Gone are the days when tenants would start looking for Boston office space one-to-two years in advance. Prospective tenants now find themselves shopping for immediate occupancy, and are only interested in spec suites that have been prebuilt by the landlord to meet today’s connectivity demands.
Tech has dominated the ongoing positive cycle in Boston’s office market, and the industry’s reputation as a disruptor has extended into how landlords appeal to potential tenants. While law firms and financial firms are known for making space decisions far in advance, the tech community has compressed the time from site tour to move-in…Their growth is more explosive than a bank or insurance company; thus, they wait until the last minute.
As life science firms turned Cambridge into a lab-dominant market, the historically tech-heavy Kendall Square passed its tech reputation across the river into areas like Boston’s Fort Point and Seaport neighborhoods.
Yes, the Financial District can rest assured it will live to lease more space. Remember, this is the largest concentration of office space north of New York City, combined with great access via water shuttle, commuter rail, T, bus or car. Change is inevitable, however, and the Financial District landlords will need to continue with capital upgrades and tenant amenities to meet what today’s TAMI tenants and traditional tenants are seeking.
Banker and Tradesman notes, “the booming tech market has provided a lifeline of sorts, with a range of companies from established firms to startups decamping from more expensive space in Cambridge and its environs to the more budget-friendly lower floors of the Financial District’s tall timber, almost all of it built in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.”
“Our expansion to the east coast is a direct reflection of the tremendous demand we’re seeing in cloud collaboration,” said Mark Mader, CEO of Smartsheet. “Building out a world-class team in Boston’s vibrant tech hub is a critical part of serving both U.S. and international customers.”
Consistently recognized as a great place to work, Smartsheet was featured as a “Highest Rated Private Cloud Company to Work For” in a new list by Battery Ventures and Glassdoor released in August 2016. Employee reviews on Glassdoor also praise the passionate and accessible senior leadership, work-life balance, amazing company culture, belief in the product and top-notch talent.
The value option in Boston office leasing, the Financial District, holds the single largest concentration of office space and workers. Submarkets like the Seaport, Kendall Square, and Back Bay are pushing numbers in excess of the pre-2008 crash.
Data from the Boston office of Colliers International show that vacancy rates for the upper reaches of buildings in the Financial District — floors 20 and above — are at their highest in nearly a decade. And as a whole, the Financial District lost more tenants per square foot in 2016 than any other area in the city, ending up with nearly 850,000 more square feet of vacant space than in 2015…The Seaport District remains the new “it” address, with companies leasing an additional 400,000 feet of office space in 2016.
Bulfinch Crossing is a 2.9 million square foot multi-phased development project that will replace the existing above-grade concrete Government Center Garage with a pedestrian-friendly streetscape, a public plaza and six mixed-use buildings on two appropriately-scaled urban blocks spread across approximately 4.8 acres. The demolition of a major portion of the garage over Congress Street will allow for daylight to shine on Congress Street for the first time in more than 40 years.
When fully built, there will be…1.15 million gross square feet of office space and 82,500 gross square feet of retail space at Bulfinch Crossing.
Trades continue in Boston’s Class B sector with the sale of 99 Chauncy Street and 101 Summer Street to TIAA from Synergy Investments for $75 million.
A recent article on the BBJ’s website notes, “Synergy sold the historic assets for a combined $75 million to a unit of TIAA, a New York-based teachers’ union pension fund with $889 billion in assets under management, according to Suffolk County deeds. Synergy’s ownership partner in the properties was Indepencia PE, a Chile-based investment advisor. The $75 million sale price is four times the combined $18.7 million Synergy invested in 2010 and 2011 to acquire the properties.”
Additional details about the class B office building sales are available on the Boston Business Journal, here.
“70 Franklin’s timeless architecture combines with its flexible floor plates, open office layouts and modern building systems to create one of Boston’s premier Class B buildings. As a result, the asset boasts exceptional leasing momentum with tangible upside potential in Boston’s booming Downtown district,” said [Capital Markets Vice Chairman Edward] Maher.
Class B office space at 258-262 Washington St. and 85 Devonshire St. in Downtown Crossing could fetch in excess of $525 PSF. The Class B office market in the Financial District has seen strong rent growth over the last 36 months with prices ranging from the upper $30’s to the upper $40’s PSF.
The buildings together encompass about 92,000 square feet and span the stretch of Water Street between Washington and Devonshire streets near the State Street MBTA stop…Boston-based real estate investment and development firm KS Partners owns the property and has invested more than $5 million in the past three years to help rejuvenate it.
Marketing materials obtained by the Business Journal indicate that the the Washington and Devonshire property is “one of the last Downtown Class B repositioning opportunities” that is “an opportunity to capture momentum” for retail repositioning along Washington Street. The stretch of Washington Street fronts the Freedom Trail and is currently leased by a Subway and a Vitamin Shoppe.
Boston continues to grow and change, the result of which, is larger developments with big footprints. Change is at the forefront for some neighborhoods that are witnessing redevelopment on a grand scale.
Bromfield Street in Downtown Crossing is in the crosshairs of change, and it is possible that the two-block street might follow that of the 8-track player.
On Wednesday night, the Boston Redevelopment Authority will consider plans for this new curved, irregular tower at 1 Bromfield St. And that could portend huge changes for the little street once described as Boston’s “hobby street,” where there’s still just a little bit of the old Boston left.
The proposed building would be 700 feet tall — as tall as Millennium Tower — which is in the final stretches of its construction across the street at 1 Franklin St. The New York developer, Midwood, would have to get the height restriction in the neighborhood changed to build the project.
The Boston Skyline is expect to change by 2020 and here’s what it might look like. The interesting part of this is 3 of the top 10 are residential, where is years past the top 10 have always been office.
Curbed, Boston recently published a projected list of the 10 tallest buildings in 2020, including the following three: