Route 128 Business Council: Redefining Your Suburban Commute

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by Lenny Pierce, Research Analyst

While Massachusetts has welcomed the recent surge of job creation along Route 128, there is a meaningful downside to this activity that is already being felt by anybody who commutes to and from the region–traffic congestion. The Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)’s 2011 “Route 128 Central Corridor Plan” estimated that over the next 20 years, population within the corridor will increase by 13,500 and that employment will grow by over 8,600 jobs, generating between 100,000 and 200,000 daily auto trips in the region. The existing congestion, along with forecasts of exacerbation such as those by MAPC, have spurred some groups, such as Biogen Idec and Boston Scientific, to start running their own private shuttles to and from their suburban offices. Fortunately, for many Route 128 commuters whose employers do not provide their own personalized shuttle, there is the 128 Business Council, an independent shuttle service partnered with either specific businesses or business parks to connect major commercial centers to residential areas for a small fee ($3-5 each way for non-members depending on the shuttle, about half of as much for members), often incorporating existing public transit hubs in the process. We caught up with Monica G. Tibbits-Nutt, Executive Director of 128 Business Council, to discuss what she feels sets the organization apart in the world of suburban commuting.

What advantages does a service like yours have over a public service like the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (RTA) bus system, or the commuter rail for that matter?

Because we are a private organization we have the ability to quickly adapt our services to meet the ever-changing needs of businesses in our service area. RTAs and the commuter rail are public entities that must deal with bureaucracy anytime they wish to adapt their routes or schedules. 128 Business Council regularly alters our schedules and routes to add new members or better serve existing members.

We also have the ability to keep our costs low because we can bid our services out to a wide range of vendors. Additionally, we can customize our vehicles to meet the demands of our members and passengers. If a member company came to us and asked for leather seats and flat screen TVs on their shuttle we could quickly deliver those amenities as long as the company was willing to cover the additional expense.

128 Business Council also offers WiFi and GPS tracking as standard amenities on all our shuttles. These amenities set us apart from the MBTA and allow our passengers to be productive while aboard the shuttle.

A handful of your lines run to business parks in suburban Boston (Hobbs Brook, Reservoir Place, Bay Colony). Do you have an idea of what percentage of your ridership gets dropped off at business parks vs stand alone buildings such as 35 Gatehouse Drive in Waltham?

All of our shuttles serve suburban office parks as well as corporate members. On the Waltham Center and Needham Shuttles ridership is 50% corporate and 50% developer. On the REV Bus (Hartwell Area Shuttle), shuttle ridership is 100% developer. On the Alewife Shuttle ridership is 60% developer and 40% corporate.

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128 Business Council’s REV Bus, which services the Lexington area including many properties along Hartwell Avenue.

 

128 Business Council services people commuting both from the suburbs to the city (Example: Windsor Village>Alewife Shuttle) and from the city to the suburbs (Example: Alewife>Wyman Street). Are you seeing a shift in demand for one direction over the other?

The demand has always been from the city to the suburbs (the “reverse commute”.) We make our shuttles more effective, fill seats and reduce costs by serving riders going from the suburbs to the city on what would otherwise be “deadhead” runs. (No passengers on the return trip from Waltham to Alewife in the morning for example).

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The morning schedule for Alewife Shuttle Route B. This particular route starts its return trips with a 4:15pm departure from Bay Colony Corporate Center and ends with a 7:30pm departure from Cadmus and Yottaa headquarters at 100 Fifth Ave in Waltham.

 

Who are some of your competitors in this space?

Our primary competitors are privately held transportation companies that offer private commuter shuttles to individual businesses. We do not face any competition from other organizations trying to copy our business model of bringing together multiple businesses to share the cost of operating shuttles to serve multiple buildings.

What makes our organization stand out from transportation companies is that as a Transportation Management Organization we offer our members much more than just shuttle service. 128 Business Council offers a full menu of Transportation Demand Management programs ranging from emergency ride home and carpool matching programs, to commuter surveys, to on-site commuter outreach events. We have staff that regularly visits our member companies to promote the commuter programs we offer and provide assistance to commuters interested in finding new ways of commuting to work.

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Stops along the Alewife Shuttle Route A in Lexington and Waltham.

 

Do you think that shuttle service like yours has helped make suburban tenants more competitive in attracting the millennial talent that wants to live in the city and doesn’t want to drive to work?

