Japanese Investor Acquires Back Bay Office Buildings

By Beth Treffeisen

Liberty Mutual sold two of its Back Bay office towers at 10 St. James Avenue and 75 Arlington Street for $673 million to a Japanese investment firm, Mori Trust Group this past January 5.

The Boston-based insurance company put the buildings up for sale in September 2016 after the home, auto, and workers’ compensation insurance company had already moved many of its workers to the new tower it built at 157 Berkeley St. in 2013.

Liberty Mutual Insurance sold the building, having acquired the property 11 years ago for $481.5 million, or approximately $584 per square foot.

A major real estate developer in Japan, the Mori Trust Group owns 124 facilities for management and leasing with a total floor area of about 15,930,000 square feet (including offices, hotels, residences and commercial complexes) in prime locations in the Tokyo metropolitan area and across the nation.

Mori Trust Cp., Ltd., announced a medium-long-term vision of “Advance 2027” in June of 2016 when the new president, Miwako Date, took office. Based on this vision, the company is looking to capture business opportunities overseas in order to build a stable asset portfolio that can ride out a global economic change.

The first overseas investment project in the Vision was to acquire two office buildings with a high operational rate in the Back Bay District in Boston.

The company plans on promoting investments in real estate across the U.S. on the East Coast, eyeing other cities like New York and Washington, D.C. according to Bldup.com.

“I am delighted to have taken the first practical step toward promoting our overseas business in Boston, an international city that is also called ‘America’s Birthplace’,” said Date the president and chief executive officer for Mori Trust Co. in a statement.

The properties to be acquired by this agreement have a total rentable floor space of about 825,000 square feet. Constructed in 2000,10 St. James Avenue has 565,793 square feet of rentable area and is made up of 19 floors, with an addition of a four-level below-grade parking garage.

At 75 Arlington Street there is 258,979 square feet of rentable area and has 10 floors with a basement level. It was constructed in 1913 and was renovated from 2009 through 2013.


One of the properties, 10 St. James Avenue won ‘BOMA Boston 2016 TOBY (the Outstanding Building of the Year) & Industry Awards’, which is one of the greatest programs in the U.S. to recognize commercial real estate.

“I am quite excited to see a larger stage unfold with the addition of these properties – which are situated in a coveted prime area in the U.S. and have an extremely high reputation for their functionality, design and other aspects – to our portfolio,” said Date in a statement.

She continued, “Going forward, I am determined to operate and manage these properties in a manner that lives up to their history from the customer perspective, thereby protecting their value and contributing to the community.”


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