CBRE Cares New England mission is “to build a foundation for our community by facilitating a variety of volunteer and giving opportunities that have a significant effect on the lives of families in need—building today for a stronger tomorrow.” CBRE Cares New England works to harness the aggregate potential of CBRE/New England’s over 36 MSF property management portfolio, coordinating engaging events for CBRE/NE tenants and employees. In 2018, CBRE Cares New England organized the following charitable activities:
Clothing Drive: Over 1,794 Pounds of Clothes Donated
Partnering with Cradles to Crayons this past spring, CBRE Cares New England collected clothing, shoes, socks, underwear, hygiene items and toys. This spring, 1,794 pounds of clothing were generously donated. The drive ran from March 19-30.
In combination with this drive, CBRE/NE also visited The Giving Factory for a day of service on Thursday, April 12. Volunteers enjoyed a day of fun as they created “KidPacks” to help Cradles to Crayons work towards their mission of providing basic necessities for children in need.
Food Drive: Over 1,425 Pounds of Food Donated
CBRE Cares New England hosted a Food Drive in June. The Food Drive ran from June 18-29 and all donations were distributed to local food pantries across New England affiliated with Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. Over the course of just two weeks, CBRE Cares New England collected a total of over 1,425 pounds of food donations, amounting to 5,700 meals created! With a network of more than 200 food banks serving all 50 states, Feeding America secures and distributes more than 2.5 billion pounds of food and grocery products annually.
Esplanade Clean Up Day
CBRE/NE employees spent a day working with the Esplanade Association on Thursday, July 19th. Volunteers spent the day helping to eradicate invasive species across the esplanade and also helped to clean up litter. The Esplanade Association is a privately funded nonprofit organization that works to revitalize and enhance the Charles River Esplanade, preserve natural green space and build community by providing educational, cultural and recreational programs for everyone.
CBRE Cares New England recently wrapped up its annual partnership with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program from November 26th through December 7th. Donation stations were established in all participating buildings where employees and tenants dropped off new gifts to benefit local kids in need. Gifts were collected on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation and other local charities. Since 1947, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program has received national recognition organizing holiday toy drives across the U.S. for more than 14 million children annually.
One Boston Place and One Beacon Street, two CBRE/New England-managed buildings, are undergoing lobby renovations. Both lobbies were cast in dark stone with dated lighting and sparse, uninviting seating. This buttoned-up aesthetic resulted in both lobbies being used as a thruway rather than a functional multi-purpose space. As we’ve seen with the rise of office amenities, creating an almost hotel-like environment in office buildings is appealing to tenants, invigorates previously unused space and is beneficial to employees’ well-being. Lobbies, which have previously been overlooked, are spaces that can benefit from activation, too.
Ownership at One Boston Place (TH Real Estate and Ivanhoé Cambridge) and One Beacon Street (MetLife Investment Management and Norges Bank Real Estate Management) took similar approaches when making renovation decisions: they listened to their tenants. Tenants’ comments coupled with insight from the world-renowned architectural firms chosen dictated the lobby designs. We asked the property managers of both buildings a few questions to break down how that hotel experience translates into benefitting employees. Below is the Q&A session with CBRE/NE’s Brian Allyn, Associate Real Estate Manager, from One Boston Place as well as Nate Hamilton, General Manager, and Dominic Russo, Operations Manager, from One Beacon Street.
- How would you describe your new space vs. your old space and how is your new space similar to that of a hotel’s?
One Boston Place: With the help of architectural firm Stantec, our new space should be warm and inviting, compared with the cold and unapproachable past lobby. Our goal is for the lobby to be client-driven and equipped with a concierge service plus a plethora of seating options. We want to keep the space casual to encourage tenants to incorporate it into their 24/7 lifestyle. We’ve just secured Wolfgang Steakhouse to occupy the former bank space and we are working on introducing another retail tenant to the former Paul Bakery space. These two retail options will help to further integrate the space with Boston’s live-work-play atmosphere.
One Beacon Street: Our old space was narrow and traditional. Our new space will be well-lit, inviting, bigger and comfortable. With help from our architectural firm, Gensler, we focused on picking useable furniture, expanding the space and streamlining the design.