Yes, absolutely. The demographics of our shuttle riders bear this out. From a recent survey of our riders we know that they are primarily under 30 and live in Boston (particularly Allston/Brighton), Somerville, and Cambridge. 30% have a master’s degree and 90% have at least a bachelor’s degree. 70% rent their house/apartment and 40% do not own a car. For this 40% who do not own a car, our shuttle is their only realistic way of getting to many of these suburban employment locations. This is a talent pool that could certainly find employment in the city, but choose to work for a suburban employer. The convenience of the shuttle allows them to get to their suburban workplace without having to drive. Our survey data shows that overwhelmingly our riders would rather take a shuttle then drive alone through traffic.

According to Tibbits-Nutt, commuters took 180,000 trips (a trip is one ride) on 128 Business Council’s 9 shuttles in 2014 and they estimate that about 700 people use the shuttles. That is 700 people who would likely be driving to work alone if not for the service. “We have seen a shift in how employers view our shuttles” says Tibbits-Nutt. “For many years our shuttles were viewed as a commuting alternative that employees could use to get to the suburbs. We now have companies viewing these shuttles first as a recruiting tool to market their company and second as a means of transportation.” With employers able to use shuttles like 128 Business Council as a recruiting tool, job creation along 128 could surge even further, and without a corresponding surge in traffic issues.

TibbitsNutt_HeadshotMonica G. Tibbits-Nutt, AICP, LEED AP BD+C is the Executive Director of the 128 Business Council. Working in regional planning and transportation, Monica’s areas of specialty are transportation planning, urban design, and sustainability. Her work experience includes public sector transit planning at both the MBTA Advisory Board and as Executive Director of TransitWorks. In addition, Monica has worked in regional planning and development for the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission (MORPC), the City of Columbus Planning and Development office, and the Greater Linden Development Corporation. She received a Masters of City and Regional Planning from the Ohio State University in Columbus and a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and Sociology from the University of Southern Indiana.

An active member of the research community, Monica has been a featured speaker at Next Stop: A National Summit on the Future of Transit, the New England Sociological Association Conference, the Association for Commuter Transportation International Conference, and the Research, Innovation, Scholarship, and Creativity Symposium. In both her work and research, she is most interested in developing regional strategies that integrate sustainable practices into transportation. Toward this goal, Monica’s current work seeks to improve and promote sustainable transportation practices throughout the suburban and metropolitan region.

She is a gubernatorial appointee to the Board of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) serving on the Executive Committee and Legislative Committee. She is also the Vice-Chair of the Regional Transportation Advisory Council (RTAC). She is an active member of the American Institute of Certified Planners and a LEED Accredited Professional in Building Design & Construction with the U.S. Green Building Council.

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Massachusetts Tops the Milken Technology and Science Index for the Sixth Straight Year

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by Lenny Pierce, Research Analyst

The state of Massachusetts has long been considered a premiere global destination for science and technology groups with its ever-present string of top technology companies along the Route 128 corridor and a constantly condensing life science cluster in Kendall Square. The ability of the state to consistently attract and produce some of the most competitive entities in science and technology is a constant reminder of why the state is often considered among the most powerful ecosystems for these industries in the nation. A recent indicator of Massachusetts’ strength in this realm is Milken Institute’s 2014 State Technology and Science Index, in which the state has finished first for the sixth consecutive year. The biennial report ranks U.S. states by their strength in five categories the organization feels most directly contribute to wide scale economic success in the science and technology fields in the U.S. These categories are Human CapitalR&D InputsRisk CapitalWorkforce and Tech Concentration. The State of Massachusetts placed first in four of these five categories, affording it the first place overall in the study. Below are descriptions of each of the study’s categories that The Commonwealth performed so well in:

MASS ranked icon_HUMANCAP-01Milken’s “Human Capital Investment Composite Index” category assesses the intellectual integrity of a given state’s populace, both in terms of peoples’ average academic achievement and how much public funding is directed toward education. Academic achievement metrics used in this category include the Recent Bachelor’s Degrees in Science and Engineering per 1,000 Civilian Workers, Recent Master’s Degrees in Science and Engineering per 1,000 Civilian Workers and Recent PhD Degrees in Science and Engineering per 1,000 Civilian Workers. This category’s metrics addressing educational funding included Percent Change in Appropriations for Higher Education – in which Massachusetts jumped from 47th in 2010 to 4th in 2012 – and State spending on student aid per capita. 2014 marks the second year that Massachusetts has been #1 in the Human Capital category. The state was bested only by Maryland in 2010 and 2008.

