Building Today for a Stronger Tomorrow: CBRE Cares New England 2018 Year in Review

logo.PNGCBRE 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
CBRECares_SpringClothingDrive_WSJ.jpgPartnering 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.

C2C 6.jpg

Food Drive: Over 1,425 Pounds of Food Donated
2018_Food Drive_Captivate.jpgCBRE 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.

Toy Drive
ToysForTots_CaptivateScreen_2018.jpgCBRE 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.

Cambridge continues its upward trajectory

Camridge marketviewShort on time? Here are the highlights of our third quarter 2018 Cambridge Office/Lab MarketView. To request the full report, fill out the form at the bottom of this post. 

Main Street 314.jpg

Rendering: 314 Main Street


The Cambridge Office market had a strong third quarter boasting the highest absorption since Q1 2015 at 274,000 sq. ft. Availability dropped from 11.3% last quarter to 9.5% by the end of Q3. Vacancy rose modestly to 4.2%. Average asking rents present a more complex case, however. On the surface, it appears rents dropped because they decreased from $85.57 per sq. ft. in Q2 to $82.23 per sq. ft. in Q3. However, rents in all three submarkets rose significantly. West Cambridge saw rents increase from $51.80 per sq. ft. to $55.43 per sq. ft., Mid Cambridge saw rents jump from $56.49 per sq. ft. to $67.90 per sq. ft. and East Cambridge saw rents grow from $95.26 per sq. ft. to $96.67 per sq. ft. However, a modest amount of less expensive space came on the market in West and Mid Cambridge in Q3 while East Cambridge saw 313,000 sq. ft. of absorption. In this case, lower average asking rents are an indicator of increased market strength because much of the higher-priced availability was leased. This phenomenon is unusual in less constrained markets, but in Cambridge it has become a recurring theme.


Q3 2018 was another record-breaking quarter for the Cambridge Lab market. The city saw average asking rents reach $85.10 per sq. ft. NNN, vacancy drop to 1.2% and almost 180,000 sq. ft. of positive absorption. Absorption for the year is now over 760,000 sq. ft. in a market of only 13 million sq. ft. With so little space left in the city today, that absorption figure likely won’t crack 2012’s record of 1.5 million sq. ft. by year end. However, rents have reached a new record at $85.10 per sq. ft. NNN. In East Cambridge, average asking rents reached $92.90 per sq. ft. NNN by the end of the quarter, and vacancy in that submarket fell to 0.9%.


Art in and around office buildings

Not until recently has art been looked at as a Class A office building essential to help differentiate the space, engage the employees and create an environment that is fun to work in. Here are a few examples of art in our CBRE/NE-managed office buildings:

OneWashington_ForOnlineMediaRoom3One Washington: Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, a digital back-lit photo of the historic Scollay Square was revealed this February in a ceremony hosted by The Georgetown Company in the lobby of One Washington in Boston. The inspiration and design came from the architectural firm Gensler. The original photo was taken in 1942 by the late Boston Herald-Traveler photographer Leslie R. Jones. Leslie R. Jones was standing roughly in the footprint of the One Washington building and shooting towards Government Center, which was then known as Scollay Square. Leslie R. Jones worked for the Boston Herald-Traveler newspaper for 39 years starting in 1917. He started his career as a patternmaker in a Boston factory while practicing photography on the side. Jones was injured at the factory, which ultimately led to his decision to become a full-time photographer. His wide range of Boston photographs (approximately 34,000 photographic plates) can be found on the fifth floor of the Boston Public Library and are also accessible by visiting The Digital Commonwealth online ( The large installation revitalizes the lobby for all passing through to enjoy.

Riverfront Office Park, 1 and 101 Main Street, Cambridge: Riverfront Office Park, located in Kendall Square, has brought in the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum’s Corporate Program to outfit their lobby interior and window bays with new paintings every six months. This rotational program ensures that both spaces are freshly accessorized with artwork from different New England artists. The window bay installations have provided the full city block between 1 Main Street and 101 Main Street with a charming “art walk” for tenants, local community and visitors. This membership allows tenants free passes to the deCordova Museum. Patrick Giroux, Tenant Coordinator for the property, states, “The whole building, from our engineers who maintain the art walk to our tenants, is very supportive of the art. Working with deCordova has been seamless.” Currently, the lobby has 12 sculptural paintings by Cambridge artist Vanessa Irzyk. Stay tuned for their next artwork rotation in July, which will feature hand-dyed fabric installations by Geddes Levenson and more traditional oil paintings by Annie Blazejack.

