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Alexandria Pays $1.5B For Samuels Fenway Portfolio

The 401 Park Drive building in Boston's Fenway neighborhood.

The nation’s dominant life sciences developer is spending over a billion-and-a-half dollars to enter the emerging lab market in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood.

Alexandria Real Estate Equities has entered an agreement to buy 401 Park Drive and 201 Brookline Ave. from Samuels & Associates for $1.52B, the firm disclosed in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing Tuesday. The campus, at the heart of Fenway’s increasingly modernized neighborhood, will include 1.8M SF of rentable space for office and research and development uses, according to the filing.

Samuels will remain a partner in the project and continue managing, leasing and development responsibilities at the site, a spokeswoman said. The developer still has equity in the project but declined to disclose a percentage.

"We are so proud of the transformation of this historic building into a new Boston icon that balances innovative commercial tenants with the Time Out Market food hall, a new public park and other spaces that offer an unmatched civic experience," a Samuels spokesperson said in a statement.

A representative for Alexandria declined to comment on the acquisition.

The 401 Park building, built in 1928 as a Sears, Roebuck and Co. distribution center, is home to Class-A office and life sciences tenants and is 93% occupied across its 973K rentable SF, according to the filing. The building, with an iconic facade at the Fenway neighborhood’s western edge, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is a hub of retail and restaurants. Alexandria is eyeing a future conversion of 221K SF, or one-fifth of the building, to additional office and laboratory space.

Alexandria also adds 201 Brookline Ave., a 510K SF, 14-story office and lab development under construction with an estimated completion next year. Alexandria is also pursuing an additional 400K SF of mixed-use space, which, if it secures, will increase its purchase price by $98M, it said. The development, which is adjacent to 401 Park, secured two life sciences tenants last February.

The deal represents the growing value of life sciences development in the neighborhood bustling with residential and commercial developments since Samuels secured its first lab tenant in 2017 at the nearby Van Ness building. Samuels retains a prominent portfolio of mixed-use properties in the neighborhood steps away from Fenway Park and a few miles from the life sciences epicenter in Kendall Square.

Alexandria continues to expand its life sciences footprint across Boston after building up a massive Seaport portfolio in the past two years, where it’s poised to build up the neighborhood’s emerging A Street corridor.

The deal also represents the first agreement under Hunter Kass, Alexandria’s executive vice president and regional market director of Greater Boston. Kass replaced longtime Alexandria co-President and Boston chief Thomas Andrews, who resigned for personal reasons before the new year.

UPDATE, JAN. 8, 5 P.M. ET: This story has been updated with information from Samuels & Associates.