Union makes first Boston buy for $150m

The city is the latest new market for the Hamburg, Germany-based firm as it continues its US real estate expansion.

Union Investment Real Estate is betting on Boston, the firm said Friday.

Union Investment purchased the headquarters of sneaker company Converse for $150 million, the Hamburg, Germany-based firm said.

Union began investing in US real estate in 2002, according to the firm’s website. Capital for the latest purchase came from Union’s open-ended fund, Unilmmo: Global, a €2.5 billion fund that was launched in January 2004 with a focus on office investments, according to a company spokesman. The firm’s first North America purchase with capital from the global fund was the 2005 acquisition of a five-story office complex in Seattle.

In its latest transaction, Union bought the 234,643 square foot Boston office property from Related Beal, a Boston partnership between New York-based real estate firm Related Companies and family-owned developer Beal Companies. Related Beal purchased the property that includes the Converse headquarters in December 2012 as part of a portfolio for an undisclosed price, according to real estate data provider Real Capital Analytics. The joint venture redeveloped the property, originally constructed in 1907, to include 162 condominiums, retail shops and a ground-floor visitor’s center. Converse’s headquarters opened in spring 2015 and the office portion of the building could become a multi-tenant property in the future, according to Union’s statement.

“Our entry into the gateway market Boston with cult and lifestyle brand Converse as a strong main tenant is pretty much ideal,” said Martin Brühl, Union Investment’s head of international investment management, in a statement Friday. “With its stable returns and attractive rental growth prospects, Boston offers potential for further investments.”

Union is also rumored to be making further inroads in the Boston office space. Local media outlets reported last month that the firm is buying the 440,000 square foot office building at 99 Seaport Boulevard for $450 million from Skanska USA, according to RCA. Professional services firm PricewaterhouseCoopers is the anchor tenant for the 17-story building. A spokesperson for the firm could not be reached for comment.