0 Boston Commercial Real Estate Market Ripe for Investors

Boston Skyline over the Charles

Credit: Commercial Observer

The Boston area real estate market continues to offer investors a relative bargain compared with other markets when you consider rents, office space availability, workforce, employment numbers, and new construction.

Commercial Observer lists out the top ten reasons why investors should keep their eye on the area:

  1. Office vacancy is the lowest it’s been since before the Great Recession.
  2. Office asking rents are the highest they’ve been since before the Great Recession.
  3. These higher rents include even Class B space.
  4. Job growth in the Boston region is exploding—just look at GE.
  5. And look at the biotechnology industry.
  6. Boston’s office landlords are upgrading existing spaces and adding relatively little new inventory.
  7. Eataly, etc.
  8. The hotel market is one of the nation’s hottest—and tightest.
  9. As for Boston’s multifamily market, it’s nearly impossible to find one with better fundamentals.
  10. The region remains a relative steal.


0 Boston Office Space Closes Out 2015 with Peak Rents

office rent prices in Boston over the past few years

Credit: B&T

According to our research office rents will continue to grow through 2017 within the greater Boston market.  On top of that, construction costs continue to climb while tenant improvement dollar’s decline and rent abatement all but disappears.

From Banker & Tradesman:

Rents in Class A downtown office towers jumped 7.4 percent in 2015, with a nearly 4 percent jump in the last three months of the year, according to Lisa Strope, New England research director for JLL.

Leasing activity downtown leaped 18 percent during the fourth quarter.
The average rent for top-shelf office space in Boston ended 2015 at just under $61 a square foot, up from $52 at the end of 2013.

“Suddenly downtown is looking good to a lot of people,” Strope said.

0 Tech Startup Progresses Architectural Renderings

iphone app for architects and real estate developers

Credit: BBJ

What will it look like? That’s the question so many property owners and developers face when first envisioning a renovation, and  thanks to Terrence Masson of  Building Conversation, we will soon be able to get a much clearer idea.  The company will allow architects and others to visualized a proposed building within the context of its surroundings.

“It does that through the camera of an iPad or iPhone which acts as a “window,” on top of which architectural design proposals are overlaid. This technology is known as augmented reality, which offers users a live view of a real-world environment combined with elements that are computer-generated,” according to a Bizjournals.com posting.

“In effect, you get to see and walk around a full-scale hologram of the proposed architecture through the iPad,” said Building Conversation’s CEO Terrence Masson, who founded the company with George Thrush, the director of the School of Architecture at Northeastern University…Masson started working on the technology as part of a Capstone project at Northeastern about three years ago.

You can read the full article on BizJournals.

0 745 Atlantic Ave. Purchased by Oxford Properties for $114.5M

Office building at 745 Atlantic avenue in downtown Boston

Credit: BBJ

Oxford Properties continues its buying spree by plunking down $114.5 million for 745 Atlantic Avenue or $657 per square foot. 745 Atlantic Avenue is home to WeWork and Dain Torphy as well as a number of companies.  WeWork will be building out a Café on the 1st floor as part of their future expansion.

From the BBJ:

“It really fits our profile of what we like to buy for the long-term: Class A assets in downtown cores near transit-oriented locations,” said Chad Remis, the head of Oxford Properties’ Boston office.

Its $114.5 million acquisition of 745 Atlantic, which closed May 29, is more than double the $54.65 million sale price 745 Atlantic fetched in 2003. The property sold again in 2008 as part of a $1.7 billion office property acquisition invovlingBeacon Capital Partners and Charter Hall Office REIT of Sydney, Australia.

You can read the full article on the Boston Business Journal website.

0 The Landmark Building at 160 Federal St. Sold to Beacon Capital

Landmark Building, 160 Federal St.

Credit: BBJ

Beacon Capital continues to add to their portfolio by purchasing 160 Federal Street with is located at the corner of Federal St. and High St.

According to the BBJ, “the deal for the 351,000-square-foot, 24-story Landmark Building “was financed with a $96.2 million mortgage from Metropolitan Life Insurance Co., a separate Suffolk County record shows. The mortgage was executed April 10…Taurus bought 160 Federal St. in April 2007 for $101.4 million, Suffolk County records show.”

Additional details are available on the Bizjournals.com.

0 75-105 Federal St. in Boston’s Financial District Under Agreement

Financial District office space federal street

Credit: Banker&Tradesman

Another trade is scheduled to take place, 75  – 105 Federal Street in Boston’s Financial District.

