The greater Boston economy is strong with jobs, construction and capital. Many office users are seeking value while trying to straddle the live-work-play model for their staff. Not every company can be located within a five-minute walk of South Station, nor can they offer free parking to their employees. What we are seeing is locations that offer infrastructure, reap the benefits of today’s strong office market.
A recent Boston Globe article remarked, “the western suburbs around Route 128 are experiencing a building boom, with new headquarters for growing companies such as TripAdvisor and Vistaprint among five huge developments under construction in Needham, Waltham, and neighboring towns…The attractions of the suburbs include much lower rents and lots of choices. Moreover, the workspaces — either new or newly renovated — are far from the souless corporate boxes of the 1980s that dotted the suburban landscape. The interiors of some new offices look as if they could comfortably fit along Seaport Boulevard in Boston or Broadway in Cambridge.”
Boston, compared to our peers, has some of the most efficient lawyers. Boston law firms only occupy about 10 percent of the high end, Class A, real estate in the city. Other cities those numbers range from 25 percent to 42 percent.
The BBJ has strewn together a ‘snapshot of office space trends’ among Boston law firms. The article remarks of the office environment in Boston, noting “legal employment is still down about 2,600 jobs from pre-recession numbers.”
“Uber is testing its UberHealth service…in partnership with Vaccine Finder, a free vaccine search tool developed in part by Boston Children’s Hospital. For every shot given, the company said it would donate $5 to the Red Cross to support vaccination efforts for children including its Measles & Rubella Initiati.”
If you need office space or are looking to expand or renew at your existing location, consider now. The market is clearly in favor of the landlord and is expected to continue in that direction. Investors are reaping the benefits, while tenants are looking for options with competitive rents.
Hans Nordby, managing director of CoStar Portfolio Strategy, described the commercial real estate environment as “the prettiest picture you’re likely to see in this economic cycle. If you’re waiting for ‘as good as it gets,’ it’s probably today in terms of year-over-year office employment growth being so pervasive.”
Boston office tenants absorbed over 350,000 sf of space in the 3rd quarter, lowering vacancy to just over 10 percent. Class A rents rose to $51.80 per SF.
Additional information on the national market are available on CoStar.com.
The office look and feel is vastly different than 10 years ago. Gone are bland impersonal spaces, now we see cozy kitchens and complete gyms.
HubSpot recently garnered recognition for its office’s inviting, contemporary aesthetic. Its chief operating officer, JD Sherman, described the company’s motif, “we have standing desks for every employee, informal lounges to make it easy to collaborate, chalk walls for brainstorming, and a kitchen in each of the main areas to foster and encourage people to meet and connect throughout the day.”
Bring the walls down and let’s see and hear each other. That is the new norm is office space, gone are the vast array of private offices. Today’s office layout is vastly different than just 10 years ago; today’s employees can expect to work in a benching platform, sitting very close to their coworkers. Their work station would have very little is any actual storage space and in some case may not even have land line if the role of that person is non customer related. The big delta is common space, this looks more like a large family room.
In an interview with Boston.com, Swedish architect, Gert Wingårdh, said “his [newest] design is aimed at improving company communications, a problem many businesses identify with. ‘Usually our surveys tell us that communications is lacking all over the world,’ said Wingårdh. ‘When employees have the same space to share, it enhances their sense of one another.’ With no walls between workstations, Wingårdh says employees will become aware of each other. At EF, even the CEO works in an open workstation.”
Your favorite parking lot is going the way of residential condo’s on the Greenway. Parking in the city continues to cost more and there are fewer available options. Back Bay’s monthly rate can range from $350 to $500, while the Financial District can be from $400 to $525.
“City officials have approved a $45 million condo project that will be built on a parking lot overlooking the Rose Kennedy Greenway…The 67,000-square-foot, 12-story building at 55 India St. will contain 44 one- to three-bedroom condos and 4,000 square feet of commercial space. The site consists of three parcels, two of which are privately owned and one acquired from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.”
Uber is on the move and headed for new digs in the North Station area of Boston. The North Station office market still reigns as a value option compared with Back Bay and the Seaport.
The Boston Herald describes the scale of Uber’s new space at 239 Causeway St., noting “The 17,494-square-foot office is nearly three times the size of the company’s current office near South Station, and comes with an option to expand to another floor in the future.”
Rents in the Class B market can range from the low to mid $30’s PSF.
How does your open space rank amongst your peers in East Cambridge/Kendall? Interested in learning more, come to the open forum.
“The competition, sponsored by the City’s Community Development Department, is an opportunity to plan a vision for the entire open space network in Kendall Square and eastern Cambridge and vicinity. The city is looking for unique approaches to open space planning and design,” notes WickedLocal.