PEABODY — In a blockbuster deal, a real estate investment company paid $17.1 million for a key portion of the city’s burgeoning downtown.

ViceRoy Capital Management closed Wednesday on the purchase of 11 buildings including 15 storefronts and 149 apartments on Main and Lowell streets, and Littles Lane.

“We see this as a great portfolio of working class housing and down-to-earth retail tenants,” said Carl Valeri, the Woburn company’s co-managing partner. “Downtown Peabody is classic America, the way it used to be.”

Valeri said his company plans to spend up to $200,000 over the next two years to continue renovations started by the previous owner with new HVAC systems and common area upgrades.

The sale is the latest effort to revitalize downtown. Pasquale “Pat” Todisco’s promise in 2017 to turn the abandoned historic O’Shea building into new apartments and retail is nearly complete. He paid $1.4 million at auction for the long vacant three-story brick building at the corner of Main and Foster streets. When it’s done, he expects to spend $4.5 million to turn the upper floors into 20 apartments with ground floor retail.

At the other end of downtown, an eyesore for more than 30 years is about to become a $5 million showcase with apartments and shops. Nikolay “Nick” Polinovskiy is transforming an abandoned lot, where fire destroyed a leather works building in the 1980s, with a brick-and-wood-frame complex offering a dozen apartments and ground-floor retail.

He is putting the finishing touches on the three-story building that will include 6,500 square feet of retail space, 10 three-bedroom, and a pair of two-bedroom apartments, all with two baths.

Valeri spent more than two decades as president and chief operating officer at the Hamilton Co., one of the largest real estate companies in Boston. During his tenure, he purchased more than 70 properties and financed $1 billion with the firm headed by the late Harold Brown.

He said Peabody was an easy choice because of its location near Route 128 where apartments are still affordable, compared to Boston’s downtown.

The mayor is looking to create vibrancy in downtown Peabody and we want to be a part of that,” Valeri said.

Dennis Kelleher, senior vice president at Horvath & Tremblay, a Lynnfield commercial real estate firm who handled both sides of the transaction, said the dramatic rise in rents in Boston has investors looking to the North Shore.

“There’s an appeal and a need for this portfolio which is workforce housing,” he said. “It runs at a very high occupancy rate and low turnover.”

Boston’s Seaport District is getting $4,500 for a two-bedroom unit, and in Peabody it’s $1,600 for a similar home.

“As we see rents rise closer to Boston, the areas surrounding the city benefit,” Kelleher said.

In addition to Kelleher, the sales team included associate Stephen Girolamo, and senior vice president John Pentore.

Mayor Edward Bettencourt Jr. said he met with the ViceRoy team a few weeks to discuss the downtown.

“I was very excited to meet with them, they seem like a first class operation,” he said.  “We have a shared vision for the downtown, where they have become the biggest owner and I am really excited about the future.”

77 Main Street65 Main Street

61 Main Street

55 Main Street

2, 4, 6 Littles Lane

3 Littles Lane

3.5 Littles Lane

2 Main Street

28 Lowell Street

18 Units37 Units

10 Units

14 Units

18 Units

6 Units

3 Units

18 Units

11 Units

Source: Horvath & Tremblay.

Thomas Grillo is an award-winning business reporter who has worked at Boston’s major newspapers covering real estate trends including the emergence of Assembly Square in Somerville and chronicling the growth of Boston’s Seaport District. Thomas covers Peabody and Lynnfield. Follow him on Twitter @BosBizThomas.  Thomas Grillo can be reached at