CBRE/NE Cliffnotes: 2013 Downtown Office Market

By Andy Hoar

In typical January fashion, the past month has been filled with 2013 retrospection, such as writing Market Outlooks, preparing for Market Overview Events, or writing CBA Nominations. Here is my cheat sheet of 13 things not to forget about 2013 (in no particular order).

Brown Brothers Harriman – 2013 rang in with BBH’s 410,000 square foot lease at the newly renovated 50 Post Office Square, foreshadowing the reemergence of activity in the CBD to come throughout the year.

The Van NessSamuels & Associates broke ground on the mixed-use project at 1325 Boylston Street, becoming the first developer of speculative office space since Joe Fallon completed ONE Marina Park Drive in 2010.

Millennium Madness – The momentum of Millennium Partners’ transformation of Downtown Crossing only grew during 2013. Luxury condo project Millennium Place opened in October, and was nearly 100% sold by year-end.

Arnold/Havas – Long-time Back Bay tenant Arnold Worldwide/Havas signed on in April as the anchor tenant for the Burnham Building, which kicked off Millennium Partners’ historic renovation of the building as well as the new construction of Millennium Tower.

ConverseConverse signed a 187,000 square foot build-to-suit rehabilitation at Lovejoy Wharf, planning to move their North Andover headquarters to North Station and initiating activity in the submarket.

PricewaterhouseCoopersPwC made a build-to-suit deal at Skanska’s 101 Seaport; the transaction illustrated the growing trend of tenants using workplace innovation to reduce real estate footprint even with increasing headcount.

Goodwin ProcterGoodwin Procter signed a build-to-suit lease at 100 Northern Avenue; this latest tower in the rapidly expanding Fan Pier development is scheduled to break ground this spring.

Twenty Two Liberty – Developer Joe Fallon broke ground on Fan Pier’s first residential project; the luxury condo units are scheduled for fall 2015 delivery.

Vertex – By the end of the year, Vertex Pharmaceuticals completed their two new office/lab towers at Fan Pier, began move-in and hung their logo for all of Boston to see.

Ink Block – Stirring up activity in the South End, National Development broke ground on the Ink Block, promising various residential units, lifestyle amenities, and a reemergence of the neighborhood.

The Block on Congress – On New Year’s Eve, Related Beal closed on the sale of Fidelity Investments’ “Block on Congress,” and announced plans to renovate the 343,000 square feet of office and retail space.

CoWorking – Downtown Boston was flooded with the influx of coworking firms, with no signs of slowing down in 2014. WeWork leased 150,000 square feet between 51 Melcher Street and 745 Atlantic Avenue, while Cambridge Innovation Center has committed to 60,000 square feet at 50 Milk Street.

New Mayor – As Mayor Menino planned his retirement, the real estate community speculated if his legacy of development would retire as well. Mayor Walsh rang in 2014 with the approval of the Landmark Center development, and of course attending CBRE/NE’s Boston Market Overview. We look forward to Mayor Walsh’s leadership in the continued transformation of Boston development.

Thanks to our clients, colleagues and friends for a record-breaking 2013, and here’s to an even better 2014.

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