“New Downtown” Will Bring New Technology Companies, Retailers, Restaurants & New Life to the City of Boston

by Web Collins, Executive Vice President/Partner of CBRE/NE’s Valuation & Advisory Group

Historically, the center of the City of Boston has not had a name. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Boston Redevelopment Authority (BRA) frequently used the term “Financial District.”

The Financial District traditionally was at the corner of State and Congress Sts., caused by the presence of such bank buildings as Merchants National Bank, The National Shawmut Bank and State Street Exchange. In one sharp, sudden move in the 1970s, the Financial District took a 90° turn and “marched” down Congress Street to the Fort Point Channel.

The BRA also used the term “Retail District,” referring to the corner of Washington and Summer Sts. Department stores, including Gilchrist Co., Filenes and Jordan Marsh Co., were the key properties anchoring three of the four corners. Other than North and South Station, there were no other anchor points in the city. The overall result was that come 6:00 pm in the evening, activity ceased on Boston’s streets and the center of the city “rolled up its sidewalks.”

Back on July 9, 2012, the Banker & Tradesman front-page article was titled: “Fading Into Obscurity: Neglected, Old Fashioned And Increasingly Dull, What Will Become Of Boston’s Financial District?”

The purpose of this article is to tell the story of what two short years to mid-2014 has created within the city, and to predict what will happen in the subsequent three years, bringing us into 2017.

To read the rest of the article covered by New England Real Estate Journal, click here.

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Trending: Migration Patterns to West Cambridge

by the CBRE/NE Cambridge Brokerage team

Given the strong activity in the West Cambridge market, it comes as no surprise that in the past three years there has been a migration of out-of-market tenants. This three-year trend is comprised of 38 tenants totaling 363,000 square feet of positive absorption. Though the West Cambridge market is small, with 2.7 million square feet of office and lab space, there have been over one million square feet of transactions throughout the course of this trend. In response, there has been a steady increase in average asking rents, which now average $32.48 per square foot. Close to half of all transactions in the past three years have been from migrating tenants. Of those tenants, 40% have come from neighboring East Cambridge and 30% have come from suburbs. The proximity to Boston and cost-effective rents have created an ideal location for users of all industries, but particularly so for those from the technology and life science sectors.

With overall leasing activity increasing 13% between 2012 and 2013 alone, West Cambridge continues to be one of the most valuable options for tenants in the market today.

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Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting Inspires

Photo courtesy of Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce

On Wednesday night, CBRE/New England sponsored and attended the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Annual Meeting. It was a wonderful night of networking and it was particularly incredible to welcome Team Hoyt into the Academy of Distinguished Bostonians. New York Times columnist and best-selling author Thomas Friedman gave an inspiring keynote speech and we wanted to share some of the big takeaways that rang true to our philosophy here at CBRE/NE.

Average is over. In today’s hyper-connected world, it is no longer good enough to do what you always did and think that you will continue to break new records and achievements. People and companies need to constantly invent/reinvent their unique value and contribution.

In order to stay ahead, you must:

  • “Think like an immigrant” – Operate with a strong sense of hunger and motivation as if everything could be taken away from you in an instant.
  • “Think like an artisan” – Have a custom-made focus and pour your heart and soul into your work everyday so that at the end of the day, you are proud enough to carve your initials and stamp on it.
  • “Always be in beta, because if you think you’re finished…you’re finished” – Approach your work with a constant strive to create, innovate and make things better. Once you think you’re finished…your competition with leave you in the dust.
  • “PQ plus CQ is always greater than IQ” – PQ (Persistence Quotient) plus CQ (Creative/Curiosity Quotient) will always trump IQ.
  • “Find your extra” – Be in a state of constant invention to find your unique value-add.


Were you at the event? If so, what were your biggest takeaways?

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Heading Home Housewarming Makes History

HeadingHomePhotoby Andy Hoar, President/Co-Managing Partner and Andrea Matteson, Vice President, Retail Leasing

CBRE/New England and CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors were proud to sponsor another outstanding Heading Home Housewarming Event this past Tuesday. Heading Home provides emergency, transitional and permanent housing, and support services to low-income homeless and formerly homeless families and individuals in Greater Boston communities. The annual Housewarming Event is the organization’s largest fundraiser and brings together local chefs, business leaders and philanthropists for an evening of food sampling, networking and raising awareness. This was another record-breaking year as the event raised over $935,000 to help Heading Home in its mission to end homelessness.

The night, hosted by Bryan Koop of Boston Properties and Regina Pisa of Goodwin Procter, was an amazing display of generosity from the Boston real estate community. From the 25 chefs who prepared the delicious food, to the donors who stepped up to raise record-breaking funds, to the dedicated Heading Home staff and committee leadership, it was great to see everyone come together for this fantastic organization. We truly raised the bar this year!

To learn more about Heading Home, visit headinghomeinc.org.

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