According to Banker&Tradesman, “the L-shaped office tower overlooks the city-owned Winthrop Square garage, which could be redeveloped into a massive mixed-use project…Developer Steve Belkin has floated plans for a 740-foot tower on the garage site at 115 Federal St. The project would cost approximately $900 million and contain offices, a 300-room hotel, retail space and possibly condos on the upper floors.”

You can read the full article on B&T, here.

0 Proposals Submitted for Parcel 13 Over Mass Pike in Back Bay

Credit: The Boston Globe

One thing that we truly aren’t making more of is real estate.  The recent focus is Back Bay at the intersection of Mass Ave and Boylston Street above the Pike; will this become the next hot development site?  Parcel 13 is getting a lot of attention and the stars might be aligning for building above the Pike.

The Boston Globe reports, “three companies on Friday submitted proposals to build large complexes on the 50,000-square-foot lot, across from the Hynes Convention Center. The pitches include a curvy, 11-story building with residences, a hotel, and stores, as well as a 21-story complex with shops and 350 apartments…The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will select a winner in the coming months. The redevelopment would create a new entrance to the Back Bay and help enliven a disjointed section of the otherwise bustling neighborhood.”

You can read more on the contest and proposals for Parcel 13 on The Boston Globe.

0 Office Rent Increases Expected in Prime Boston Locations

Blackstone_logoIf you need more space or if your lease is near the end of the term, now is the time to secure office space in Boston.  Buildings are trading hands and the new owners will be looking for a return on their investment and will push rents.  In 2007 when Blackstone bought Equity, rents rose 44 percent and other landlords followed suit.

A report on nerej suggests an optimistic future for landlords; “all signs are in place for another major rent move rivaling The Blackstone Effect of 2007. As of Q2 2014 when everything started, vacancy for class A and B buildings in core downtown Boston (defined as Back Bay, Seaport and CBD) was at 8.4%. In Q4 2006, vacancy was at 8.3%. In Q2 2014 average rent for Boston’s core downtown market was $50.32 per s/f; this is $8.56 per s/f higher than Q4 2006…The momentum in the market is similar to 2007. Based on 2007 actual experience, and a move similar to 2007, it would be reasonable to see a “rent pop” up to the $70 per s/f level for core assets. 2007 peaked at $60.15 per s/f. 2015-2016 should add another $10 per s/f, which would result in average rent of $70.15 per s/f during the next 2 years.”

More information is available on the nerej website, here.

0 Marine Park’s Bronstein Center Targeted for Commercial Use

22 Drydock Ave. office building

Credit: Boston Business Journal

What does it take to convert a former munitions building to full commercial use?

Well, some history of the site according to Wikipedia.  The Department of Defense purchases the site in 1920 and split it up between the Navy Annex and the South Boston Army Base.  During World War II the site was used as a machine shop, power plant, barracks, dry dock warehouse.

Post World War II the annex was used to store ships and in 1074 the City purchased the site and it became the Boston Marine Industrial Park.  As our city expand we need to accommodate more commercial use and less industrial use and Jamestown is looking for approvals to do so.

The Boston Business Journal reports, “last year, Jamestown Properties bought the Boston Design Center from Millennium Partners for $72.7 million and the adjacent Bronstein Center for $48 million. The 1.4-million-square-foot complex is located at 21, 23, and 25 Drydock Ave. at the far end of the Seaport District.”

Details on Marine Park and the potential commercial conversion, head over to the BBJ’s website.

0 Downtown Crossing Office Space and Residential Markets Both Booming

Downtown crossing in Boston

Credit: Wall Street Journal

This is the hottest office and residential market going and has evolved from one of the seediest.  Yes, Downtown Crossing; with great MBTA access and new developments, business are moving in and residential developments are emerging from shuttered buildings.

The Wall Street Journal recently wrote about the developments and high-rises taking over Downtown Crossing, noting, “New luxury developments are transforming Boston’s Downtown Crossing from a neighborhood once called the “Combat Zone” to an enclave of luxury living…The new wave of development is transforming the landscape of Downtown Crossing. The neighborhood’s population increased 44% from 2000 to 2010, compared with a 4.8% rise in Boston’s total population, says the Boston Redevelopment Authority.”

A national view on the transformation of Boston’s Downtown Crossing is available on the WSJ’s website, here.