MASS ranked icons_R&D-02The “Research and Development Inputs Composite Index” examines the degree to which each state’s R&D facilities have the power to draw funding and generate innovation that can then be commercialized and spur economic growth. Metrics that comprised this section included R&D Expenditures on Biomedical Sciences, R&D Expenditures on Engineering and R&D Expenditures on Math & Computer Sciences. They also included National Science Foundation Proposal Funding Rate which a fellow New England region, Rhode Island, has also consistently fared well in. Though Massachusetts has placed first in this category since 2008, Maryland has been right behind it every year. Colorado and California have also been the in the top 5 in this category since 2008.

MASS ranked icons_RISKCAP-03The “Risk Capital and Entrepreneurial Infrastructure Composite Index” evaluates each state’s capability for turning research efforts into economically viable goods and services. Some of the metrics for this evaluation track increases in VC funding over time such as Increase in Number of Companies Receiving VC Investment and Total Venture Capital Investment Growth. The section also includes Number of Business Incubators per 10,000 Business Establishments – something Massachusetts has plenty of with organizations like MIT Global Startup LabGreentown Labs and MassChallenge.

MASS ranked icons_WORKFORCE-04The “Technology and Science Workforce Composite Index” measures the relative size of the high-tech talent base in a state. Metrics included in this index were Intensity of Biomedical Engineers per 100,000 Civilian Workers and Intensity of Computer Programmers per 100,000 Civilian Workers. The state’s consistently strong position in this index is likely due in part to its status as a hotbed for the life science industry. The Technology and Science Workforce Composite Index was another area where Maryland has been competitive with Massachusetts, finishing second behind The Commonwealth in 2014, 2012 and 2010.

The only category where Massachusetts did not place 1st was the Tech Concentration and Dynamism Composite Index, where the state placed 4th, bested by Utah, Washington, and Maryland. Some metrics which comprised this section included Percent of Establishments in High-Tech NAICS Codes, meaning our slightly lower place in category may have more to do with our overall industrial diversity than anything else. Despite not placing 1st, Massachusetts has climbed within the category, finishing in 7th place in 2008 and 2010 and 6th in 2012. Overall, however, Milken’s rankings have once again exhibited the strength of Massachusetts in science and technology industries, bolstering the notion of the state as the premier destination for businesses in these fields.

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CBRE GreenWays: Getting the Most Out of Your Space the Sustainable Way

GreenWaysLogoby: John Dobroski, Sr. Communications Specialist

Leading up to Earth Day, messaging in the news and on social media has reminded us to think more about the environment and how our individual actions affect the planet. Corporations are no different, with both Apple and Rockwell Automations releasing corporate reports on sustainability this week.

To find out more about how a global commercial real estate firm assists companies achieve sustainability goals, we interviewed Laci Wilkes,  Director–CBRE Global Energy & Sustainability, whose team created the GreenWays platform.

What is GreenWays and where did the idea for the program originate?  

GreenWays is CBRE’s branded sustainability consulting package. It encompasses a menu of options intended to be flexible and focused on what the client’s priorities are. The idea grew from a couple of clients who didn’t meet the LEED Minimum Program Requirements, which eliminated their projects from pursuing LEED Certification. They were still committed to building a sustainable, energy efficient space, so we identified key metrics that were important to their individual companies and tracked those. At the end of their projects they had data to support their Corporate Social Responsibility program and sustainability commitments. 

What are the benefits of a sustainability program to a building’s owner? Do these benefits differ by building size or type (office, retail, industrial)?  

There are two main benefits for an owner: reduced operating expenses and higher rent. By incorporating a sustainability program with energy and water efficiency targets, the building owner can save money on expenses. Building on that, the owner can pass those operating savings on to their tenants and potentially ask a higher rental rate. CBRE has researched this over the past four years and found that buildings that have sustainable features are more desirable to tenants. The specific benefits, such as percent saved, will vary based on use of building, but in general, the benefits are the same across the board. 

What about benefits to the tenant? Can a sustainability program be useful in attracting top level talent? 

Yes! Most Fortune 500 companies have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) commitments that include environmental or sustainability performance. Those tenants need to be in buildings that will support their efforts. 

Are there tenant types that express interest in sustainability programs more often than others? 

