Tech firm athenahealth Inc. acquires 760,000-sf 'Arsenal on the Charles' in
Watertown, Massachusetts from Harvard University for $168.5 million
BOSTON, May 13, 2013
Avison Young represents buyer in landmark acquisition of 11-building campus;
purchase marks largest user-buyer transaction in Boston to-date in 2013
BOSTON, May 13, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Avison Young, Canada's largest
independently-owned commercial real estate services company, announced today
that Watertown, MA-based athenahealth, Inc. has finalized the acquisition of
the "Arsenal on the Charles" - a 760,000-square-foot (sf), 11-building
complex situated on 29 acres on the Charles River in Watertown, MA - for
$168.5 million. The seller was Boston-based Harvard University.
athenahealth originally moved into the property in 2005 as a tenant, occupying
133,000 sf. The company has experienced tremendous growth over the past five
years to become one of the area's largest technology tenants, and sought up to
500,000 sf for its corporate headquarters.
The purchase, which marks the largest user-buyer transaction in Boston to-date
in 2013, is the culmination of an extensive two-year search and analysis of
existing properties and development sites throughout the Boston market by the
Avison Young/athenahealth team. Given the lack of existing product and the
high expense of new construction, coupled with the fact that athenahealth's
employees enjoy their current location and amenities, the Arsenal on the
Charles made sense as a long-term solution on a much lower overall-cost basis.
Avison Young Principals Steve Cook in Boston and Suzanne Martinez in Chicago
represented the buyer, athenahealth. Harvard University represented itself in
the transaction, which closed May 10, 2013.
"Having worked with athenahealth for many years, we were delighted that
Harvard was amenable to selling the asset to athenahealth as both parties will
truly benefit from this landmark transaction," comments Cook. "What is most
impressive about athenahealth's growth, from a small startup to a
publicly-traded corporate powerhouse with nine locations worldwide, is that
athenahealth has been able to maintain its vibrant company culture throughout.
Furthermore, athenahealth puts a high priority on its employees,
sustainability and doing the right thing."
The Arsenal on the Charles is currently more than 90 per cent leased.
athenahealth currentlyoccupies250,000 sf.Other major tenantsinclude
Harvard Business School Publishing (100,000 sf), Bright Horizons (90,000 sf)
and Boston Sports Clubs (50,000 sf).
"We are excited to deepen our roots in Massachusetts; Watertown is our home.
The Arsenal on the Charles offers athenahealth everything we could ask for in
a headquarters; its open and expansive architecture, outdoor campus feel,
strong community, and proximity to Boston fit with our culture, strengthen our
standing as a top employer, and provide an inspirational backdrop as we work
to be medical caregivers' most trusted service," says Jonathan Bush, Chair and
CEO of athenahealth. "We are building a national health information backbone
that will have a revolutionary impact on the cost and quality of health care.
I cannot imagine a better place than the very same buildings from which the
first Industrial Revolution rose to take on such inspiring and important
"While there were a number of viable options we considered, none of them
provided the unique backdrop or a stronger link to our culture, growth needs
and vision for health care as did the Arsenal and the local Watertown
community, which for years we've considered our team to be a part of," adds
Carolyn Reckman, Vice-President of athenaEnvironment, which is responsible for
day-to-day operations, quality of life and community for athenahealth's
Cook adds the sale was a true partnership between athenahealth and the
world-renowned university: "Harvard was compassionate towards athenahealth's
growing space needs and worked with the firm over the years to accommodate its
Harvard acquired the propertyin 2001with the intention of utilizing the
campus for future institutional needs. Following the economic downturn,
Harvard recalibrated its vision for properties beyond its core campus. The
University utilized property closer to the Harvard campus for institutional
needs and successfully leased the Arsenal on the Charles, bringing a range of
businesses to the area. athenahealthsaw an opportunity to acquire an asset
that both met thecompany'sfuture growth needs andreflectedthe firm's
Avison Young's services included a detailed cost-benefit analysis provided to
athenahealth. Martinez says Avison Young's capital markets group waspleased
to providesupport to athenahealthas it evaluated thebenefits of owninga
"Without question, long-term ownership is a financial homerun when
comparedwith a long-termlease- particularlygiven athenahealth's continuous
expansion requirements," she says.
About Avison Young
Founded in 1978, Avison Young is Canada's largest independently-owned
commercial real estate services company. Headquartered in Toronto, Ontario,
Avison Young is also the largest Canadian-owned, principal-managed commercial
real estate brokerage firm in North America. Comprising more than 1,200 real
estate professionals in 45 offices across Canada and the U.S., the
full-service commercial real estate company provides value-added,
client-centric investment sales, leasing, advisory, management, financing and
mortgage placement services to owners and occupiers of office, retail,
industrial and multi-residential properties.
About athenahealth, Inc.
athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based services for EHR, practice
management, and care coordination. athenahealth's mission is to be caregivers'
most trusted service, helping them do well doing the right thing.
For further information/comment/photos:
• Sherry Quan, National Director of Communications & Media Relations, Avison
Young: (604) 647-5098; cell: (604) 726-0959 firstname.lastname@example.org
• Janine Wuschke, Vice-President, Marketing, New England, Avison Young: (617)
758-8264; cell (978) 210-6204
• Steve Cook, Principal, Avison Young: (617) 250-7607
• Suzanne Martinez, Principal, Avison Young: (312) 957-7617
• Rick Kimball, Principal and Managing Director, New England, Avison Young:
• Holly Spring, Media Relations, athenahealth: (617) 402-1631
Avison Young was a winner of Canada's Best Managed Companies program in 2011
and requalified in 2012 to maintain its status as a Best Managed company.
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•Editors/Reporters: please click on link to view and download photo of the
Arsenal on the Charles, Watertown, Massachusetts
SOURCE Avison Young Commercial Real Estate (BC)
(604) 647-5098 or (604) 726-0959
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