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.
CBRE Cares New England continues its mission “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.” Designed to harness the aggregate potential of CBRE/New England’s over 28 MSF property management portfolio, events are coordinated to engage both CBRE/NE tenants and employees. Over the past year, CBRE Cares New England organized the following charitable activities:
Food Drive: Over 2,600 Pounds of Food Collected
In March, CBRE Cares New England facilitated its eighth annual Food Drive to collect and distribute non-perishable goods to families in need across New England, partnering with The Greater Boston Food Bank, Loaves & Fishes, Rhode Island Community Food Bank and New Hampshire Food Bank. Over the course of just two weeks, CBRE Cares New England collected a total of over 2,600 pounds of food donations, amounting to 10,400 meals created!
A capping off event took place on April 12th, at the Greater Boston Food Bank (GBFB) in Boston, Massachusetts where CBRE/NE volunteers joined a host of directors and volunteers to help achieve GBFB’s mission of ending hunger in eastern Massachusetts. Over the course of the day, CBRE/NE volunteers helped sort 19,450 pounds of food making it possible for the GBFB to supply over 14,000 meals to those in need.
An additional capping off event took place on March 9th at the Foodshare Bloomfield, Connecticut food bank. Foodshare receives food donations from the food industry and sorts and distributes the donations to 300 food pantries, community kitchens, homeless shelters and other partner programs. The CBRE/NE volunteer group sorted 8,100 pounds of food that was donated by Stop & Shop. This food would have otherwise been thrown away.
Footwear Drive: Over 1,000 Pairs Collected
Partnering with the Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island Goodwill Chapters as well as Children’s Friend in Rhode Island, CBRE Cares New England facilitated its first Footwear Drive. Over 1,000 pairs of socks and new or gently used shoes were primarily distributed to local Goodwill chapters across New England. The network of 162 independent, local Goodwills in the United States and Canada offers customized training and services for individuals who want to find a job, pursue a credential or degree, and strengthen their finances. Donations were also given to Children’s Friend of Rhode Island, Rhode Island’s oldest child welfare organization and a leading provider of child welfare, family support, mental health and child development services.
In combination with this drive, on May 25th, CBRE/NE employees volunteered their time at the Cradles to Crayons Giving Factory. Volunteers enjoyed a day of fun and service as they created “KidPacks” to help Cradles to Crayons work towards their mission of providing basic necessities for children in need. In addition to putting together these packages of clothing, toiletries, bedding, diapers, books and more for individual children, volunteers spent the second half of the day sorting children’s clothing donations. At the end of the day, 270 children in need were helped by our team!
Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity: Construction Started on Six Houses
On June 29th, CBRE/NE employees volunteered at the Hartford Area Habitat for Humanity. CBRE/NE volunteers were tasked with framing and doing preliminary stage construction tasks. This project, part of a 22-unit development on South Marshall Street, has been completed, and in December six new homeowners received keys to their new homes.
Back-to-School Supplies Drive: Over 3,500 Items Collected
By providing kids with the tools so many take for granted, our Back-to-School Drive allows kids to focus on what’s really important—their schoolwork. CBRE Cares New England partnered with a host of Boys & Girls Clubs around New England to collect and distribute 1,780 supplies for less fortunate children. The mission of Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston is to help young people, especially those who need us most, build strong character and realize their full potential as responsible citizens and leaders. In addition, over 1,800 items were collected and used to fill more than 30 backpacks with back-to-school supplies in partnership with the Capital Region Education Council, who working with and for its member districts, has developed a wide array of cost-effective and high-quality programs and services to meet the educational needs of children and adults in Greater Hartford. CBRE/NE employees and tenants pulled off our fourth Back-to-School Drive without a hitch and just in time for the first day of school!
In conjunction with this drive, on September 18th volunteers partnered with Boston Cares leaders once again, but this time to build twin bed frames that were distributed through agency partners to families transitioning out of homelessness in Greater Boston. In total nine beds were constructed from start to finish by our team of volunteers. Then on October 6th volunteers set out once again to give back, this time for a maintenance and beautification project at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston Charlestown location. Volunteers were put to work around the Boys & Girls Club doing various projects such as painting, gardening and cleaning, all in support of the organization’s commitment to helping the young people in the community succeed academically, live healthy lifestyles and practice good citizenship.
Toys for Tots/Gift Giving Drive: Over 1,600 Toys Collected
During the 2017 holiday season, CBRE Cares New England organized a Toys For Tots/Gift Giving Drive to allow local disadvantaged children and families to experience a happy holiday and provide them with a message of hope. Donation stations were established in all participating buildings where employees and tenants dropped off new gifts to benefit local kids in need. Over 1,600 gifts were collected on behalf of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Foundation and other local charities.
Short on time? Here are the highlights of our third quarter Downtown Boston Office MarketView. To request the full report, fill out the form at the bottom of this post.
Activity continued to ramp up in the third quarter in the Downtown Boston Office market, which culminated in over half a million sq. ft. of positive absorption. All three of the core downtown submarkets contributed to this strong showing, and the trend continued into the smaller markets as well.
A good percentage of the absorption outcome was due to two headline-making moves: technology company PTC is relocating its headquarters from Needham and Alexion Pharmaceuticals relocating its headquarters from Connecticut, both landing at 121 Seaport Square, a 17-story tower that is currently under construction in the Seaport district. Construction began on the building without any major tenants lined up, but with these deals it is now 100% preleased. PTC’s 250,000 sq. ft. lease is the largest in Boston this year, and the firm will bring over 1,000 employees to the Seaport.
PTC and Alexion Pharmaceuticals are the latest in a string of prominent companies to relocate to Boston from the suburbs, with many of these tenants choosing the Seaport as their new home.
By Jonathan Freni, Senior Vice President/Partner, Advisory & Transaction Services
The third quarter of 2017 saw two more in a long line of large tenants announcing plans to relocate to Boston’s Seaport District. Both PTC and Alexion Pharmaceuticals will move to Skanska’s 121 Seaport when the new building delivers in early 2019, following suit to companies such as Amazon.com at Synergy’s 253 Summer Street, Red Hat at Bentall Kennedy’s 300 A Street and GE’s new headquarters. With the submarket quickly filling up with new tenants, demand for new development continues to increase. So where is the next hot spot for the next round of Seaport transplants?
Parkside on A, a 248,000 square foot development from the ownership team of CV Properties and Ares, combines a Seaport location with direct access to the holy grail of a tenant’s wish list: the MBTA Red Line. Additional highlights include on-site parking, potential branding opportunities, multiple roofdeck opportunities and an on-site amenities center. But don’t take our word for it, check out the video below and the newly launched website and see for yourself.