This year, CBRE/New England representatives from our Downtown, Cambridge, Capital Markets, Suburban, Retail and Industrial teams all gave poignant market insights and takeaways for 2017 while looking forward to the year ahead. The group was moderated by Spencer Levy—Americas Head of Research for CBRE and a senior member of the company’s global research team—who opened the discussion on domestic and international trade, healthcare, taxes, industrial and retail agility, as well as the importance for businesses to follow talent.
Urban (Downtown & Cambridge) – Jon Freni, Senior Vice President/Partner; Carolyn Wheatley, Associate
Freni and Wheatley kicked off their 2018 market insights with the ever-present growing industry: co-working. Freni stated, “Tenant or landlord, this will be the big debate in 2018 and will continue to change the way we do business. Whether you like it or not, co-working is here in a big way. Embrace it and look for ways to compete with it.” Freni continued with two additional market insights that are increasing in popularity: ‘spec success’ and risk-reward deal structures.
Wheatley spoke of three market insights in Cambridge: the increasingly life-science-driven tenant base for both office and lab space, spec developments that meet the supply needs of the low vacancy market, and market risk-reward deal structures that are currently landlord-favored.
Capital Markets – Dave Pergola, Executive Vice President/Partner
Given the complexity of investing in New England commercial real estate, Pergola broke the investment market into three categories.
“In closing, CBRE/NE believes that if you have some conviction and the right type of capital to invest, the best opportunities in 2018 will be large, high-quality suburban office buildings.”
Suburban Office – Alison Powers, First Vice President
Powers started off her talk by debunking a common 2017 theme. “[…] despite the headlines signaling otherwise, the market was actually quite active in 2017 fueled by an incredible amount of leasing velocity driven by organic growth (I promise you not every suburban tenant moved to the Seaport) as well as continued momentum from the life sciences sector.”
A select number of suburban landlords thrived because their space was large, scalable, high-quality and/or new real estate, with amenities and an accessible location.
Retail – Matt Curtin, Senior Vice President/Partner
Next up was Matt Curtin who spoke about how changing consumer behaviors are forcing both retailers and landlords to step it up. He mentioned L.L.Bean and lululemon as two examples of traditional retailers who have integrated experience into their lifestyle brands. L.L.Bean will offer kayak and paddle board at its new Seaport Square location and lululemon offers fitness classes inside and outside of their stores. Matt also highlighted how entertainment concepts, craft beer, fast-casual restaurants, mobile app ordering and “clicks to bricks” retail trended in 2017 and is expected to blossom in 2018.
Industrial – Rachel Marks, Vice President
Rachel Marks closed out the market talks by focusing on the importance of industrial warehouses in Greater Boston as consumer expectations of convenience continue to grow, and people are comfortable buying more online. The changing habits of consumers force omni-channel distributors to deliver product quickly and inexpensively, which means they now need to occupy space close to large population centers like Boston. Other demand drivers in the industrial market include breweries, marijuana cultivators, biopharma manufacturing, technology and medical devices. With all this demand, there is currently a major shortage of quality industrial supply in New England.
Visit the CBRE/New England Vimeo page for videos from the event. Stay tuned for our next post, where we will reveal what our Hartford experts covered at this year’s CBRE/NE Hartford Market Overview.