0 Residential Tower Proposed on Back Bay Parking Garage

Back Bay Garage, motor mart

Credit: Boston Business Journal

The old parking garage — once, apparently, the largest parking garage in the United States — is getting more than just a makeover. CIM Group, of Los Angeles, is proposing a 17-Story residential tower on top of the existing structure.

According to the BBJ, “CIM Group intends to build a 233,500-square-foot residential tower, with 280 apartment and condominium units, that would rise up to 278 feet to the “top of the highest occupiable floor,” the March 1 letter of intent states…The development would also involve redeveloping 205,000 square feet of the existing Motor Mart Garage “to integrate the structural core of the new tower” and create 106,000 square feet of residential and retail space.”

Additional information is available on the Bizjournals website.

0 Commercial Office Markets to Watch in 2018

Office towers in Boston

Credit: Commercial Cafe

Boston has strong fundamentals and looks for increased rent growth in 2018.

Here’s a 2017 Assessment from Commercial Cafe:

Boston averaged between 11% and 12% office vacancy in 2017. Desirable tech submarkets are priced at a premium here, while emerging submarkets often offer discounts–the overall average asking rent in tech submarkets is priced at a 16% premium in East Cambridge (where inventory has decreased).

The Boston market also retained positive absorption, as vacancy dropped 0.4 percentage points to 12.0 percent last year. Large tenant move-ins have driven the 2017 Boston CBD market, with major shifts including Natixis Global Asset Management’s move into its new 150,000-square-foot headquarters at 888 Boylston St. in the Back Bay.

0 Penthouse Office Space in Back Bay at 116 Huntington Ave.

Back bay office space on Huntington Ave.

Credit: BBJ

Rood Deck, parking and a newly renovated lobby can all be found at 116 Huntington Avenue in Boston’s Back Bay. The 275,000-square-foot, 14-story building is situated directly across the street from 101 and 111 Huntington Avenue at the intersection of Ring Road and Huntington Avenue.

From Bizjournals:

“We were drawn to its location in Boston’s most vibrant neighborhood and to the opportunity to reimagine it as a best-in-class office destination,” said Adam Popper, Columbia’s senior vice president for the Eastern region, in a statement. “We believe the penthouse space, with its wrap-around terraces, high ceilings, modern amenities and incredible views, will soon be recognized as one of Boston’s premier corporate environments, and we’re already seeing significant interest from prospects as we seek to fill the building’s remaining availability.”

Shawmut Design and Construction, the third-largest general contractor in Massachusetts, completed the $10 million renovation, which was designed by Dyer Brown. Work included upgrades to the building’s lobby, installing a glass facade and bronze panels along the building’s exterior, and adding close to 1,500 square feet of private outdoor terrace space for a future tenant for the 25,366-square-foot penthouse space.

0 Boston Office Vacancy Rate among Lowest in U.S.

1 Post Office Sq. Boston

Credit: Boston Business Journal

The Boston office market is tight, with vacancy rates among the lowest in the nation; Boston shared the 5th spot nationally with Portland, OR.

The BBJ notes, “the percentage of office space that’s vacant in greater Boston is lower than all but six other major U.S. cities…Boston recorded an 11.9 percent office vacancy rate in the third quarter, down 0.9 percent from the year-ago period, according to the third-quarter office report from commercial real estate research service Reis Inc. That vacancy rate ties Boston with Portland, Oregon as the fifth-lowest in the U.S., behind New York (9.2 percent), Washington, D.C. (9.3 percent), San Francisco (10 percent) and Seattle (10.8 percent).”

You can read more on the Bizjournals website.

0 Back Bay Office Market is Evolving

Tech office space in Back Bay Boston

Image Credit: BankerandTradesman

Back Bay has options, many options due to the movement and relocation of various large tenants and the opening of 888 Boylston Street by Boston Properties.

