Open plan versus private office the debate continues. It’s likely safe to say that we will end up with some composite of open and collaborative space while maintaining some private offices.
A recent Biznow article describes components of the latest emerging office design trend, dubbed, “activity-based office design”:
The latest model acknowledges that companies may have saved money establishing an open concept floor plan, but in most cases, they did not drive the innovation and collaboration desired. To combat this problem, current designs include areas such as team spaces with standing tables, comfortable couches and movable walls to encourage team meetings and collaboration. The activity-based office design also provides private spaces such as soundproof phone booths or isolation rooms in order to account for moments when intense concentration is needed, or when a confidential conversation needs to take place.
For more information, jump over to Biznow.com.
Boston continues to win large corporate tenants from our neighboring states.
In an article on the Courant, Alexion said “its headquarters would move from New Haven to Boston to support plans for growth…[noting] Boston will provide access to a ‘larger biopharmaceutical talent pool and a variety of life-sciences partners to further support future growth initiatives.’”
The full article is available on the Courant.
Related Office Space Listings
Seaport Office Space for Lease
Your office rents in Boston are directly impacted by the distance to the nearest MBTA stop. Simply put, expect to pay more the closer you are.
Banker and Tradesman notes, “despite the departure of several large office tenants for the Financial District and Seaport, Back Bay still has Boston’s highest-priced office space. Buildings within a 5-minute walk of Hynes Convention Center station on the Green Line average $66.69 per square foot, partly reflecting the completion of Boston Properties’ 888 Boylston tower anchored by Natixis Global Asset Management.
You can read additional analysis on the impact of the MBTA on Boston office prices on B&T.
Should it be built or not? Will it cast a deep shadow? Is too much being made of this issue or are not enough people rallying behind the drive to maintain a view of the sky?
From the New York Times:
Boston is riding the crest of what city officials say is the biggest building boom in its history, with cranes lifting glassy towers into place and raising the city’s unassuming profile. The surge of construction is also plunging some of its most cherished sites into deepening shadow, testing state laws that have long balanced economic development with protection of sunlight and open space.
The concern is not merely about preserving a glimpse of sky in the increasingly vertical downtown or about the risks of darkness to plants, historic buildings and even humans. It is also about whether the city is going down a road of no return by trading away, one piece at a time, its intangible assets, like sunlight on its signature parks and public access to its gleaming waterfront.
Credit: Business Insider
The suburban office parks as we know it might become a thing of the past like the VCR and home answering machine.
As more corporations flock to cities, they are vacating these office parks, many of which were built in the 1980s…But some of these parks are not staying empty. An increasing number of developers are converting them into housing, according to a recent Washington Post report.
A 2016 report by NGKF looked at office parks in five suburbs, and found that between 14% and 22% were “in some stage of obsolescence” (i.e. high vacancy rates, too much or not enough parking, the space needs substantial renovations). That suggests that up to 1 billion square feet of office space — or 7.5% of the country’s entire office inventory — is becoming obsolete for the people who work there.
We all agree, finding garage parking in Boston can be a challenge. What about parking under the Charles River or under the Fort Point Channel?
Image Credit: Curbed
In a recent article the Boston Globe notes, “in a city like Boston, where the most parking-starved areas are surrounded by water, the payoff could be significant: helping to reduce the pollution and traffic caused by drivers circling the block hunting for spot, making parking more affordable, and freeing up more street-level space for other uses.”
The Globe article also includes the following comment of the feasibility of such an undertaking:
“It’s definitely very possible,” said Arthur G. Stadig, vice president of Walker Parking Consultants, who said a client of his Boston firm — whom he declined to identify — recently toyed with the idea of extending part of a planned parking garage into the harbor…It’s just a matter of is there that right combination of a development that’s close to the water, needs the parking, and is feasible from all different aspects,” including cost and securing regulatory approvals.”
You can read the full article on the Globe’s website.
Credit: Boston Globe
Can track 61 save the Seaport from its own success? To be clear, it could help and we could use it.
From the Boston Globe:
Originally a freight line that was part of the industrial rail yards along the South Boston Waterfront, Track 61 has been unused for many years while around it a new neighborhood of glass-walled offices, luxury condos, and hip restaurants has sprung up.
The roughly 1.5-mile spur [that] cuts across the Seaport District from the southwestern edge of South Boston…is coming back to life [to test] new Red Line subway cars that are being built for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority in Springfield.
The work will include an electrified third rail along Track 61 to power the Red Line cars, a new shed, and other improvements.
Credit: Banker and Tradesman
Water shuttle service simply makes sense to accommodate Boston’s daytime and nighttime population growth and resulting transportation demands. The benefits of water travel from North Station to the Seaport would be a welcome alternative for many within our workforce; complaints of snarled traffic access during business hours are common refrains among Seaport commuters. Additionally, the reactivation of Track 61 from Back Bay to the Seaport will contribute to further traffic relief.
The 2015 South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan specifically recommended ferry service between Fan Pier and North Station, due to the need for improved regional access to the jobs and activity in the Seaport district. The report called water transportation “an untapped resource to open up new channels of transit ridership to/from North Station, the downtown, and coastal communities to the north and south.”
The North Station market is growing up. Yes, it is still home to The Garden, but with 2.5 million square feet of new developments, it is poised to rival any Boston submarket.
Unlike the Seaport, it offers a commuter rail hub in North Station, light rail service from the Green and Orange lines, and Interstate 93 – making it a commuter’s dream.
Banker&Tradesman reports, “by 2020, the addition of more than two and a half million square feet of new development promises to reshape the neighborhood with the inclusion of retail, office and hospitality developments…It will also include market-rate and middle-class housing, which will contribute to Boston Mayor Martin Walsh’s goal of creating 56,000 new units by 2030. Growth has been so explosive that the city is developing a North Station Area Mobility Action Plan to account for the thousands of commuters, residents, visitors and arena-goers that ebb and flow in and out of the area daily.”
You can read the full article on Banker and Tradesman: Boston’s New Gateway
Related Available Office Space
North End and Govt. Center Office Space for Lease
Credit: Banker and Tradesman
Office tenants are using their space far different than years past. In some, but not all, cases employees no longer have an assigned desk. They simply check in and grab space that is conducive to the task they need to perform that day. This would include a phone room for a call with a client or a table for an internal team meeting.
Speaking to this trend, a recent Banker and Tradesman article aims to identify “what the [Boston office] market wants most”:
Efficiency, convenience, a great neighborhood and something “cool” that goes above and beyond for our tenants…[many contemporary office developments]…have flexible conference and events facilities with outdoor access to accommodate corporate gatherings. This maximizes the amount of productive square feet within a tenant space and minimizes the need for a large conference room, ultimately increasing the number of employees that a space can accommodate.
On-site amenities provide a company’s employees with options for a balanced and productive day within their office building. Gyms, dry cleaning and terraces are now standard in many buildings.