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Related Beal buys into hot Seaport property

The Bronstein Building in Boston Seaport area.
The Bronstein Building in Boston Seaport area.David L. Ryan/Globe Staff/file

Development firm Related Beal is paying $146.5 million for a piece of the sprawling waterfront site that is home to the Boston Design Center.

Related said Monday that it has closed a deal to buy 27 Drydock Ave., a portion of the Bronstein Building on the edge of the Seaport. The vast old Army warehouse has attracted a number of big-name companies, including, most recently, the world headquarters of Reebok, which will move there from Canton next year.

Related is purchasing the eastern-most slice of the building — so big it is divided into three separate properties — from longtime owners North Star Management Inc. The 286,000-square-foot property is 84 percent occupied, with tenants including Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Ginkgo Bioworks, and Emulate Inc.

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The firm hopes to capitalize on a growing push for space from life science and tech companies that want to be in the neighborhood, said Related executive vice president Steven Faber.

“27 Drydock has already proven its mettle as a great lab, innovation and technology facility,” he said in a statement. “Our intent is for the building to become the premier, go-to facility for thriving R&D organizations.”

Another developer, Jamestown, spent about $120 million to take over rest of the Bronstein Building in 2013. Jamestown has spent tens of millions more to overhaul the 1.4 million square-foot space, which it calls the Innovation and Design Buiding. It has attracted a string of prominent tenants, including software maker AutoDesk, architects Elkus Manfredi, and design firm Continuum, to the building.

Related buying next door, with its big name and deep life-science experience, will boost the entire area, said said Frank Petz, who heads the building-sales unit of real estate firm JLL and represented the sellers in the deal.

“Having a company like Related Beal in this area really validates it as a biotech hub,” Petz said. “And this gives Related a greater foothold in a cluster that’s warming up.”

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The firm, which is the product of a 2013 merger between New York-based real estate giant Related Cos. and Boston stalwart Beal Cos., has been on a buying spree.

In October, Related closed on a deal to buy six buildings in Kenmore Square, including the one that houses the Citgo Sign, from Boston University for about $140 million. It is working on redevelopment plans there.

Meanwhile, Related is proposing a 324-unit apartment building on the site of the old Quinzani’s Bakery in the South End, where it spent $28 million last year to buy two parcels.

And it has construction underway on two high-profile projects downtown, an affordable-housing and hotel development in Bulfinch Triangle and a full-redo of the former headquarters of Fidelity Investments at the corner of State and Congress streets. Advertising firm Digitas has signed a lease to be the anchor tenant in that project.


Tim Logan can be reached at tim.logan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bytimlogan.