0 What 10M Driverless Cars by 2020 Means for Real Estate Development

Driverless car rendering

Credit: TheRealReporter

Boston will change significantly with the introduction of driverless cars. Do you expect to own a Level 4 driverless car in the next 10 years?

According to The Real Reporter, “Level 4 cars park themselves, they don’t need nearly the space for error as humans do, and don’t need space for passengers to exit from the sides. As landlords’ see their tenants’ workers go increasingly autonomous, it may make sense to proactively create areas or structures to more efficiently offer car storage than the traditional 150 space per acre parking lot…The autonomous revolution may quickly lead to a car-share model. This could rapidly change industry parking ratios –freeing land, in some cases, for more development!”

You can read more on the real estate impact of driverless cars on The Real Reporter, here.

0 Boston Office Rents Hit Decade High

Office space in Boston

Credit: Boston Business Journal

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts holds a few distinctions aside from high office rents and expensive homes; Massachusetts is the highest educated state, and as such, holds the potential to attract top talent.

According to the BBJ, “rents for large office space in Greater Boston hit their highest levels in at least a decade in the fourth quarter of 2015, with the vacancy rate dropping to its lowest level since 2007…The total vacancy rate fell to 13.8 percent from 14.3 percent the previous quarter.”

You can read the full article, here.

0 Prime Boston Office Rents Up Nearly 300% in Past 15 Years

boston signage for office buildings

Credit: Boston Globe

The city of Boston continues to expand by building more residential and office buildings in areas once thought too far from the mainstream. Industrial and flex users have felt that impact along with office tenants that occupied old industrial buildings that have gone through complete renovations. $12 PSF office rents in the Boston Wharf portfolio from 15 years ago are now in the upper $40’s PSF.

From the Boston Globe:

Yet as real estate prices surge and development pushes into places that were long neglected, the pressures are rising on industrial space all over the city. Boston has just 3.6 square miles of land zoned for industrial use, less seemingly every week. Two prominent properties in the South End, for example, Quinzani’s Bakery on Harrison Avenue and the Flower Exchange on Albany Street, are being sold to developers.

“Not everybody works for Fidelity or Vertex,” said Michael Vaughan, a development consultant who is helping the food wholesalers in Widett Circle negotiate a potential move. “This is how people earn a good living and stay in the city of Boston. The challenge is how do you make sure there’s room for them in a very land-poor city.”

0 Boston High-Rise Office Space: Rents Exceeding $90 per sq. foot

745 Atlantic Ave office space in Boston

Credit: Bizjournals.com

Boston office rents continue to grow as tenants continue to migrate to downtown Boston high-rise office buildings.

From the Boston Business Journal:

Low-rise and Class B offices are now commanding rents in the mid- to upper $40s range, while high-rise rents are reaching well past the $90 per square foot range, according to second-quarter research from commercial real estate services firm DTZ. Class B office rents are up 21 percent from last year in the Financial District, 12 percent in the North Station region and 20 percent in South Station, DTZ said.

“It’s also worth noting that nearly 25 percent of Boston’s office inventory has traded hands in the past 12 months,” the research report said.
Meanwhile, Cambridge also maintained its post as the strongest real estate market in Massachusetts, with $2.2 billion in sales activity. That’s more than half of the overall $4 billion in total sales volume so far this year, according to recently released second-quarter research from JLL..Direct average rents rose more than 5 percent year-over-year in nine out of 12 of Boston’s submarkets, topping out with 16.3 percent growth in East Cambridge.

0 Boston Office Rents up 7.6%

1 broadway in kendall

One Broadway in Kendall Square (click for property details)

Fewer options exist on the Boston office market, and what is available is more expensive then previous quarters.  Combined with fewer concessions offered by landlords, local tenants are feeling the pinch.

From the Boston Globe:

Boston’s office market is hopping, according to reports issued by real estate brokerages Transwestern and Jones Lang LaSalle. Driven by strong employment gains and growing companies in need of additional space, rents are rising all across Greater Boston, up 7.6 percent in the last 12 months. Throughout Cambridge, there are just three vacant office spaces of 20,000 square feet or more on the market, and rents in Kendall Square are averaging above $70 per square foot. Along Route 128, vacancy rates are at record lows, while office rents along Interstate 495 are at seven-year highs.

