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Sentiment, business sense cited as ex-Brigham site sold for $50M

The apartment complex that stands where Brigham's Ice Cream headquarters now has a Boston owner following a sale for $50.5 million, Banker & Tradesmen reports.

Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. of Soldiers Field Road bought Alta at Brigham Square, at 30 Mill St., from Atlanta-based Wood Partners  more than a year after the 116 apartments opened.

"[This] rental apartment investment presents every characteristic we seek in a ‘core' investment: primary market, newly delivered high-quality construction, transit friendliness, a great school system, and very steady high occupancy rates," Intercontinental CEO Peter Palandjian told Banker & Tradesman in a statement.

"When we began to look at the deal, there was some sentimentality around buying what used to be the Brigham's Ice Cream world headquarters. But in all seriousness, this investment is in our backyard, a marketplace which holds 50-plus years of experience for us.

The acquisition was led by Mike Keyes, director of acquisitions, and made on behalf of Intercontinental's U.S. real estate fund, Banker & Tradesman reported.

The property includes 3,090 square feet of retail space and an above-ground parking structure. Units are composed of 18 studios, 35 one-bedroom and 63 two-bedroom layouts.

Apartment amenities include stainless-steel appliances, in-unit washer and dryer and walk-in bedroom closets. Community amenities include 24-hour on-site maintenance, outdoor lounge and resident storage options.

The first 36 apartments of the complex opened in November 2012 and the remaining 80 units were available last January.

Vanessa Showalter, representing the developer, said studios range from $2,060 to $2,130 a month. Other monthly ranges: one-bedrooms, $2,211 to $2,867 and two-bedroom units, $2,675 to $2,930.

The 2012 bnews release from a firm representing the company that is developing the site, Wood Partners of Georgia, describes the neighborhood as a destination for walkers and bicyclists. Units lease at $2.85 per square foot.

Pursuant to Arlington bylaws, 15 percent of the units are reserved for families earning 60 percent or less of the area median income.

"Transforming a blighted area into a beautiful amenity in this part of town has been exciting," said Rick Dickason, Wood Partner’s regional director of development for New England, in a news release. "It’s gratifying to provide a luxury rental option not otherwise available in Arlington Center."

Mirak, developer of The Legacy, might question that claim. The development consists of 18 studios (598 square feet); 35 one-bedroom units (719-915 square feet) and 63 two-bedroom units (1,013 to 1,178 square feet).

Kitchens feature durable wood-look flooring, espresso wood cabinets and granite counters; bedrooms come with roomy walk-in closets; and baths feature oversized garden tubs with tile surrounds, wood-look flooring, espresso wood cabinets and cultured marble vanities.

Common areas include an expansive fitness center with a large area for active gaming; clubhouse with a media room, pool table lounge and café-style seating and a coffee bar; an exclusive outdoor area with built-in grills, seating and a fire pit; and a roof deck with views to the Minuteman Bikeway, Alta Brigham Square retail plaza, and long-range views of the Boston skyline.

The release called unit "eco-friendly," saying they exceed baseline energy-efficiency standards by 20 percent.

The 135,000-square-foot project incorporates approximately 3,500 square feet of ground-level retail space, reserved for small retail or medical offices. In addition to 84 surface parking spaces, 89 garage-level spaces will be available.

Wood Partners, which calls itrself the largest multifamily housing developer in the nation, bought the four-acre site for $5.6 million from Cambridge Savings Bank, which foreclosed on the property in August 2008, shortly after the ice cream factory stopped production when the Brigham’s name and recipes were sold to a competitor. The obsolete 85,000-square-foot office and warehouse facility was demolished in the fall of 2011.

This story was published Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014.

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