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Former Evergreen HQs in Devens Sold for 400 Percent Profit

23 Jun 2015, 1:29 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

A troubled manufacturing facility in Devens, MA, changed hands last month for $36.05 million in a transaction brokered by CBRE/New England.

112 Barnum Rd. - Devens MA

112 Barnum Rd. – Devens MA

Three years after paying close to $8.5 million for the Class A facility at 112 Barnum Rd., long-time partners Calare Properties and Hackman Capital Partners of Los Angeles sold the asset to an unnamed institutional real estate investor.

Located within the master-planned Devens Industrial Park, the 392,000-square-foot property sits on 23 acres of land, just four miles west of Route 495 and two miles north of Route 2, and within close proximity to multiple highways. The facility was completed in 2010 for $480 million as headquarters for Evergreen Solar, one of the largest solar panels producers in the United States at that time. However, by mid-2011, Evergreen decided to lay off its 800 workers and shut down the factory in Devens. According to Reuters, the move was caused by a 35 percent drop in the price of solar wafers—Evergreen’s main product—and increasing competition from cheaper producers based in Asia and Europe. As a result, Evergreen filed for bankruptcy and shifted production to China, where manpower and manufacturing costs were significantly lower.

Shortly after Evergreen left its short-lived home in Lowell, the Calare/Hackman partnership purchased the empty solar plant and invested around $20 million in the property, including the acquisition costs. Part of the vacant factory was occupied by French manufacturer Saint-Gobain, then the remaining space was leased by health care supplies manufacturer Nypro. Meanwhile, Saint-Gobain ceased operations in Devens and about half the space is available for lease, the Boston Globe reported.

Image courtesy of Calare Properties

Lowell’s Prince Macaroni Factory: A Voyage from Pasta to Data Storage

22 Jun 2015, 2:32 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

The run-down factory that was once famous for producing one of America’s most beloved pasta brands left its spaghetti past behind and is now going through some major changes.

Markley Cloud Services

Markley Cloud Services

The Prince Macaroni plant in Lowell, MA, will be redeveloped into a giant data center by the Markley Group, one of the largest internet and cloud computing companies in New England. Earlier this month, the tech company purchased the massive, 14.4-acre site at 2 Prince Ave. from an investment group led by Jerrold Kaplan, according to the Lowell Sun. Markley paid $3.85 million for the property—only $30,000 more than what Kaplan and his business partners paid after winning the auction of the foreclosed pasta factory one year ago.

Markley already started converting the 350,000-square-foot industrial building into a master-planned 50 megawatt mission-critical data center that will be available to businesses in New England and across the country. The project will be developed in phases, with the first 50,000 square feet of data storage space available starting this fall. Markley announced it will invest $200 million towards the transformation of the three-story building, which will eventually grow to be an extension of the company’s existing 920,000-square-foot facility at One Summer St. in Boston.

“In keeping with our philosophy of best-in-class offerings, the Lowell facility will be a state-of-the-art, world-class facility,” said Jeffrey D. Markley, CEO of Markley Group. “With One Summer Street being the center of the universe for network connectivity in the region, our diverse dark fiber pathways to Lowell will extend those advantages to clients of the facility.”

Additionally, Markley plans to hire 100 local technical workers at the new data center over the next two decades. As reported by the Lowell Sun, the internet company received a 20-year tax break from the city. This translates into $77 million in savings on property and personal property taxes over the lifetime of the tax agreement.

The Prince Macaroni plant in Lowell, MA, sat almost completely vacant since July 1997, when the Borden company decided to cease production. One year later the property was sold to Dutton Yarn, a textile company.

Image via Markley Cloud Services

Church-to-Condo Conversion OK’d in South End

17 Jun 2015, 6:57 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

New Boston Ventures’ plan to transform a 138-year-old church in South Boston into residential use was green-lighted by the Boston Redevelopment Authority this month and construction is imminent.

136 Shawmut Ave. - Boston South End

136 Shawmut Ave. – Boston South End

Left vacant for the past five years, the former Holy Trinity German Church and Rectory located between Tremont and Washington streets—an emerging section of the South End neighborhood, also known as the New York Streets sub-district—will come back to life under redevelopment plans sketched by Finegold Alexander & Associates. The $47 million project, which will blend old and new architecture, will contain 33 boutique condos, as well as tenant support space and 24 underground parking spaces.

Set for completion by the end of 2016, the project will incorporate an eight-story addition to the existing granite structure. In order to accommodate the adaptive reuse of the church, the development team will demolish the existing interior space to make room for the glass-and-steel addition that will rise out of the massive walls of the former church. The rectory building will also be converted into condos with roof deck amenities. Additionally, the developer plans to light up the existing church spire—which stands 110 feet tall—to highlight the classic architecture of the building.

According to public documents, the redeveloped project will feature almost 58,000 square feet of residential space.

The church and attached rectory building sit on a 17,272-square-foot parcel located at 136 Shawmut Ave. PropertyShark data shows that the developer purchased the property in December 2014 for a little over $7 million in a transaction brokered by Colliers International on behalf of the Archdiocese of Boston.

Rendering via Finegold Alexander & Associates

Keeping Up with Lendlease

10 Jun 2015, 12:38 pm

By Eliza Theiss, Associate Editor


Lendlease unveils new logo, known as the ‘fold’

Leading international property and infrastructure group Lendlease is switching things up with an eye on the future. The company recently unveiled a new dynamic logo and a modified name, joining Lendlease into one word. We’ve checked in with the global brand to find out what prompted the change and what its plans are for the US property market.