The larger companies are definitely looking for sustainability programs that will support their CSR objectives, however, those specific objectives do vary from industry to industry. A professional services firm may focus more on what I like to call the “softer side of sustainability” which could include amenities that support their wellness programs, waste reduction targets, or  overall environmental impact with green cleaning programs or similar initiatives. A retail or manufacturing or warehouse type tenant may focus more on the cost savings of energy and water use reduction. 

What are some challenges with sustainability programs in older buildings or even historic buildings? 

With any existing building, the biggest challenge is that there’s only so much that can be done with existing infrastructure. Tweaking the schedule of operations, making minor modifications, retro-commissioning and educating tenants on how to more efficiently operate their own spaces will have a big impact. At some point, there may be a need to consider a capital investment to see further benefits. Finding the right balance of cost vs. return on investment is key. Checking out local or federal incentives and also the work plan or scheduling of the work reduce the cost impact. With historic buildings there is a similar process, just with the added complexity of making sure that the integrity of the building is maintained with any modifications. 

How does your team operate within CBRE? Is the team regionally focused, national, or global? 

Our team is part of CBRE’s Global Energy & Sustainability group. We work with all CBRE services lines as well as outside clients with no other CBRE connection. Clients can use CBRE’s GreenWays program regardless of engagement with Project Management, Facility Management, etc. We have team members across the U.S., Europe & Asia! 

Do any assignments involve only GreenWays without any inclusion of a traditional project management team? 

Yes. In some cases, the chosen GreenWays path doesn’t involve an actual construction project. We’ve helped a couple of clients develop sustainable design and construction guidelines or sustainable real estate policies to roll out to their portfolios. 

What are a few GreenWays success stories that you are particularly proud of? 

I’ll always be proud of our very first project that went through the program. It was small 5,000-SF data center expansion for a financial services firm. They have strict CSR metrics they have to report for all of their construction projects. Through the GreenWays program we were able to streamline the tracking process for them, taking a load of their internal resources, and providing them with the data and backup to show their waste and energy reduction for this project. 

Another project that has turned out to be a big success for our client was the creation of sustainable design and construction guidelines and real estate policy. This client has multiple property types that they lease–from medical to warehouse to office. They initially approached us to help develop a guideline for their office construction projects, but we both quickly realized that they needed a more comprehensive overarching strategy. What we put together for them is detailed enough to provide specific data but flexible enough to apply to all their property types. The deliverables included the policy, specification guidelines and roles/responsibilities that got incorporated into their PJM Playbook.  

Does GreenWays work with any other sustainability programs? If so, which ones and in what capacity?

GreenWays is intended to be flexible and was initially created as a way to track sustainability project metrics if the project didn’t qualify for LEED. However, with the emergence and growing popularity of other green building rating systems like Living Building Challenge (LBC) and Well Certification, GreenWays could be a supplement to a project pursuing those. Well Certification doesn’t track water or energy efficiency, so that’s something GreenWays could cover. LBC has what they call a Petal Certification, which is essentially a partial certification under their program. Depending on the petals chosen to pursue, GreenWays could also supplement LBC. 

What do you see in the future for sustainability practices in commercial spaces (office, retail, industrial)? 

Smart building technology is growing at a rapid pace in every property type. Having a system in place that allows a facility manager to see potential problems before they become major issues is a huge time and cost saver. We advise our clients when building new facilities or conducting upgrades to existing buildings to install a building management system that will help them more efficiently manage the building. CBRE recently acquired ESI, which enhances our smart building system expertise and integration capabilities. 

Wilkes,Laci-lores copyAbout Laci Wilkes:

Serving as Director, CBRE Global Energy & Sustainability, Laci Wilkes works with project managers and clients globally on the delivery of Sustainability Consulting Services.  Combining industry best practices, her experience as a LEED Consultant and CBRE Platform processes and deliverables, her collaboration with other CBRE service lines ensures cohesive service delivery customized to the needs of each client.  When acting as a LEED Consultant, Laci works with clients directly and engages with their project teams to develop a scope of work that will meet the client’s goals for Sustainability, and then manages the entire certification process to confirm that those goals are met by all consultants involved.

CBRE/New England’s Property Management group is on the forefront of sustainability, assisting One Beacon Street in earning the first LEED certification for Existing Buildings in all of CBRE, and assisting One Boston Place  in being the first building in the world to earn a Gold level of certification through the USGBC’s LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED EB O&M) rating system. Contact Shay Sims for more information.

