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Historic Bedford Building Acquired by Credit Suisse for $50 Million

With office space at an absolute premium throughout downtown Boston and outlying areas, much of the focus of real estate watchers has been on the development of brand-new buildings that offer hundreds of thousands of square feet of such space. However, the city is still home to hundreds of older but still impressive office buildings that continue to be hot commodities on the market. A key case in point can be found in the $50-million acquisition of the Bedford Block, an office building located at 99 Bedford Street in Downtown Crossing, by Credit Suisse. Boston City Properties has more information regarding the transaction and the property below.

In early November, Credit Suisse officially closed on the purchase of the historic building, which was constructed in 1875. The company purchased the building from Plymouth Rock, which had acquired it back in 1995 from JER Partners for $5.9 million. The five-story building offers a total of around 86,241 square feet of space. From 1983 to 1984, Bay-Bedford Company invested in a major overhaul of the property. That project transformed 83,241 of the space into office space and another 2,500 square feet into retail space.

Current tenants of the building include The Nature Conservancy, AT&T and Lavallee Brensinger Architects. To acquire the property, Credit Suisse obtained a $31 million acquisition loan from Boston Private Bank and Trust Co. It is unclear precisely how Credit Suisse will use space in the building, but the company is certain to become the anchor tenant. No information has been released regarding the fate of existing tenants or about whether the building will take steps to attract new types of tenants once the dust has settled. One thing is for sure, though: With its prime location in Downtown Crossing just a few blocks away from the stock exchange building, which recently sold for $69 million, and the South Station Train Terminal, it should not have any trouble remaining fully occupied.

Often referred to as the Bedford Block or Bedford Building, the property was placed on the National Historic Register in 1979. Built in 1875 – just a few years after the Great Boston Fire of 1872 – the building is steeped in a great deal of intriguing Boston history. Featuring a Venetian Gothic architectural style that is sometimes referred to as Ruskinian Gothic in reference to architect John Ruskin, the building was designed by Charles Ames Cummings and Willard T. Sears for Henry and Francis Lee to house the partners’ retail shoe center.

Tenants of the Bedford Building enjoy taking in the sight of the historical architecture that abounds across the property. The exterior of the building features multicolored bands of New Brunswick red granite, pressed terra cotta panels and Tuckahoen marble. The panels were manufactured in Philadelphia, and the red granite was the first to be used in the city since the fire.

The first floor of the Bedford Building consists of rough, rustic blocks. The upper floors capture viewers’ attention with touches like flat column pilasters, arched bay windows and iron balconettes. A filial crown sits atop each roof gable, adding to the ornate and eye-catching design. Finally, a glazed tile clock in a five-story tower is located at the corner of Bedford and Summer Streets.

It is not clear yet whether new space will be made available for lease in the Bedford Building anytime soon. If you are looking for space for your office or other endeavor near Downtown Crossing, Boston City Properties can help. Sign up to check current availability for space in this historic building, and contact us today for more information.