Credit: Business Insider
The suburban office parks as we know it might become a thing of the past like the VCR and home answering machine.
As more corporations flock to cities, they are vacating these office parks, many of which were built in the 1980s…But some of these parks are not staying empty. An increasing number of developers are converting them into housing, according to a recent Washington Post report.
A 2016 report by NGKF looked at office parks in five suburbs, and found that between 14% and 22% were “in some stage of obsolescence” (i.e. high vacancy rates, too much or not enough parking, the space needs substantial renovations). That suggests that up to 1 billion square feet of office space — or 7.5% of the country’s entire office inventory — is becoming obsolete for the people who work there.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh is pushing for the Winthrop Square Tower and is offering tighter restrictions on future tower developments as a concession.
Mayor Marty Walsh’s proposal would bar future developments (except Millennium’s) from casting a shadow over the Common, Public Garden and Back Bay’s Copley Square. The plan would also call for new zoning in the Financial District and Downtown Crossing. The shadow change also needs state approval by Gov. Charlie Baker and the state legislature due to the changes it would bring to the Massachusetts’ 1990 shadow law.
From flight paths to shadows, Winthrop Square continues to make headlines as the newest proposed tower in the Boston Financial District. Some speculate that the tower height will be reduced by 4 – 6 stories to lessen the impact.
Credit: Boston Globe
According to the Boston Globe, “A tower that tall, a Massport official wrote, would interfere with operations at Logan, blocking a popular takeoff corridor and probably leading to more noisy air traffic over Boston’s northern and western suburbs. Massport would object to anything taller than 710 feet on the site, which sits about two miles west of the airport.” The globe article continued, noting “cutting the tower by 65 feet would lop four or five stories off the 60-story tower, probably not a deal-killer for a project estimated to cost $1 billion. But that could reduce the city’s payday. Under Millennium’s deal with the BPDA, $50.8 million of the $152.8 million purchase price is tied to the sale of condos in the tower.”
For more information, jump over to read the full Globe article.
Credit: Boston Herald
Should the shadows make way for the Winthrop Square tower, or should the law enacted in 1990 and 1992 hold the line? This will have a direct impact on the Boston Common and Boston Public Garden.
From the Boston Herald:
Laws enacted in 1990 and 1992 dictate new buildings in that area only can cast shadows over the parks during the first hour after sunrise or before 7 a.m. — whichever is later — or the last hour before sunset.
The tower is expected to cast new morning shadows for as long as 90 minutes on the Common and 29 minutes on the Public Garden. No shadow would be cast past 9:25 a.m. on the Common and 8 a.m. on the Public Garden.
“Based on this data, we believe the project’s many benefits more than compensate for the shadow cast over the Common and the Public Garden,” Millennium partner Joe Larkin said. “We continue to welcome dialogue with all concerned parties and remain confident that a mutually agreeable resolution of this issue will be achieved.”
Millennium Partners wins the prize for the impending Winthrop Square development. The proposed tower would stand 750-feet, adding office, residential and retail space in downtown Boston.
According to the Boston Business Journal, “the New York-based development firm proposed a 750-foot, $1.02 billion ‘hybrid high-rise’ tower, with 14 stories of office space and 36 levels of residential sitting atop a 65-foot high podium space known as The Great Hall. It would also include a 14,620-square-foot startup accelerator to be developed in partnership with the city.”
You can read the full article on the BBJ, here.
Credit: Boston Herald
Winthrop Square site moves $50M to $150M closer to having a new owner. The devil is in the details, but the blighted garage has to go.
According to the Boston Herald, “the six teams vying to redevelop Boston’s Winthrop Square garage site have made offers to buy the property that are as varied as their development proposals for the city-owned Financial District parcel, which could land one of the city’s tallest towers at 750 feet…Offers ranged from $50 million by Boston’s Accordia Partners to $150.8 million by New York’s Millennium Partners…The city will choose between selling the approximately 1-acre site or signing a long-term ground lease with the chosen developer. If it opts for a lease, the offers would be a starting point for negotiations, according to the Boston Redevelopment Authority.”
The full Herald article is available on its website: BostonHerald.com
Credit: Boston Globe
The shuttered city garage on Federal Street was on center stage at the Great Hall at Faneuil Hall, so to speak. What is in store for our future?
From the Boston Globe:
Six teams of developers and architects, eager in their suits, stood by posterboard presentations and 3-D models and explained the tall towers they’d very much like to build on the site of the Winthrop Square Garage in downtown Boston…Looking at the presentations, one could be forgiven for forgetting that these developers are vying to build one of the tallest buildings in Boston. Sure, everyone had a scale model of their full tower, but most focused their energies on the space where the building meets the street, and on the soaring public halls, pocket parks, and black-box theaters they’re promising to enliven it. After all, that’s where most Bostonians would experience these buildings most of the time.
The BRA says it wants to name a developer soon, but expect it to be months, not weeks, before that happens. The authority hasn’t yet opened financial documents attached to the proposals, which detail offers to purchase or lease the site and each team’s wherewithal to build the thing. After that’s done, BRA real estate chief Ed O’Donnell said, the authority is likely to winnow the pack down to a few finalists and invite them in for another round of interviews. While O’Donnell insists he’d like to name a developer while the real estate market is still hot, reading between the lines that sounds more like it will happen in August or September than in July.
Credit: Banker and Tradesman
The Winthrop tower development site can take a couple of different paths, mixed use or all residential.
From Banker & Tradesman:
The two largest development proposals for Boston’s Winthrop Square have starkly different visions for an overlooked corner of the Financial District. Both developers Steve Belkin and Thomas O’Brien propose 725-foot-tall towers with a substantial allotment of luxury condominiums, reflecting the current market’s hottest category. But their approaches diverge in satisfying the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s requirements for an innovative economic development strategy and new downtown public spaces.
Six developers submitted mixed-use proposals for the 1-acre municipal garage site at 115 Federal St. The BRA will hear presentations from them in coming weeks with a goal of designating a developer by the end of June. That would set the stage for a review under the BRA’s Article 80 process for large developments later this year.
Related Property Listings
Current Winthrop Square Office Space for Lease
Credit: Curbed Boston
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:
- 200 Clarendon
- Winthrop Square Tower
- Prudential Center Tower
You can find the full list on Curbed Boston
Is Boston office space getting too expensive with vacancy rates just above 8 percent? Class A Boston assets are trading nearly double pre-recession levels while suburban comparable assets are still trading 23 percent below the pre-recession levels.
According to a post from Banker&Tradesman, “with fewer Boston trophy properties in play this year, investors may bid up demand in top-tier suburban markets…Properties in suburban core markets such as Route 128, Route 9 and Watertown are selling for just 21 percent above the 2006-2007 peak. Properties in all other Boston suburban markets are selling for 23 percent below the peak.”
Additional details are available on Banker and Tradesman.