When Boston Properties, a national commercial real estate broker that owns Carnegie Center, made its quarterly earnings statement via telephone conference at the end of January, the company also announced that it is considering selling some of its interest in Carnegie Center as part of a general recapitalization.
Coverage of that part of the announcement took Mickey Landis by surprise. Landis, Boston Properties’ regional manager based at 302 Carnegie Center, says that the conclusions reached by some in the media have misrepresented the truth. The company does not plan to sell Carnegie Center, he says, but it is looking to sell some of its interests in it, in order to cash in on certain tax breaks.
Landis says the company is looking to broker a “like kind exchange,” which refers to a series of transactions surrounding the buying and selling of assets within a certain time frame. In October the company announced that it would buy Boston’s John Hancock Tower for $930 million. A month prior it bought an office park in Waltham for $185 million. In August, it bought 510 Madison Avenue in Manhattan for $280.5 million.
Such big moves allow the company to sell some of its existing assets and receive tax breaks, Landis says. Boston Properties is looking to sell 75 to 80 percent of its equity in Carnegie Center but retain managerial control.
The company would still be in charge of leasing, management, and development rights, and is sitting on a potential 15 new buildings at Carnegie Center, he says.
Landis says that Carnegie Center’s occupancy rate — cited in a recent Wall Street Journal article at 87.6 percent — also is misleading. While he admits that the number is fairly accurate, he says such a snapshot does not take into account the eventual signing of some outstanding leases. There are five waiting to be finalized, he says. Boston Properties also has lost two tenants recently. Typically, he says, the center is more than 90 percent occupied.
Whatever happens with Carnegie Center — Landis suspects that an investment group uninterested in managing a large commercial property will be the likely buyer — there is nothing imminent.
Boston Properties (BXP), 302 Carnegie Center, Suite 100, Princeton 08540; 609-452-1444; fax, 609-452-1453. Micky Landis, senior vice president, regional manager. www.bostonproperties.com