- What was your strategy in terms of soft products and hard products?
One Boston Place: We wanted to harness the great natural light that the lobby gets from our glass façade. We did this by bringing in a team of lighting architects to design lighting that gracefully balances out the natural light with artificial light. Additionally, we wanted to soften the space, so our architects recommended incorporating surfaces with wood rather than stone. On the soft product side, we spent a great deal of time selecting the right furniture that would be comfortable, attractive and functional for tenants to use, like that of a hotel’s. At the end of the day, if a chair is not the right height or if a table is not the right size, tenants won’t feel comfortable using the space.
One Beacon Street: Our design process had a massive emphasis on making sure the furniture and décor were inviting for tenants. The chairs, couches, rugs and tables were a huge decision for us as we want them to be utilized! As you can see from the designs, the hard products are minimalistic and clean. In addition to the lobby renovation, we are also doing some infrastructure work and design improvements to the 23 columns out front (taking away the stone and replacing with metal). The redone columns will aesthetically align with the interior lobby work.
- How are you making the space comfortable to guests?
One Boston Place: As mentioned before, our space is primarily comfort-driven. By removing the low-slung black leather couches and adding supportive chairs in softer fabrics, the space can really be used to grab coffee with a colleague, hold an impromptu meeting or use as a co-working space. We’ve added a new feature desk and relocated it to be closer to the elevators. The lobby seating was moved closer to the natural light and entrance. Currently, tenants love the interior lobby entrance to the on-site gym, so we ensured that that entrance would stay.
One Beacon Street: We actually expanded the front of the lobby by 9’ and removed one of the revolving doors to add more room and light to the space. By expanding the lobby, we were able to add two large areas of seating that is out of the way from the traffic to and from the elevator banks. These additions will turn the two wings of the lobby into almost intimate co-working lounges.
- We’ve learned so much about how art impacts employee experience. Describe the art you have planned for the lobby.
One Boston Place: Still in the decision-making process—stay tuned!
One Beacon Street: We are happy to announce that we are incorporating light sculptures in all three of the elevator banks. The sculptures will appear like they are floating above the elevators.
Short on time? Here are the highlights of our third quarter 2018 Greater Hartford Industrial MarketView. To request the full report, fill out the form at the bottom of this post.
The Greater Hartford Industrial market in Q3 2018 saw a small contraction of 6,403 sq. ft. of negative absorption, down from 235,152 sq. ft. of positive absorption in the second quarter. The vacancy rate remained flat at 8.3%, while the availability rate increased marginally to 8.8%. Meanwhile, average asking rents in the market decreased to $5.17 per sq. ft. NNN.
Both the Hartford South and Hartford West submarkets drove the leasing activity in the Greater Hartford Industrial market.
Short on time? Here are the highlights of our third quarter 2018 Greater Hartford Office MarketView. To request the full report, fill out the form at the bottom of this post.
The Greater Hartford Office market continued its trend of positive absorption from last quarter concluding with 18,702 sq. ft. of positive net absorption for Q3 2018. The vacancy rate for Q3 decreased marginally to 17.7%, and the availability rate increased to 19.5%. Meanwhile, average asking rents increased to $20.03 per sq. ft. gross making it the second consecutive quarter of rent growth for the Greater Hartford Office market.
Short on time? Here are the highlights of our third quarter 2018 Boston Industrial MarketView. To request the full report, fill out the form at the bottom of this post.
The lack of large transactions in Q3 2018 and tempered demand led the Greater Boston area to a relatively flat quarter statistically, bringing the year-to-date total to just over 720,000 sq. ft. of positive absorption. Overall availability and vacancy ended the quarter declining to 9.1% and 6.1%, respectively, with average asking rents increasing to $9.76 per sq. ft. largely driven by the inner core markets. In a market that has been historically tight, the 2.0 million sq. ft. of new construction currently underway has become a welcome relief valve for dwindling options despite the continued rise in construction costs.
Investment activity this summer was strong in all submarkets, which is an indicator that the market continues to garner continued interest from various capital sources. The outlook on the overall economy remains positive.