The Boston real estate market is collectively on the rise, with six impending towers set to stand at least 300 feet. None of these projects are massive in scale on their own, but combined, they fortify Boston’s continued presence on the world’s real estate stage.
The combined projects include office, retail and residential space for lease.
Curbed Boston highlights the elements comprising the project’s relative stout within the traditionally ‘height-averse’ market:
One Congress – the tallest new office building in Boston since the 590-foot One Financial Center opened in April 1984
Bulfinch Crossing residential tower – residential spire is expected to stretch to 480 feet and 45 stories, and to include 368 apartments and 55 condos.
1000 Boylston – 484-foot, 32-story residential, retail, and parking tower over the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Hub on Causeway – 1.87 million mixed-use square feet on and around TD Garden and North Station—includes a 498-foot, 38-story tower.
Back Bay Station tower – 1.26 million square feet of residences, offices, retail, and other space around and atop Back Bay Station.
Fenway Center – Includes a residential-office-garage tower of 305 feet.
The Newbury Street ‘super-sub’ market has continued to develop and flourish since that time into its current iteration, where “the spaces above the ground floor are now some of the most desirable workspaces in Boston. These 207 buildings in Back Bay form a submarket within a submarket, a working enclave totaling over 3M SF. Properties on Newbury Street are able to leverage a built-in cool factor that most office buildings and new developments can’t duplicate. Unlike other Boston submarkets with seasonal attractions, Newbury Street is a year-round destination — the neighborhood has a perpetual energy,” according the Bisnow.
“You never have to leave the street. Every possible food and beverage option, as well as every type of service, is just steps from your office front door,” Back Bay Association President Meg Mainzer-Cohen said. “Newbury Street is also a stone’s throw from a park system that is one of the best in the country, including Boston Public Garden and the Esplanade, making it easy to step out and recharge.”
You can read the full Bisnow article on its website, here.
Could the Midtown Hotel site be the home to the next office or residential tower in Boston Back Bay? Speculation says Back Bay would be most receptive to height.
A sale of the one-acre site would likely lead to a much larger building in the 159-room hotel’s place, per the Globe’s Tim Logan. And that sale would likelier be on the pricier side, reflecting the skyrocketing land values of prime development sites in downtown Boston in general.
For instance, the MidTown site’s lease could go for as much as $80 million—$15 million more than developer Carpenter & Co. paid in 2014 for the smaller site that became One Dalton, which is on its way to being one of the five tallest towers in New England.
The office market in Back Bay is vibrant and alive with activity. It’s 18M square feet not only boasts the 1st (200 Clarendon Street) and 2nd (Prudential) tallest buildings in New England, but also will possess the tallest residential building (1 Dalton) as well.
Vacancy is down and cost of occupancy has increased. Newbury Street office rents can range from upper $40’s t0 low $70’s per square foot.
“I think Back Bay has the amenities, the public transportation and all the attractive features a company is looking for,” said Avison Young principal Ron Perry, who is speaking at Bisnow’s Boston Office of the Future event later this month. “At night, it’s alive with restaurants. Traditional firms like it, and they’ve done a good job lately in making that appeal to technology companies.”
“Boston has an amazing talent base with great universities, a strong diversity of industries and an innovative culture,” Wayfair Head of Real Estate and Workplace Services Reed Gilbert said. “Wayfair’s headquarters, centrally located in Boston’s Back Bay, makes it easy for employees to bike, walk and take public transportation to work.”
The insurance company is returning its headquarters to Back Bay, where it already has a 1.2M SF campus and employs over 2,000. Its 465K SF Seaport headquarters at 601 Congress St. employs 1,100 people, all of whom will be transferred by the end of 2018 to two Back Bay buildings at 200 Berkeley St. and 197 Clarendon St., the Boston Business Journal reports.
[John Hancock CEO Marianne] Harrison sent a memo to Hancock employees Tuesday, saying the company had enough space in Back Bay, given the number of local employees and how many work remotely. Along with the weather beacon-capped 200 Berkeley and 197 Clarendon, Hancock has approval to build a third office tower in Back Bay. The 26-story, 388-foot tower at 380 Stuart St. could be developed for Hancock or another tenant.
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.”
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.
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.
“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.
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.