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Oxford, J.P. Morgan Sell Cambridge Office Tower For Record $825M

The One Memorial Drive office tower in Cambridge.

Oxford Properties Group and J.P. Morgan Asset Management are cashing out in a record-shattering $825M office sale for the Greater Boston market.

MetLife Investment Management and Norwegian-based Norges Bank Investment Management have bought One Memorial Drive, a fully leased, 409K SF office tower in East Cambridge for $825M, the companies announced Thursday. The acquisition of the building, across the street from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's campus, set a Boston record of $2K per SF and is the largest single-asset office transaction in the U.S. this year, according to Oxford.

“The sale allows Oxford to continue to diversify our U.S. holdings and redeploy the proceeds to fund growth in the Boston market, where we continue to have a favorable long-term view,” Oxford Executive Vice President of North America Chad Remis said in a statement. 

The buyers will upgrade the building, which has long-term leases with its sole tenants, Microsoft and InterSystems, as part of MetLife’s carbon emission reduction program, the firms said in a separate statement.

“Located in a city where demand for office space significantly outstrips supply, and with reliable tenants in resilient industries such as technology and life sciences, we believe One Memorial Drive will be a trophy property within our portfolio,” said Ashleigh R. Simpson, regional head of acquisitions and joint ventures at MetLife.

Oxford and J.P. Morgan purchased the 17-story building in 2014 for $405M from Blackstone. In 2017, Oxford converted a floor of the parking lot into office space and leased it to InterSystems. The tower is generating a net operating income over 55% higher than when Oxford and J.P. Morgan bought it, the companies said. 

The purchase eclipses Alexandria Real Estate Equities’ purchase of two East Cambridge office buildings for $815M in June from The Davis Cos. and Principal Global Investors. Only Alexandria’s $1.52B investment in Samuels & Associates’ 401 Park Drive and 201 Brookline Ave. in Fenway, projects slated for life sciences conversions, surpasses the One Memorial transaction in terms of sheer dollar figures this year, but those projects have redevelopment potential baked into their prices.

One Memorial Drive overlooks the Charles River and sits a half-mile from the Kendall Square life sciences cluster. Oxford is selling the building, but not backing away from Boston — it recently announced its plans to convert a downtown office asset into lab space and is pivoting plans for a Chinatown office into a research and development facility

Real estate services firm Eastdil Secured managed the transaction for Oxford and J.P. Morgan.