0 Tech Companies Heading to Downtown Boston

downtown crossing offices

Credit: BBJ

Location, Location and Location.  The largest concentration of office space north of NYC is Boston’s Financial District and including in its size is easy access by commuter rail, T, Boat, bus and yes, car.

The tech audience seems most attracted to the proximity to the Red Line; with quick access to E. Cambridge and Kendall Square, and prices that are 10% – 20% less in comparable asset classes, the market’s appeal is strong.

According to the BBJ, “In the city’s post-recession economy, more than 2.1 million square feet of professional services, law firms and consultancies have vacated the traditional downtown neighborhood for a spiffier Innovation District address. But at the same time, some 1.8 million square feet of technology, advertising, media and information-based companies — also known as TAMI tenants — have flooded into downtown and the area around North Station.”

Additional information is available on the Boston Business Journal’s website, here.

Related Available Office Space
Boston financial District office space for lease

0 Franklin Street in Downtown Crossing is Closed to Vehicles for Year

Downtown Crossing office buildings

Credit: Boston Business Journal

The cost of construction means jobs and detours.  We all see the cranes in the air and the parade to cement mixers on our city streets, now we have one less street to drive on.  Franklin Street will be closed till July of 2016.

An article from the BBJ notes “Pedestrian access will remain open. The Boston Transportation Department suggests the following detour route: right on Hawley Street past 33 Arch St., left on Milk Street past the Old South Meeting House, right on Washington Street, left on Court Street past the Old State House and left on Tremont Street.

“The closure is necessary due to construction activity in the area as well as a roadway reconstruction project,” the city said.

0 November 9th: 142nd Anniversary of the Great Boston Fire

archive image of the great Boston fire in 1872

Credit: Wikipedia

The great Boston Fire started on November 9th in 1872 that started on the corner of Kingston and Summer Streets which is now the heart of Downtown Crossing (DTX).

The historic significance of the fire’s aftermath of the city’s commercial development is noted in The Daily Times:

On this day in 1872, a fire in Boston destroyed hundreds of buildings and kills 14 people. In the aftermath, the city established an entirely new system of firefighting and prevention. The fire also led to the creation of Boston’s financial district…The business community saw the burned area as an opportunity to expand its presence downtown. The city’s financial district was established where the fire had hit hardest and Boston soon became a key business center of the late 19th-century United States.

0 Downtown Crossing Building on Summer Street Bought by Synergy

Summer Street office building in downtown crossing

Credit: Boston Business Journal

As landlords assemble abutting parcels is there a master development plan or is it simply better economies of scale?  Downtown Crossing (DTX) is clearly getting a lot of attention from tenants and landlords.

A recent purchase in Downtown Crossing by Synergy is described by the BBJ:

“Synergy Investments and DivcoWest spent $48 million Friday on a building that gives Synergy control of a full block in a rapidly improving part of Downtown Crossing. DWF IV LLC bought 55-63 Summer St. and 65-69 Summer St. from Brickman 55 Summer LLC of New York City.”

0 Downtown Crossing Office Building at Filene’s Site Nears Opening

old filenes buikding in downtown crossing office space

Credit: Betaboston

Downtown Crossing gets ready to welcome the new occupants of the Filene’s building: ad agency Havas.

Betaboston posted a first-look photo gallery, along with some details on the building’s design selections and interior motif:

“The four floors are connected by wide staircases, and Havas calls the space a “village,” since it will house employees of Arnold, Havas Public Relations, Havas Media, which handles online and offline media buying for clients, and several other teams. About 600 Havas employees move in on Monday. No one has private offices, and the 64 conference rooms are all named after departments of the old Filene’s store.”

0 Downtown Crossing Poised for Another Triumph

Downtown Crossing in Boston

Credit: Bisnow

This is not the first period of growth or transformation for DTX, also known as Downtown Crossing.  In 1979, Washington Street was made into a pedestrian-only roadway following the success of Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  This resulted in a modest decline following the popularity of the vending cart program.

