when 288 units were bought by Jones Street Investment Partners. Also recently, CBRE/NE, cemented the $51.1 million sale of another 288 apartments in Franklin, the Glen Meadow Apartments which date to the early 1970s and was secured by a joint venture partnership in late spring.

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