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Punxsutawney Phil called for an earIy spring, and while we haven't seen lilacs and daisies yet, dirt will indeed be moving come soon (well, summertime).
Millennium Partners announced Thursday it'll break ground in a few months on a $200M, 265-unit residential building inDowntown Crossing. The developer of the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Towers filed notification with the City to start construction this summer across the street on Hayward Place, a 15-story rental and ownership project with 12k SF of retail. Filling the entire block bounded by Washington St, Avenue de Lafayette, Harrison Ave and Hayward Place, the glass-clad building designed by Handel Architects will be a big step forward in continuing the revival of Downtown Crossing and the Theater District. A delighted Mayor Menino called it a ?dramatic? investment and ?tremendous boost?to the neighborhood. Millennium?s Tony Pangaro told us the project has changed from condo to mostly rental with an additional floor of residences.


First Wind
has completed the interior fit-up of its new 36k SFBoston office at 179 Lincoln St Downtown. Commodore Construction did the job with Gensler, Millennium Partners, Dowling Houy, and WB Engineers. They installed high-end finishes, flooring, skylights, paint, and all glass office fronts. Now certified LEED Gold, the office sports all Energy Star equipment.


RDK Engineering, Massport, Architerra, and Consigli Constructioncompleted a renovation and expansion of the Black Falcon Cruiseport. The team revamped the baggage, ticket, security, and waiting areas while installing AC on the third floor.


Integrated Builders completed a 63k SF core and shell retail project for an affilaite of Messina Enterprises at 75 Stockwell Dr inAvon. Changes include window and dock door upgrades, an ADA ramp, exterior insulation and finish systems, and a structural steel signage tower. Integrated Builders also re-graded the parking area to include an underground re-charge system, new asphalt, guard rails, striping, and signage.


Affiliates of Brookwood Financial Partners paid $19.5M for two buildings from REMIC Trust. Frank Petz and John Wilson of Richards Barry Joyce's RBJ/Capital Markets group repped the seller. The Billerica Business Center, 449k SF at 101 Billerica Ave, sold for $15M. The Big Y Distriubution Center, 217k SF at 2189 Westover Rd in Chicopee, sold for $4.5M.


Riverside Village RHF LP, a collaboration between Long Beach, CA-based Retirement Housing Foundation and Boston-based Schochet Associates will buy and renovate 312 units of rental housing in Leominster, preserving and improving 280 units of affordable housing for low-income families. Renovations include replacing the heating system and pool deck, doors and fencing, repairing roofs, and resurfacing roads. Financing is being provided through $14.5M in tax-exempt bonds issued byMassDevelopment and purchased by Boston Private Bank.


Berkeley Investments has secured $29.5M in first mortgage financing for 12 Farnsworth St and 22 Boston Wharf Rd office buildings and the Farnsworth Garage in the Seaport District. The 57k SF 12 Farnsworth, built in 1901, is 90% leased, and the 58k SF 22 Boston Wharf Rd, built in 2001, with parking for 500 vehicles, is fully leased. The garage, at 21 Farnsworth St, has 361 spaces. HFF?s Fred Wittmann and Carlos Febres-Mazzeisecured the five-year, fixed-rate loan through Cigna Investments. Loan proceeds will finance the portfolio, which was previously unencumbered, after full repayment of the prior mortgage in June 2010.


Trident Management secured $8.7M in financing to buy multifamily buildings at 265 Bryant St in Malden and 169 Aiken Ave in Lowell and to refi 2 Webster St in Malden and 139 Washington St in Reading.


MassDevelopment has issued nearly $22M in bonds for three projects recently. Education Development Center will use the proceeds from an $8.9M bond to renovate its new 120k SF HQ in Waltham for its relo from Newton. Rancor, a metal component maker, will use the proceeds from $6.2M in tax-exempt bonds to buy its building at 1 Bella Dr in Westminster and add 20k SF of manufacturing space. The Winchendon School will use some of its $6.5M in tax exempt bonds to build a new dormitory for 62 student and four faculty housing units.


Agrium Advanced Technologies, a maker and marketer of controlled-release fertilizers and micronutrients for agriculture and landscaping, signed a 22k SF lease at 20 Liberty Way in Franklin Industrial Park for a new distribution center. It plans to take occupancy in March. Colliers International's Christopher Decembrele repped the tenant, (negotiating provisions for Agrium?s highly flammable products) and Ellison Patten repped the landlord, Lincoln Property.