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Telegram & Gazette
December 2021

SOUTHBRIDGE — The power plant of the Southbridge Innovation Center at 60 Optical Dr. sold for $5.5 million after six months on the market.

The 35,247-square-foot, two-story concrete building, built in 1910 as part of the original American Optical complex, sits on the 150-acre campus of the Southbridge Innovation Center, a 1.2 million square foot, 14 building multi-tenanted business park.

Southbridge Associates, LLC, sold the building to Ram Gupta of MSNS Limited Company Inc., who said the sale represented his company’s “significant investment” in the Southbridge Innovation Center and its “broad range of benefits.”

Chris Naff of Kelleher & Sadowsky Real Estate Brokerage said the sale closed Oct. 15 after sitting on the market since April. He said for investment properties such as this one, the timeline of the sale was typical and left both the buyer and seller pleased, calling it a “good win for all involved.”

The building was sold as a leasehold interest in the property with an existing long-term 75-year ground lease with the seller in conjunction with the sale of the building.

“The sale of this significant building demonstrates the further growth and viability of the Southbridge Innovation Center,” Chip Norton, president and founder of Franklin Realty Advisors, said. “These new owners and their significant investment in the property demonstrates the continuing substantial dollar investment and growth in this remarkable property in Southbridge.”

Savers Bank financed the purchase, while Don Mancini brokered the sale and represented the Southbridge Innovation Center. Naff and Meghan Liddy of Kelleher & Sadowsky represented the buyer as the mortgage bankers.

The 1.1-megawatt plant at 60 Optical Dr. was converted to a gas-fired co-generation facility in 2018, and provides all of the utilities to the center’s tenants. According to the release, the plant and generating system will be expanded as more buildings are developed and utilized in the park.

The building is under a long-term lease to SBC Energy, LLC, a single purpose entity and an affiliated company of the Center’s ownership, formed in 2014 as the operator of the power plant.

Naff said two other properties at the center were on the market: 80 Optical Dr., which is currently under agreement, and 15 Wells St., which sold at the beginning of this year.

By Isabel Sami