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Mark Your Calendar: TUGG’s 9th Annual Tech Charity Wine and Tequila Party

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by Lenny Pierce, Research Analyst

On Thursday, April 16th, the organization Technology Underwriting Greater Good (TUGG) will be hosting their 9th annual Tech Charity Wine and Tequila Party at Landmark Center at 401 Park Drive in Boston. TUGG is a group dedicated to nurturing social entrepreneurship in New England and Thursday evening’s party is specifically geared towards raising $400K+ to support six local non-profits–that and imbibing in high-end wine and tequila.

While last year’s event drew 1,500 tech community members out to celebrate, the goal this year is for 2,000 guests to attend. Throughout the evening guests will be visited by representatives from each group in their attempts to gain votes for the top spot in one of two categories–”new” and “returning”. The winner of each category will receive $50,000, while the remaining four groups will receive $10,000 each.

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Landmark Center Source: Wikipedia

Fenway is an intuitive choice for the event since the area is being viewed as fertile ground for the next generation of start ups–especially as space for this type of group becomes scarcer and scarcer in Cambridge and the Seaport. Developers hoping to provide office space for these incoming tenants are designing projects in the area with the live-work-play dynamic so highly valued by the modern technology worker. Examples of ongoing developments in the area include The Van Ness and Fenway Center projects, which are a combined total of over 400,000 sq. ft. of office space, as well as Landmark Center itself, which is undergoing a massive redevelopment that will eventually see 622,000 sq. ft. of office space. In addition to the office and residential portions of Fenway projects, significant retail components will mean ever-strengthening, ever-hip night life in the region. Aside from these more recent developments, the most established medical cluster in the world, Longwood Medical Area, has a natural gravitational pull for those tech workers operating in the medical industry.

The three non-profits new to the competition are A Bed for Every Child, a group which provides brand new beds for low-income and homeless children, Press Pass TV, who provide training, programming and employment opportunities to disadvantaged young people in the video production field and Sitters Without Borders, a volunteer baby-sitting service for low-come communities. The returning nonprofits are Catie’s Closet, which provides clothing and basic necessities to underprivileged children, Future Chefs, a culinary education and early employment program for urban teens and Resilient Coders, a group focused on making web technology more available to urban  youth who might not otherwise be exposed to it.

TuggThe Host Committee for this year’s party include tech all-stars such as Lars Albright (SessionM), Mike Baker (DataXu), Matthew Bellows (Yesware), Wayne Chang (Twitter), Peter Dolan (Makena Capital Management), Liam Donohue (.406 Ventures), Brent Grinna (EverTrue), Diane Hessan (Startup Institute), Janet Kraus (Peach), Adam Marcus (OpenView Venture Partners), Freddie Martignetti (Suffolk Equity), Patrick Morley (Bit9), Jules Pieri (The Grommet), Dan Primack (Fortune), Jason Robins (DraftKings), Scott Savitz (Data Point Capital), Fred Shilmover (InsightSquared) and Adam Valkin (General Catalyst)

To provide transit to and from the event, Bridj plans to run pop-up services from neighborhoods such as Back Bay, Kendall Square, Downtown and the Seaport. Fares are $0.50 but you can also use the promo code “tugg” to ride for free.

You can sign up for the event here and direct any questions to events@tugg.org.

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Boston and Hartford Well Represented in CBRE Research’s 2015 “Scoring Tech Talent”

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by Lenny Pierce, Research Analyst

Despite making up only 3.4% of the total US workforce, the technology industry has shown rapid growth in recent years and has played a critical role in the recovery of the US economy by fueling innovation across nearly every other industry in that remaining 96.6%. To assess which markets throughout the US are the strongest in terms of their Tech Talent, CBRE Research has assembled a 2015 “Scoring Tech Talent” report. This comprehensive study applies a diverse set of metrics such as Size of Tech Talent Labor Pool and Tech Talent Growth Rate to determine where the technology industry is most vibrant today, and where we can it expect to be so tomorrow.

Tech Talent In Text2CBRE’s definition of “tech talent” is comprised of 20 different occupations including software developers and programmers, hardware engineers and information systems managers. Though the largest percentage of this tech talent works in the “core high tech” industry (36.5%), the remaining percentage works in other industries that simply rely on tech, such as government (6.5% of tech talent jobs), business management (5.7% of tech talent jobs) and education (5% of tech talent jobs).