MHN/CPE: How does the new logo and name joining better reflect the company’s current culture and brand?

Lendlease: We are ready to embrace the future, and our new brand identity represents the diverse international business we have become.  We have an opportunity to harness the reputational benefits of our pipeline of high profile projects, to raise awareness of our brand and leverage all the benefits associated with our success.  Our new brand identity is fresh and vibrant, and one that resonates with both corporate clients and consumers.

Q: Why now?

Lendlease: Lendlease is increasingly known for creating some of the best places around the world. Our new fluid and flexible logo puts us in an ideal position to fully maximize the benefits of our remarkable pipeline of projects.

The original blue ‘canopy’ logo was launched by Lendlease in 1995.  Since 1995, the business capabilities have grown, with a most recent regional announcement of progress toward creating a development focused company in the Americas, with the Lend Lease’s Urban Regeneration business securing parcels for development in New York, Boston and Chicago.

Q: Lendlease has a significant presence in the U.S., across a variety of regions and market segments, from pharma/life sciences projects to military housing and office developments. What U.S. regions and market segments does Lendlease see the most potential in at the moment?

Lendlease: In the Americas, Lendlease offers project management & construction, public partnerships, development, asset and property management services.  Lendlease’s client are nationwide with a delivery span across all states.  Many of our clients are located in key cities including, New York, Chicago, Boston, D.C., Los Angeles and San Francisco.  Several of our portfolios are delivered across the region including Military Family Housing, Privatized Army Lodging, Multi-Site, Energy and Telecommunications.


Lendlease will progressively phase out the 20-year-old ‘blue canopy’ emblem

MHN/CPE: What is Lendlease’s most ambitious project in the country at the moment?

Lendlease: Lendlease recently announced progress toward creating a development focused company in the Americas, with the Lendlease’s Urban Regeneration business securing parcels for development in New York, Boston and Chicago.

Among them is 281 Fifth Avenue in New York, where Lendlease has entered a joint venture with Victor Group to o develop a site in the emerging NoMad residential neighborhood. Set to break ground in late 2015, the partnership plans to construct a 700-foot condominium building, with retail at the base and luxury residences on the upper floor.

In Boston, Lendlease has secured a 12-acre waterfront parcel within the heart East Boston. The project, Clippership Wharf, is adjacent to Maverick Square station on the Blue Line, one stop to Boston’s central business district. Lendlease plans to create a mixed-use waterfront development of over 500,000 square feet of residential space with over 490 units, 120,000 square feet of parking and over 28,000 square feet of retail, with construction aiming to commence in late 2015.

River South in Chicago is a 13-acre urban regeneration project in Chicago’s River South neighborhood that will consist of residential apartments/condos, associated retail, commercial and community facilities. Situated on the Chicago River and on the edge of the city’s Financial District the project is located in an emerging precinct that has easy access to the city and its surrounding amenities. Lendlease will partner with CMK Companies to be the master developer of the site and will have the opportunity to invest in all stages of this $1.5 billion development. Phase one is expected to commence in early 2016, with work already underway on initial concept design and the company aims to file plans over the coming months.

Image credits: Lendlease

Footwear Company to Convert Old Polaroid Campus into New Headquarters

18 May 2015, 8:07 pm

By Veronica Grecu, Associate Editor

It’s been almost ten years since Polaroid left its facility in Waltham, but a Newton-based shoe retailer wants to breathe new life into the abandoned building.

Clarks Americas - Rendering of new headquarters building in Waltham, MA

Clarks Americas – Rendering of new headquarters building in Waltham, MA

Clarks Americas, a subsidiary of C&J Clark Limited of England, announced plans to redevelop the vacant building at 1265 Main St. into its new headquarters in Massachusetts. The shoe company recently signed a 15-year lease for 120,000 square feet on the property and is ready to start construction at the site.

Clarks’ new office facility in Waltham is part of a redevelopment project that aims to breathe new life into the former Polaroid campus that spans 120 acres. As previously reported by The Boston Globe, a development partnership doing business at 1265 Main Street LLC acquired the site back in 2013 from the City of Waltham and has already started construction on a multi-year project that will add more than 1.2 million square feet of commercial and retail space along Route 128, one of the busiest highways in New England. Part of the former Polaroid site, which is assessed at nearly $34 million according to real estate website PropertyShark, was already redeveloped into a 280,000-square-foot retail plaza called Market Basket.

Clarks Americas has teamed up with Boston Properties for this project, while the interior design bid was awarded to ADD, Inc., and Spagnolo Gisness & Associates, Inc. was selected to create the exterior design. According to the footwear maker, Clark’s employees will play a key role in the design and aesthetic of the building through a committee made up of cross-functional personnel that has already started having regular meetings towards this project.

Conveniently located in the 1265 Main Campus, Clarks’ new corporate headquarters will house 400 employees in a facility that will incorporate 10-foot high windows and 50-foot skylights designed to maximize daylight and promote creative collaboration. Additionally, the four-story office building will feature an expansive roof deck, 5,000 square feet of private outdoor terrace, a three-story lobby, an employee retail store, a fitness center and covered parking spaces.

The new office building is slated for completion in fall 2016, according to Clarks Americas.

Rendering courtesy of Clarks Americas

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