fb-pixel Skip to main content

The Atlanta real estate company Jamestown started its shopping spree in Boston the way many people do: by plunking down a lot of money on Newbury Street.

Its $226 million purchase of a portfolio of retail buildings there three years ago turned heads. But Jamestown has since gone in a different direction, buying large office properties in Kendall Square in Cambridge and in Boston’s Innovation District.

On Tuesday, the company said it was doubling down on the area’s red-hot technology sector, buying the 220,000-square-foot Davenport Building in East Cambridge.

The price was $136 million, according to a source with knowledge of the transaction.

Advertisement



The seller, DivcoWest, bought the property for $79 million in 2013 and completed an $18 million renovation of the lobby and common areas.

The Davenport has a reputation as an incubator of some of the hottest technology companies, including the software marketing firm HubSpot Inc.

“It’s a central part of our strategy to own and build ecosystems for growing companies,” said Jamestown president Michael Phillips, who added that the firm may further expand its tech-based portfolio in Greater Boston.

With vacancy rates falling and rents rising, it is a good time to own office and laboratory buildings in East Cambridge. The area is among the strongest real estate markets in the country, attracting huge investments by new tenants and real estate companies looking to get in on the neighborhood’s meteoric growth.

Pharmaceutical giants are still driving the market. Only 4.4 percent of the area’s laboratory space is currently available, the lowest level in a decade, according to a report by the Boston-based real estate firm Transwestern RBJ.

Meanwhile, tech heavyweights continue to expand in the area, filling huge chunks of traditional office space.

“Cambridge is the most densely populated tech cluster in the world, and it is continuing to grow,” said Steve Purpura, managing partner of Transwestern RBJ. “It’s clearly a market where a lot of investors want to take positions.”

Advertisement



Jamestown made its first acquisition in the neighborhood last year, buying a two-building office complex at 245 First St. for about $193 million. The Davenport is located just a few blocks away, across from the Cambridgeside Galleria.

That area is experiencing a burst of real estate investment. Developers of the huge NorthPoint complex are adding a new apartment tower, and Leggat McCall Properties is planning an overhaul of the former Middlesex County courthouse, among several other projects. And state transportation officials are planning to extend the MBTA’s Green Line to Somerville and Medford.

The four-story Davenport is 98 percent leased to tenants such as the online business directory Manta and PowerSteering Software Inc., a maker of business management systems.

Constructed in 1860 as the Davenport Furniture Factory, the seven adjoining buildings in the complex were completely renovated to function as a single building in 1987.

The property was marketed for sale by executives of the Boston real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield of Massachusetts, including Robert Griffin, Edward Maher, and Matt Pullen.

The sale attracted a number of bidders, including several domestic pension funds and international real estate investors.


Casey Ross can be reached at cross@globe.com.