The 50 biggest markets in the U.S. (in terms of the number of tech professionals) were Tech Talent2assessed to create a Tech Talent Scorecard that gauges both their competitive advantages and their comparative ability to grow their tech talent pools. The scorecard is based on 13 different metrics with varying degrees of weight. For example, the cost of employing the actual tech labor force in a given city was weighted more heavily than the cost of office space in said city, since more funding is typically reserved for the latter than the former for tech groups. New England cities were well represented on the scorecard with Boston placing 7th and Hartford placing 41st. Cities that Boston edged out on the scorecard included Chicago (#13), Raleigh-Durham (#14) and Los Angeles (#18). The top three positions on the scorecard went to Silicon Valley (#1), Washington DC (#2) and San Francisco (#3).Tech Talent In Text1

In the report’s Top 10 Most Concentrated Millennial Markets–those markets with the highest percentage of people aged 20-29 years old–Boston came in first with 24.9%, a full 2.7% percent over the next best market, Minneapolis, which had 22.2%. This 2.7% differential between Boston and the next strongest market is larger than the percentage gap between any of the other markets, exhibiting even further how strong the city is in this category. Other cities on the list included Seattle (#8) and Washington DC (#9).

Click the link below to read the full report and see how New England stacks up in other categories such as Top 10 Markets for Educational Attainment and Millennial Population Change by Market.

To view the interactive report, please visit www.cbre.com/techtalent2015

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Property Management Playbook: Channeling Creativity and Engineering to Save a Roof

by Lenny Pierce, Research Analyst

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Source: Wikipedia

With warm weather and intermittent rainstorms conquering the very last of the snow banks, Bostonians are gladly putting thoughts of the snowiest winter on record behind them. But while nobody is eager to reminisce on the weeks upon weeks of unprecedented snowfall, we’d be wise to view our struggle through the snow as a learning experience for various Boston area businesses. The commercial property management industry, for instance, had plenty of lessons to take away from the winter. By late February there were already over 100 roof collapses across the region, many of which were industrial buildings such as warehouses. Luckily, this specific type of disaster was avoided by the creative ingenuity of CBRE/New England’s property management team this winter. With over 35 million sq. ft. under management throughout New England, CBRE/New England possesses a vast reservoir of best practices for protecting properties from the elements. This winter provided new challenges, which allowed us to make a few additions to our Property Management Playbook.

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Zeke Sawayer CBRE/New England

A roof is generally deemed safe with up to two feet of saturated snow on it according to Massachusetts building codes. It is at that depth that there is approximately 30 pounds of snow in a single square foot. As we all recall–the Boston area hit this level in a single storm over the first days of February, and with another storm on the horizon for the following week, owners quickly realized their roofs would be weighed down by closer to three feet all too soon. One property facing this reality was a single-story 230,000-sq.-ft. warehouse managed by CBRE/New England’s Zeke Sawayer.

“Usually you get a thaw,” said Sawayer about the typical period between storms, a tendency that allows the snowpack to decrease enough that an additional storm doesn’t necessarily present a hazard, “but it stayed cold–just didn’t give us any break”. The lack of climatic assistance meant the building owner readily gave Sawayer the go ahead to remove the snow–and it was no small task.

“Two cranes, two front end loaders and about 20 guys with shovels” was the make up of the 3-contractor task force according to Sawayer. The shovelers filled bags on top of the roof with snow, which were then lifted up by the crane and dumped into piles in the parking lot. From there, the front-end loaders moved them onto already mountainous snow banks.

This level of effort still wouldn’t be enough to clear off all of the snow within a week. The roof of this particular warehouse was simply too expansive to clear off entirely before the next storm hit. The solution was to remove the snow in 15-foot channels evenly spaced across the roof–a strategy which relieved the weight evenly across the roof and meant that this particular building would not be yet another casualty of the storm.

Even with established guidelines outlining exactly how much weight is or isn’t safe to have over your head, it is ultimately the owner’s decision whether or not to clear the snow. All a property manager can do is advise an owner as to when such an effort is worth the cost and hope he or she heeds their advice. It may be a long time before snow is able to amass on rooftops to dangerous depths again, but when it does, building owners across the region will be want to sure they have a crisis-tested property management group that knows when immediate action is necessary and exactly how it ought to be executed. Luckily for one industrial owner in the GBA, they had just such a group at their disposal.

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