Avison Young represents buyer in landmark acquisition of 11-building
campus; purchase marks largest user-buyer transaction in Boston to-date
BOSTON, May 13, 2013 /CNW/ - Avison Young, Canada's largest independently-owned commercial real estate services
company, announced today that Watertown, MA-based athenahealth, Inc. has finalized the acquisition of the "Arsenal on the Charles" - a 760,000-square-foot (sf), 11-building complex situated on 29 acres
on the Charles River in Watertown, MA - for $168.5 million. The seller
was Boston-based Harvard University.
athenahealth originally moved into the property in 2005 as a tenant,
occupying 133,000 sf. The company has experienced tremendous growth
over the past five years to become one of the area's largest technology
tenants, and sought up to 500,000 sf for its corporate headquarters.
The purchase, which marks the largest user-buyer transaction in Boston
to-date in 2013, is the culmination of an extensive two-year search and
analysis of existing properties and development sites throughout the
Boston market by the Avison Young/athenahealth team. Given the lack of
existing product and the high expense of new construction, coupled with
the fact that athenahealth's employees enjoy their current location and
amenities, the Arsenal on the Charles made sense as a long-term
solution on a much lower overall-cost basis.
Avison Young Principals Steve Cook in Boston and Suzanne Martinez in Chicago represented the buyer, athenahealth. Harvard University
represented itself in the transaction, which closed May 10, 2013.
"Having worked with athenahealth for many years, we were delighted that
Harvard was amenable to selling the asset to athenahealth as both
parties will truly benefit from this landmark transaction," comments
Cook. "What is most impressive about athenahealth's growth, from a
small startup to a publicly-traded corporate powerhouse with nine
locations worldwide, is that athenahealth has been able to maintain its
vibrant company culture throughout. Furthermore, athenahealth puts a
high priority on its employees, sustainability and doing the right
The Arsenal on the Charles is currently more than 90 per cent leased.
athenahealth currently occupies 250,000 sf. Other major tenants include
Harvard Business School Publishing (100,000 sf), Bright Horizons
(90,000 sf) and Boston Sports Clubs (50,000 sf).
"We are excited to deepen our roots in Massachusetts; Watertown is our
home. The Arsenal on the Charles offers athenahealth everything we
could ask for in a headquarters; its open and expansive architecture,
outdoor campus feel, strong community, and proximity to Boston fit with
our culture, strengthen our standing as a top employer, and provide an
inspirational backdrop as we work to be medical caregivers' most
trusted service," says Jonathan Bush, Chair and CEO of athenahealth. "We are building a national health
information backbone that will have a revolutionary impact on the cost
and quality of health care. I cannot imagine a better place than the
very same buildings from which the first Industrial Revolution rose to
take on such inspiring and important work."
"While there were a number of viable options we considered, none of them
provided the unique backdrop or a stronger link to our culture, growth
needs and vision for health care as did the Arsenal and the local
Watertown community, which for years we've considered our team to be a
part of," adds Carolyn Reckman, Vice-President of athenaEnvironment, which is responsible for
day-to-day operations, quality of life and community for athenahealth's
Cook adds the sale was a true partnership between athenahealth and the
world-renowned university: "Harvard was compassionate towards
athenahealth's growing space needs and worked with the firm over the
years to accommodate its continuous growth."
Harvard acquired the property in 2001 with the intention of utilizing
the campus for future institutional needs. Following the economic
downturn, Harvard recalibrated its vision for properties beyond its
core campus. The University utilized property closer to the Harvard
campus for institutional needs and successfully leased the Arsenal on
the Charles, bringing a range of businesses to the area.
athenahealth saw an opportunity to acquire an asset that both met
the company's future growth needs and reflected the firm's
Avison Young's services included a detailed cost-benefit analysis
provided to athenahealth. Martinez says Avison Young's capital markets
group was pleased to provide support to athenahealth as it evaluated
the benefits of owning a clearly outstanding asset.
"Without question, long-term ownership is a financial home run when
compared with a long-term lease - particularly given athenahealth's
continuous expansion requirements," she says.
About Avison Young
Founded in 1978, Avison Young is Canada's largest independently-owned
commercial real estate services company. Headquartered in Toronto,
Ontario, Avison Young is also the largest Canadian-owned,
principal-managed commercial real estate brokerage firm in North
America. Comprising more than 1,200 real estate professionals in 45
offices across Canada and the U.S., the full-service commercial real
estate company provides value-added, client-centric investment sales,
leasing, advisory, management, financing and mortgage placement
services to owners and occupiers of office, retail, industrial and
About athenahealth, Inc.
athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based services for EHR,
practice management, and care coordination. athenahealth's mission is
to be caregivers' most trusted service, helping them do well doing the
right thing. www.athenahealth.com
For further information/comment/photos:
• Sherry Quan, National Director of Communications & Media Relations, Avison Young: (604) 647-5098; cell: (604) 726-0959 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Janine Wuschke, Vice-President, Marketing, New England, Avison Young: (617) 758-8264; cell (978) 210-6204
• Steve Cook, Principal, Avison Young: (617) 250-7607
• Suzanne Martinez, Principal, Avison Young: (312) 957-7617
• Rick Kimball, Principal and Managing Director, New England, Avison Young: (617) 758-8271
• Holly Spring, Media Relations, athenahealth: (617) 402-1631 email@example.com
Avison Young was a winner of Canada's Best Managed Companies program in 2011 and requalified in 2012 to maintain its status as a
Best Managed company.
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the Arsenal on the Charles, Watertown, Massachusetts
SOURCE: Avison Young Commercial Real Estate (BC)
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