From Banker&Tradesman:

You can go back two decades and we’ve never had a spike in vacancy of any sort in the Back Bay,” said Brendan Carroll, director of intelligence for Boston-based Encompass Real Estate Strategy. “Now all of a sudden, we’re starting to see some options.”

As of Sept. 30, Back Bay had the highest availability rate of any Boston submarket, according to Colliers International’s Market Viewpoint report. Including 434,419 square feet of sublease space, some 14.8 percent of the 13.3 million-square-foot inventory is now available.

Other factors include competition from build-to-suit projects such as Boston Properties’ 888 Boylston St. tower, where Natixis will relocate. Wells Fargo and Houghton Mifflin are moving to the Financial District, taking space vacated by tenants that in turn committed to brand-new towers in the sought-after Seaport.

0 2 Charlesgate West Headed to Fenway

Rendering of 2 Charlesgate West

Credit: Boston Herald

More change for the Boston skyline on the Fenway and Back Bay border.

According to the Boston Herald, “Trans National Properties has detailed plans to replace its Fenway headquarters with a 29-story tower called 2 Charlesgate West, which would have 173 apartments and 122 condos…The project would replace parent company Trans National Group Services’ nondescript 40-year headquarters and include 186 parking spaces, a 10,000-square-foot restaurant and 7,500 square feet of office space for Trans National.”

Additional details are available on the Boston Herald, here.

0 The Fate of the Citgo Sign atop Kenmore Square Hangs in the Balance

Back Bay Citgo sign

Credit: Boston Magazine

Boston is in the midst of a dramatic change of how we live, work and play within the city. The daytime and bedtime population is growing and the demand for services is far different than it was 20 years ago, but what hasn’t changed is how much we love our city and appreciate the history and culture that exists here. We are Boston and we love the quirks that makes this home.

Not all historic features and structures merit preserving, but some do. I am sure that prior to filling of what is now Back Bay was very controversial in 1857 when gravel and fill started arriving from Needham at a rate of twenty-five 35-car trains arrived every 24 hours.

With respect to the Citgo sign in Kenmore Square, Boston Magazine reports “the city’s Landmarks Commission met Tuesday night and granted the Citgo sign “pending designation” status. Next, the commission will prepare a report, and a public meeting will be held. If the commission approves its landmark status by a two-thirds vote, Mayor Marty Walsh has 15 days to approve or reject the proposal. If he rejects it, the City Council has 30 days to override his decision.”

You can read more on the status of the Citgo sign on Boston Magazine.

0 Hancock Tower Remains Largely Unoccupied

Hancock Tower in back bay

Credit: Boston Globe

New England’s tallest building has space for you. The tower has approximately 450,000 square feet available for lease.

From the Boston Globe:

About one-fourth of the space in 200 Clarendon — or what most of us still call the John Hancock Tower — is sitting vacant after leases expired and tenants such as John Hancock moved to new digs. Landlord Boston Properties Inc. acknowledged Wednesday that efforts to fill it have been going “a little bit slow.”

Rents at the top of the tower run $70 to $80 per square foot — among the priciest in town. Boston Properties has given no sign it plans to offer discounts to fill 450,000 vacant square feet. Still, the slowdown reflects a bit of a softening at the very top of Boston’s market. Real estate brokers say law firms, financiers, and others who seek trophy office space are pushing back against building owners who want to hike rents.

You can read the full Globe article, here.

0 Boston Office Tower Construction Surging

back bay south end gateway

Credit: Banker&Tradesman

They all won’t happen in this cycle, but it will be interesting to watch the Boston skyline evolve as projects come out of the ground.

From Banker & Tradesman:

Three office towers totaling 113 stories and nearly 2.5 million square feet, already bearing the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s stamp of approval, are to be built near the MBTA’s Haymarket, North and South stations.

The transit tower trend ratchets up with Boston Properties’ latest vision of a 1.3-million-square-foot development at Back Bay station, including a 26-story office tower. And the BRA is getting into the high-rise act as it seeks an “iconic” redevelopment up to 700 feet for its defunct Financial District garage at 115 Federal St.