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Jun 15

Sources: Brown Brothers Signs LOI for 300,000 SF-plus at 50 Post Office Square

July 23, 2012 — By Joe Clements

BOSTON—Brown Brothers Harriman has signed a letter of intent to fill at least 300,000 sf at 50 Post Office Square, industry sources are telling therealreporter.com. The non-binding commitment at the regional headquarters for Verizon Corp. follows months of considering alternatives in the area for a venerable financial services firm whose lease at nearby 50 Milk St. expires next autumn.

“They signed,” confirms one industry professional familiar with the proceedings between Brown Brothers and Commonwealth Ventures, which acquired the building formerly known as 185 Franklin St. in late 2008, paying an estimated $192 million. The Connecticut-based company led by Richard A. Galvin which is also about to build a new headquarters for State Street Corp. in the city’s Seaport District, is represented by CBRE/New England on a team including principal Andrew Hoar. Brown Brothers is being advised by Cushman & Wakefield on a team including Gilbert Dailey and David Martel. Calls to both firms were not returned, and efforts to contact Commonwealth and Brown Brothers were not immediately successful. Multiple sources, though, maintain the LOI is full of specific language to facilitate a formal agreement, and opine that so much design and legal work has been done on making the space work that they feel it is likely to be consummated. One downtown broker spoken to for a previous article posted last month at therealreporter.com that pegged 50 Post Office Sq. as the favored destination reiterated the previous view that Brown Brothers has found the building has the identity and access to clients desired given a location in the heart of the Financial District.

One market watcher suggests that Commonwealth may have agreed to give Brown Brothers exclusive access to the front lobby, which fronts the lush Norman B. Leventhal Post Office Square Park. Co-tenant Verizon would then utilize a secondary entrance, according to the industry veteran who says the private lobby was a key consideration for winning the deal. “It’s going ahead,” that source says in handicapping the chances of a move to the building. The timeframe for doing so on such a hefty scale could be tight, but not impossible to achieve, experts say, with the firm always having the option of remaining short-term at its existing address. That, of course, can be a costly solution.