The fate of the neighborhood, now, seems set for a steep incline:

Bisnow states, “$210M Millennium Place mixed-use residential project that opened Q2 last year tested how housing would fare in the heart of this commercial neighborhood. All of its 256 condos sold by year-end priced from $550k to $3.5M. As one of the first Boston condo developments to be completed since the recession, it showed that buyers would put down stakes in the CBD, permanently changing the character of the historic neighborhood.”

A more detailed history on Downtown Crossing is available in the Bisnow article.

0 Downtown Crossing Transformation Nears Completion

construction in Boston's downtown crossing

Credit: NY Times

Live, work & play.  Downtown crossing is in the final phase of its transformation.  23 years ago I moved back to Boston from California and took the T to Park Street and walked to Milk Street daily.  At that time you could still buy a suit at Filene’s Basement.  Over those years we have seen retailers come and go and some shuttered buildings evolve to residential buildings.  Now, we are seeing the area become a destination location for office workers priced out of E. Cambridge, but wish to maintain Red Line access.  1,000 new housing units are coming online and the repurposing of the Daniel H. Burnham building into offices for Arnold Communications.

A national voice on Downtown Crossing, the NY Times, describes “some $4 billion in private investment over the last decade is finally stoking the long-neglected district with both a new attitude and fresh appeal. Developers are rapidly reinventing Downtown Crossing as an upscale residential neighborhood filled with stores, restaurants and cafes catering to students and young professionals.”

The NYT article is available online: New Energy Rouses Boston’s Downtown Crossing

0 Downtown Crossing Office Building May Become Boston Landmark

Downtown Crossing office space on Washington Street in Boston

Credit: Boston Business Journal

As I tour the Financial District with clients many ask about this building located and 276-278 Washington Street or 7 Water Street which is bordered by Washington, Water and Devonshire Street.  According to public record, the ownership is a Fidelity Company.

The Boston Business Journal reports that in order for the 9-story building at 276-278 Washington St. to become a historic landmark, “the process in Boston can take up to a year. The designation procedure is initiated by the submission of a petition, which is followed by a preliminary hearing before the commission, the preparation of a study report on the proposed landmark, and another public hearing. To be designated, a property must receive a two-thirds majority vote from the commission and be confirmed by the mayor and City Council. When a property is designated a landmark, any physical changes must be approved before they are undertaken.”

Additional details on the building are available in the full BBJ article, here.

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.

0 Why are they leaving Waltham for Boston and Cambridge?

Kendall Square commuters rely on the T to get to work in Cambridge, Ma

Credit: MIT

Why are the V.C. firms leaving Waltham for Boston?  Is it traffic and higher priced rents?  No, the customer is there.  Downtown Crossing (DTX) has evolved to being a hot bed of new technology companies that wanted a few simple items.  Rents; looking for an affordable option, DTX has Class B rents ranging from the mid to upper $20’s to the mid to upper $30’s PSF.  The swing in price is due the specific location, the build out of the space and the condition of the overall building.  In addition some buildings have a staffed lobby, while other operate on a key FOB system.

Location; emerging companies are competing for a hot commodity, talented staff.  Location becomes a huge factor what that young employee doesn’t own a car and relies on the T to get them around.  DTX is uniquely positioned at the Red, Green, Blue and Orange lines.

So, that is why the V.C. firms are moving back to the city to pay Class A rents that can start in the upper $40’s PSF and beyond?

The latest Venture firm to vacate Waltham for Boston or Cambridge? North Bridge Venture Partners.

From betaboston.com:

North Bridge Venture Partners, based in Waltham, is planning to move to Boston or Cambridge some time later this year, said general partner Michael Skok. “Our leanings are toward the Innovation District or Downtown, mostly based on entrepreneurs saying it,” Skok said.

The Betaboston.com article on North Bridge Venture Partners is available in full, here.