0 Boston Office Forecast: Meaningful Moves Ahead in Financial Sector

Boston financial district office buildings

Credit: B&T

The Boston office market has big movers that need to make some real estate decisions.  The market continues to tighten and blocks of 100,000 square feet and above are harder to find.

From Banker and Tradesman:

Banks continue to move employees into smaller workspaces, with the industry average now 150 square feet per employee, down from 225 square feet in 2009…many banks are [also] choosing to relocate offices. Only 25 percent of the financial services office deals tracked by JLL in 2014 were lease renewals, while 46 percent were relocations.

That trend is likely to continue in Boston, with three major financial institutions responsible for 33 percent of the total active requirements in the market. But the result likely will be a net decrease in occupied space.

Putnam Investments and Wells Fargo are in the market for 280,000 and 220,000 square feet, respectively, while BNY Mellon is seeking to downsize to 350,000 square feet. And available build-to-suit parcels in the Seaport District provide competition to existing office towers in the Financial District.

0 Boston Commercial Real Estate Retrospective

Boston office buildings line the skyline

Credit: The Boston Globe

The city of Boston that is home to a wide variety of college, universities, professional sports team, hospitals and companies is changing.  We have created the Back Bay, built office tower and now adding more buildings to our skyline.  No longer are the tower views home to companies, but residences.

The Boston Globe has put together a retrospective, “A new age for an old town”, tracing the Hub’s commercial transformation. The article notes the following:

Today, Boston Properties, one of the city’s most prolific builders, is developing a 17-story office building on the final parcel within the Prudential complex. Meanwhile, the area around the Pru is exploding with new projects and proposals for hotels and towering residential buildings.

“It’s absolutely extraordinary,” said Bob Richards, a partner at Transwestern RBJ. “What’s driving it is the top-tier labor talent in industries like technology and life sciences. The young people who work for those companies want to live in an urban environment.”

Not coincidentally, the city’s population is rising more rapidly than it has in decades. The total head count rose by nearly 30,000 people, to about 646,000, between 2010 and 2013, according to the US Census Bureau. That’s more population growth in three years than Boston experienced in the 1980s and ’90s combined.

0 Office Design Mirrors Culture, Approach for Modern Start-ups

Art in Facebook's Cambridge office space

Credit: The Boston Globe

What type of art does your office have?  The experience of today’s office differs greatly from what we saw just 10 years ago; today it exudes the company’s culture and vibe.

The Boston Globe recently published an article on the interior aesthetic and art marking Facebook’s Cambridge office:

The Kendall Square office of Facebook, which opened last year, includes five art pieces commissioned by the social media giant. Ryan Mack, who runs the local office for Facebook, oversaw the selection of art:

‘If you look at any of our offices, art’s an important part of our company culture. We try to find pieces that combine Facebook culture, which is about technology and connecting people, with the local culture. So we always get stuff from local artists…there are design elements that are consistent across all Facebook offices, but the art gives them a local touch. We put an artist statement up near each piece that tells a little story about the artist or how they designed that piece for the office.’

0 Boston Real Estate Valued at More than $100B

Boston is a $100 billion dollar city and the hub’s office tenants will be paying for it. Expect your office lease rates to rise with the new year’s tax bill.

Overhead view of Boston seaport

Credit: The Boston Globe

From the Boston Globe:

“With the [Boston] real estate market surging, the total estimated value of its residential and commercial property jumped over that threshold for the first time and has climbed to a total of $110 billion, according to a new city assessment…The increase will mean significantly higher tax bills for many property owners next year, although the extent of those increases will not be known until tax rates are set in the coming days…To stave off sticker shock, the city’s assessing department has already begun reaching out to owners in some neighborhoods where values have increased the most.”

0 Cambridge Office Rents Continue to Climb

Boston from Cambridge over redline T

Credit: Banker and Tradesman

The torch gets passed to Kendall Square with office rents in Cambridge skyrocketing, and one market expected to climb even higher. Kendall is the spot to be for blue chip tech companies, but why – is it the view of the Boston Skyline?  No, simply put it’s Harvard and MIT that are the attraction. Companies want to attract top talent and want to associate with these prestigious institutions any way they can.

Banker and Tradesman is reporting “building owners in the lab- and office-packed Cambridge neighborhood [of Kendall Square] are quoting $80 a square foot for prime space…[while] the vacancy rate for office space in the Cambridge neighborhood is a practically air-tight 0.6 percent.”

More information on the demand trends of Kendall Square office space is available on B&T’s website.