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?
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:
- Telegram sold 50 Franklin Street and will require some 37 million dollars to renovate (mostly tax payer funded).
- 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.