What does it take to build a neighborhood in Boston? The creation of the Seaport is just that: in just over a decade we have gone from dirt lots, through planning, to a famed destination location that supports life, work & play.
Urbanland recounts a number of key milestones that propelled the development of the contemporary Boston Seaport:
With the completion of the Big Dig, it became clear that there was “an opportunity to develop a new city” in the Seaport, recounts Charles Leatherbee, director of development for Skanska USA, which has constructed multiple office and residential projects there since, including a 225,000-square-foot (21,000 sq m) office project in the marine park that broke ground in June. Observes Leatherbee, “Make no mistake, the Seaport has access to the single greatest resource the city has—the harbor—and they’ve been able to develop something quite cool, in my view.”
An advisory group of stakeholders – ranging from walking and bicycling advocates to preservationists and Seaport businesses – has discussed a public-private partnership as a funding source, said member Greg Galer, executive director of the Boston Preservation Alliance…The group has been meeting since December and will submit a recommendation to Walsh as soon as next month.
“There’s benefits to the development community from this bridge,” Galer said. “You see all of the complaints from their employees who work over the bridge, and the neighborhood constituents such as the Barking Crab (restaurant) and Hook Lobster properties.”
The Seaport continues to show the market that it’s going to remain a dominate force in the Boston office market. Rents are up, vacancy is down and demand is strong. The challenge is the only new construction is Class A, so if you are seeking updated brick-and-bean, wait in line or be prepared to pay for it.
Indicative of the Seaport neighborhood’s appeal, BostonSF.com reports HFF recently closed a “$105.625 million sale of 3-building office portfolio Boston’s Seaport District…HFF announced that it has closed sale of three best-in-class, creative office assets totaling 221,064 square feet and 35 parking spaces.”
You can read more about the significant, three-building office space sale in the Seaport on Bostonsf.com.
The Seaport just got harder to get to and from. Not only are there fewer parking spaces, now there is one less pedestrian walkway from the Financial District to the Seaport. The ultimate plan is to reopen the bridge to cars and pedestrian traffic, but no date has been given.
Credit: Boston Herald
A Boston Herald report states “structural conditions and “deterioration beyond repair” prompted the city to close the Old Northern Avenue bridge that serves as a pedestrian link between South Boston’s Seaport District and the Financial District…analysis of the 106-year-old truss bridge’s load capacity by TranSystems, a transportation consultant hired by the city, found 13 floor beams with a “zero-ton rating” in the part of the bridge that was open to pedestrians crossing the Fort Point Channel.”
For $513.49 PSF Synergy Investments has sold 51 Melcher Street to Zurich North America. The building went through a complete renovation and was delivered fully leased to WeWork, Life is Good, and NetSuite.
According to Banker & Tradesman, “Synergy spent millions of dollars repositioning the building in the market, including base building renovations, a new main entrance and lobby, HVAC systems, new and restored windows and new roof, restrooms, plumbing, electrical service and elevators.”
Pricing with the Seaport Class B Market now is running in the upper $30’s to low $40’s PSF.
321 Summer St. in Boston (click to view additional property details)
More trades in the Seaport’s red hot office Market. The Seaport Class B office lease rates are hovering just around $40 PSF in the first year.
Drawing national coverage, the Wall Street Journal reported on the recent Seaport transactions of 281 Summer Street and 321 Summer Street in Boston, MA. The Journal notes, “the two building portfolio is in Boston’s Seaport District and totals 243,000 square feet of office and retail space. Newly renovated, the properties are well-located in the heart of Boston’s Fort Port Channel neighborhood.”
The WSJ article on the Boston Seaport is available, here.
You can view additional details on both of the Summer Street buildings on our property listing pages:
Boston continues to expand into the Seaport. The once-famed $7-per-day-dirt parking lots have been replaced with corporate office space for the biotech industry, law firms, financial services and newly funded technology companies. Did this happen overnight? Well, no. The Ted Williams Tunnel to the airport, and onramp to Mass Turnpike East and West fostered accessibility and spurred new opportunity. That level of infrastructure was the catalyst of for our current development cycle, combined with demand for residential and office development.
The Boston Globe states:
“The new face of Boston’s Seaport is the old face of the city’s downtown. The lawyers and accountants who are financing the waterfront construction boom are abandoning Boston’s historic commercial center for something newer and more exciting. This exodus is opening up cheaper commercial space for creative firms and tech companies…Boston’s downtown and its waterfront are slowly swapping identities.”
Mobility seems to be the cornerstone for the general population. Be it a smart phone or a tablet, we are on the phone and don’t wish to be tethered. The same is true for office space; CEO’s today are looking for flexibility with a collaborative environment, not a long-term lease. Desk and office rental is the solution. Pay for exactly what you need, when you need it.
The wait is over. Boston businesses now have a new, dedicated outlet for desk rentals and office space: WeWork. According to the Boston Herald, “what separates WeWork from other “co-working spaces” is the sense of community they build…there is a sports lounge in the basement of WeWork Seaport in Fort Point, complete with arcade games, a pool table and kegs. Members also get access to WeWork companies across the country for possible partnerships.”
Connecting North Station to South Station would be great, but better would be Back Bay to the Seaport. Boston is on track to continue to invest in infrastructure that better our places to work and live. The use of track 61 will be a welcome addition to those that travelers to and from the Seaport/Innovation District.
The Boston Globe is reporting that “the state, with no fanfare, has set aside tens of millions of dollars to launch an innovative train service on a dormant rail line between a pair of the city’s most vital neighborhoods: the Seaport District and the Back Bay…The service should be ready to go in just two years.”