In the Telegram,  Lisa Eckelbecker reports that Liberty Companies out of Newton has bought ($2.5 million)  one of the two UNUM buildings left empty they signed a 17 year lease at City Square.  Liberty,  in turn, has leased the space to the Department of Children and Families (DCF).  UNUM continues to own 18 Chestnut Street, but I doubt that will last long.

What I found interesting was total the amount of space in these two buidlings:

  • 14 Walnut Street=80,000 square feet (leased to Liberty/old Commerce High)
  • 18 Chestnut Street= 335,000 square feet
  • City Square =200,000 square feet
  • Total = $415,000 square feet

UNUM was able to consolidate this operation into 200,000 of square feet. I know that the new offices probably has little wasted space, this is still a 50% cut in space.   How much space did the the Telegram have on Franklin Street versus their new offices?  Bet you it has to be a cut of 50% also?

unum city square

UNUM new offices

I have never seen UNUM or the Telegram’s moves as wins for downtown  In fact I saw these moves more as “exit” strategies for both companies, or at least, downsizing.  No way would they be expanding after dumping their real estate holdings.  Time will tell and I hope I am wrong.

My other concern was what will happpen to this space when it is left empty.  To date we know the:

  1. Telegram sold 50 Franklin Street and will require some 37 million dollars to renovate (mostly tax payer funded).
  2. UNUM has sold 14 Walnut Street and will be leased to DCF.

It will be interesting to see what will happen with 18 Chestnut Street.  I only hope it is a private sector company or market rate housing that can take advantage of the HDIP designation and remains on the tax rolls.