Boston is clearly seeing a tremendous amount of new construction from office to multi-family in all areas of the city. Once you dig deeper into the numbers you come to realize that the height of the vast majority of new projects doesn’t exceed 200 – 300 feet. The exceptions are 1 Dalton and Millennium Tower at 700 feet and 690 feet, respectively. Boston developers instead are building what the market wants at a price point the market can support. Some of the challenges with going about 300 feet requires an additional elevator core which increases the add on factor.
According to Banker and Tradesman, “almost all of Boston’s true office skyscrapers – 500 feet and up – were built in the 1980s and before. The Hancock and Prudential towers may be gems of the Boston skyline, but they are also the last of a dying breed and one we are unlikely to see again anytime soon…Since 2000, Boston has seen 52 new office, condo and apartment buildings take shape. The vast majority of them – 36 – are between 200 and 300 feet.”
When comparing to New York’s major projects under development, Boston comes up very short with Millennium Tower as its tallest, versus Nordstrom Tower, by more than double its size. Nordstrom Tower (when complete) is set to be crowned the World’s tallest, towering in at 1,775 Feet, while Millennium will top off at 685 feet.
The skyline of Boston’s downtown crossing have never seen so much change as we are witnessing now. This location simply makes sense for concentrated development due to direct access to the Red, Green, Orange and Blue lines combined with its walking distance to the core of the Financial District and Back Bay.
According to Curbed Boston, there are fewer areas of Boston seeing more large-scale development than relatively tiny Downtown Crossing. Spires such as the almost-done Millennium Tower and the proposed One Bromfield (and the nearby Winthrop Square Garage redevelopment) could finally pivot the neighborhood away from its 9-to-5 feel and toward a more 24-7, work-live environment.
The Curbed article also maps the five biggest developments impacting the available Downtown Crossing office space:
Jason Weissman, founder of Boston Realty Advisors, gives the Biznow audience his economic outlook for 2016:
Last year, four out of five deals were by companies in industries that previously were only minor players downtown: life science, pharma and healthcare. Millennials accounted for about 75% of Boston’s population growth, Jason says. Look for office vacancy rates in Boston and Cambridge to drop by 200 bsp and rents to rise. Since 2010 in the popular East Cambridge and Seaport office markets, asking rates have jumped nearly 65%, he tells us. In the severely supply constrained luxury condo sector, the only major projects are Millennium Tower, One Dalton, 50 Liberty and Pier 4 (for which BRA’s Advisors Living is the marketing consultant).
Rendering of Accordia Partners’ proposed tower. Credit: Boston Globe
The shuttered garage that falls between Devonshire and Federal Street in the core of Boston’s Financial District shines brightly as an opportunity for eight suitors to make their mark on the Boston Skyline. Tenants in recent quarters have flocked Downtown to take advantage of value rents and infrastructure driving office vacancy down to 10 percent.
The Boston Globe details the eight developers “have filed proposals for a skyscraper, several of which would be nearly as tall as the city’s largest, the Hancock Tower, on the site of a city-owned parking garage that is now closed. The competitors include a who’s who of local and national developers, a measure of how strong Boston’s real estate market has become…If approved, the Winthrop Square project would add another tower to the fast-changing Boston skyline. Already, five towers over 600 feet are proposed or are being built while other large complexes are under development downtown.”
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.
2013 was a big year for construction starts in the city of Boston. Will 2014 be the same as projected? Will construction commence above the Turnpike?
The Boston Business Journal posted a robust review of the top development projects in Boston over the course of the previous year. Among its findings:
One of the biggest events of the year saw construction crews returning to the former Filene’s site in Downtown Crossing…But Filene’s was not the only major development to see construction crews: Across town in Brighton, New Balance began work to convert a previously shuttered manufacturing plant into a new facility; in Westwood, a new team took over the stalled Westwood Station project and now promise to deliver on 2 million feet of mixed-use development along Route 128; in Chinatown, a section of the neighborhood that decades ago was taken to build the Southeast Expressway is now home to construction of a 21-story tower that will provide much needed affordable housing; and in the Seaport District, Skanska got underway with the first office for Seaport Square.
The complete article is available on the BBJ website, here.
What does $630M get you in Boston? A 1.4 million square foot development in the heart of Downtown Crossing. It will create new residences, office and retail opportunities.
Rebusinessonline is reporting that “Millennium Partners, a New York-based developer, has kicked off construction of its Millennium Tower and Burnham Building development in Boston’s Downtown Crossing neighborhood. Located at the site of the former Filene’s Department Store, the $630 million project consists of the 1912 Burnham Building and the 62-story, 450-unit mixed-use Millennium Tower.”
The chatter around the grocer for downtown Boston Heats up; seems like Roche Brothers is pushing for Millennium Tower and Wegmans is passing. The current growth of the Mid Town market seems to play very well for Roche Brothers. The migration of office tenants priced out or East Cambridge and the Seaport along with new residential units will add to the demand of the live/work individual looking stock up on milk and bread during the next Nor’easter.
The Boston Herald reported that “Roche Bros. chain of suburban supermarkets is hammering out plans for its first urban market at Millennium Partners’ $630 million Millennium Tower project, which includes redevelopment of the adjacent Filene’s building.”
For more information on the planned supermarket location at Millennium towers, jump over to the full article on the Boston Herald’s website.