WALTHAM — Intercontinental Real Estate Corp. caught Waltham’s latest office market wave at just the right time when buying Watermill Center for $55.0 million in August 2014, and the surge of growth along Route 128 coupled with a strategic renovation of 800 South St. has carried the first-class building to the shores of 100 percent occupancy entering 2017. Newmark Grubb Knight Frank is exclusive leasing agent for the six-story, 209,450-sf property which has seen 33,575 sf of commitments since the landlord’s arrival, more than half of that landing in a recent spurt capturing three new tenants. “Since purchasing and upgrading Watermill Center, we have pulled tenants from Kendall Square (Cambridge), Wellesley and the Back Bay, reached 97 percent occupancy, and achieved rent growth of more than 20 percent,” Intercontinental asset manager Scott R. Kelly reports in a release celebrating the latest signings which bring two firms leaving the urban core and another moving a bit inward from 55 William St. in Wellesley, that being a UBS Financial Services offshoot known as The Harvest Group which is occupying 6,450 sf to house its six-person wealth management team. Another financial services entity, Great Elm Capital Group Inc., took down 8,350 sf into which it is relocating from 200 Clarendon St., known globally as Boston’s John Hancock Tower. And IPVision Inc. has leased 2,600 sf, with the patient technology consulting group leaving 139 Main St. in Cambridge’s Kendall Square. Just what motivations prompted the companies to eschew their existing camps is not revealed, but all three are in properties ranked among the most expensive in their own weight classes, including Wellesley Office Park where 55 William St. is situated, a multi-building complex where rents are known to command over $40 per sf. The bigger take-away from market watchers regarding Intercontinental’s progress at 800 South St. is in the landlord’s approach of making the property that was 30 years old upon purchase into a new millennium alternative, ostensibly anticipating companies leaving a best-in-class climate will still be seeking top-flight amenities even at a cheaper rental consideration. Besides updating its two-story lobby and creating “dynamic” indoor and outdoor common areas, Intercontinental offers Watermill Center tenants a stately conference room, modernized fitness center and renovated cafe. There is also covered parking and on-site property management for the park which is located on a seven-acre campus overlooking the Charles River and Stony Brook Reservoir. The Newmark leasing team advising Intercontinental features Executive Managing Director Mark Roth, Managing Directors Brendan Daly and Matt Malatesta and Associate Blake McLaughlin. In the press release, Roth relays there is an added advantage to Watermill Center besides the serene setting and access to nearby dining and retail options, with 800 South St. especially close to the confluence of Route 128/I-95 and the Massachusetts Turnpike. “In a full employment economy with busy roads, tenants are placing a higher value on the ease of access to their work places,” explains the suburban market veteran. Newmark research through Q4 2016 shows the submarket of 20.0 million sf did register another season of positive net absorption to the rate of 153,000 sf, the bulk of it occurring in the final frame which helped push the vacancy rate down to 11.1 percent. The submarket’s asking rent is now averaging $34.66 per sf overall and $37.93 per sf for first class space. Led by CEO Peter Palandjian, Intercontinental is a Brighton-based SEC-Registered Investment Advisor today managing a real estate portfolio valued at nearly $6 billion, its funds diversified in geography and property mix. Watermill Center is owned by its U.S. REIF Watermill Center Massachusetts LLC.