101 Seaport Boulevard: The story of how 101 Seaport Boulevard amassed its outdoor sculpture is unique. Construction workers, while excavating the adjacent site’s garage, came across a 125-year-old wooden ship. The developers of the project, Skanska, commissioned Public Archeology Laboratory to investigate. Results from the investigation showed that this was a 65’ two-mast cargo schooner used for transporting lime to be used in construction. Evidence suggests that the ship was from Rockland, Maine, and was abandoned after a fire on board. From the late 1880s to the 1930s, the Seaport neighborhood was slowly filled in right over where the schooner was located. Railroads, wharves and warehouses were built on this new land.

Fast forward over 100 years and a replica of the ship is now “floating” between 101 and 121 Seaport Boulevard. You can find out more on the ship by the online app “Harbor Way” by Skanska, or by taking the Harbor Way tour. The sculpture provides an interactive experience, for employees, community members and tourists to experience the story of the schooner.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another option for including art in office buildings is to partner with ArtLifting, an organization that sources local art created by people living with homelessness or disabilities. CBRE’s Radnor, Nashville, Oak Brook, Houston and Dallas offices have worked with ArtLifting to outfit their offices. ArtLifting was founded to help businesses of all sizes enhance their offices with wall art or wall coverings while giving back to the community. The firm also has a corporate gifting option and a B2C line of art.


Cambridge raises its own bar, as usual


Short on time? Here are the highlights of our first quarter 2018 Cambridge Office & Lab MarketView. To request the full report, fill out the form at the bottom of this post.

North Street_Cambridge Crossing - 250 North Street.jpg

250 North Street, Cambridge Crossing

The Cambridge Office market maintained its unquestionable status as the premier office submarket in Greater Boston in Q1 2018. Vacancy fell to 3.8% market-wide, and availability finished at 11.9%. These types of numbers are to be expected, but average asking rents saw a major jump that put them on a new level—even by Cambridge standards. Due in large part to actively marketed new construction bringing an influx of premium space to the market, rents rose from $70.18 per sq. ft. in Q4 2017 to $80.52 per sq. ft. by the end of Q1 2018. In East Cambridge, they reached $93.17 per sq. ft. While landlords in other markets may not be able to command anything near these prices, Cambridge owners don’t have much cause for concern. The city’s tenant mix is increasingly dominated by deep-pocketed life sciences and tech giants who are more than up to the challenge.

Not all the storylines followed the usual path, though. The largest lease of the quarter was significant not only in its size, but because of its location. Philips leased a few blocks of space in rapid succession, totaling over 334,000 sq. ft.—but not in the heart of Kendall Square, as one might expect. Instead, this space was taken at 250 North Street, the first building to break ground at DivcoWest’s 4.5 million sq. ft. Cambridge Crossing development near Lechmere. Like many projects in the Boston area, the area formerly known as North Point had been a development pipe dream for many years. A lease of such magnitude from a blue-chip company is validation that this area’s promise is finally coming to fruition. When complete, Cambridge Crossing will feature 2.1 million sq. ft. of office and lab space, 2.4 million sq. ft. of residential, 100,000 sq. ft. of retail, and 11 acres of open space.

The story of the Cambridge Lab market in the first three months of 2018 should not come as a surprise. The market is as tight as ever, with no signs of changing. Demand remains in the stratosphere, with 2.4 million sq. ft. of active requirements, while only 161,000 sq. ft. are currently vacant. Largely bolstered by new projects under construction, 1.2 million sq. ft. is being marketed for future occupancy—still half the amount of demand. Tenants looking for space in the Cambridge Lab market run the gamut from household names seeking well over 100,000 sq. ft. to homegrown start-ups looking for less than 10,000 sq. ft. For companies large and small, the allure of this market remains unparalleled in the life sciences industry.


Recap: 2018 CBRE/New England Boston Market Overview

It was a great honor to have both Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker speak at our 2018 Boston Market Overview.

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 IMG_2384-2market 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 MarketsDave 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 OfficeAlison 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.

RetailMatt 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.


IndustrialRachel 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.

Marks Photo1

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


Just Released: CBRE/NE 2018 New England Market Outlook


Building Today for a Stronger Tomorrow: CBRE Cares Year in Review

CBRE Cares-NE Logo_342CBRE 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

2017_Food Drive_CaptivateIn 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, atfood-drive-3.jpg 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

CBRE Cares Shoe drive_captivatePartnering 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.

Iphoto4n 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. Unknown-1

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 diCBRECares_BackToSchoolDrive_InternalScreen(landscape)stribute 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!

4In 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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.