Mori Trust makes US entrance with office buy for $650m

The Japanese real estate firm did a partial sale-leaseback with an insurance company in Boston.

Mori Trust, a Japanese real estate developer and investor, has made its US real estate debut with the purchase of two adjacent Boston offices.

The Tokyo-based firm bought the buildings, which total 825,000 square feet and include a 400-car parking garage, for $650 million from Liberty Mutual Insurance, according to data provider Real Capital Analytics (RCA). The Boston-based insurer bought the properties, at 10 St. James Avenue and 75 Arlington Street, in January 2006 for $481.5 million, according to RCA. Liberty subsequently put them up for sale this September, according to a statement at the time.

Liberty built a nearby tower in 2013, moving many employees to the new office and renting out the remaining floors at the two buildings it purchased. After the transaction closes, Liberty will lease the floors it occupies from the new owner. Mori’s purchase will not impact the company’s employees, according to a statement from earlier this year.

“Those two buildings have become predominately rental space. That’s not a business we’re in,” John Cusolito, a Liberty spokesman, told local media in September. “It’s a good time to sell.”

Cusolito declined to comment on the sale news, and Mori could not be reached for comment.

Mori, founded in 1970, has previously focused on Japanese hotels and offices. The company managed ¥30 billion ($260 million, €247 million) as of March 31, according to its most recent financial report. Mori added a real estate investment arm in 2005 with new areas of business including mergers and acquisitions and fund investments.