CBRE U Event: Activation of Buildings through Amenities

As a new generation of workers will dominate the workforce by 2025, designers, developers and real estate owners need to take a proactive approach to keep up with the current and future needs of tenants. It’s no secret that amenities are being used to help attract and retain talent by property managers and employers in office buildings. Property managers are modernizing their offerings to include on-site yoga studios, outdoor space, multimedia game rooms, private chefs, healthy snacks, comfortable working/meeting spaces, guest speakers, salon services (potentially brought in weekly) and plenty more. The goals of these centers tend to vary, but include finding spaces to get fresh air, encouraging creativity and creating human connections within a building’s tenant population. Usually 30-40% of office building space is underutilized, and property managers have found that these amenities are activating spaces and making them more efficient.


During CBRE/New England’s July CBRE U event, a group of CBRE/NE employees met with Visnick & Caulfield’s Marilyn Shen and CBRE/NE’s Vicki Keenan to discuss the revolutionary Convene amenity center at One Boston Place, a building that CBRE/NE manages on behalf of TH Real Estate and Ivanhoe Cambridge.


The Library

Using the three Rs—relationships, readiness and retention—and the top three reasons why landlords are providing the extras—activation, health & wellness and real estate efficiency—our property management team realized back in 2016 that One Boston Place needed to elevate their offerings. Through analyzing the tenants, the neighborhood and the physical office building space, Convene, Visnick & Caulfield and CBRE/NE were able to create this amenity center that employees and visitors want to maximize to its fullest.


The Commons Nourish

On a purely aesthetic level, the center hits the millennial nail on the head down to the coffee table books and mid-century modern moss green side chair. The state-of-the-art center mixes copper finishes with velvet seating and bright white touches—ideal for an ‘Instagrammable’ corporate reception. These design touches are not a coincidence. While they are high-end and a bit of a nod to an aspirational lifestyle, they are also surprisingly inviting, comfortable and energizing. The aesthetic, mixed with the all-you-can-drink freshly squeezed grapefruit juice and Tate’s cookies (plus a variety of other fun beverages and snacks), contributes to the welcoming vibe of the space. You could almost see this setting in a boutique hotel or perhaps in your (or a fashionable friend’s) home. This idea of res-com brings a new air to office buildings. Gone are the cheap carpeted flooring, fluorescent lighting and ceiling tiles.

One Boston Place_Terrace 2

The Terrace

The smartly designed 15,000 SF Convene space at One Boston Place includes a private outdoor terrace and six meeting rooms, which can accommodate up to 175 guests. The outdoor terrace overlooks the historic Old State House and functions as a space for employees to take a breath of fresh air during the day and a cocktail reception venue during the evening. In the cooler months of this New England city, the library provides a comfortable and unique space for hosting a wide range of events. The venue also includes a full kitchen with dishes that are rotated seasonally. Like the well-designed space, their menu is also curated to give way to a more holistic and approachable setting with farm-to-table dishes.

To find out more about the Convene amenity center at One Boston Place, contact Gina Cusano.

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NAIOP South End by Foot Tour


Jonathan Greeley

Last week NAIOP hosted a guided tour through South End’s latest projects in all stages of development. Jonathan Greeley, Director of Development Review at the Boston Planning & Development Agency, kicked off the opening discussion with, “we are in the middle of a building boom… on any given day there are 124 construction projects in Boston.” It was evident, within the first five minutes of the tour, that a significant number of those construction projects are in the South End. This particular area in the South End was once a factory corridor and is now turning into a live-work-play community.


Harrison Albany Block Site


The tour started at the Harrison Albany Block development and then wrapped its way through the old Flower Exchange site and then into Ink Block. While some projects were fully operating, such as the AC Hotel by Marriott at Ink Block, some sites were about to begin construction, such as Nordblom and CIM’s 321 Harrison.


Todd Fremont-Smith, Senior Vice President of Development and Director at Nordblom, spoke about the 321 Harrison development, a project that will be built atop the existing 1000 Washington parking garage and connect to the current office building. CBRE/New England spearheads the leasing efforts for both 1000 Washington and 321 Harrison. The developers hope to break ground in early August and deliver the ±235,000 SF project in Q1 2020. Situated within a hub of new residential and retail developments, 321 Harrison will enhance the ‘work’ experience in the South End’s live-work-play environment. In addition to a roof terrace to take in the beautiful views of Boston, the LEED® Certified Silver office building will include a cafe with outdoor seating, fitness center and outdoor balconies. Take a closer look at the façade of the building to see how the architect, SMMA, incorporated the building’s street number (hint: panels).

RNDR_Pike Elevation

321 Harrison Façade

For more information, check out the 321 Harrison website. For leasing inquiries, contact CBRE/New England’s David Fitzgerald, Eric Smith or Kristen Blumetti.

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Recap: CBA’s Women in Commercial Brokerage Roundtable Event

CBAEvent1The Women in Commercial Brokerage series is part of the Commercial Brokers Association’s (CBA) larger diversity initiative “to create a more diverse pool of candidates for careers in commercial real estate brokerage.” Their June 20th event, Women in Commercial Brokerage Roundtable, was hosted at CBRE/New England’s 33 Arch Street 10th floor cafe and focused on work/life balance. The event was moderated by our Alison Powers and the panelists included Kerry Hawkins, Senior Director at HFF, Molly Heath, Executive Vice President at JLL, and Kate Lien, Senior Director at Cushman & Wakefield. In addition to being successful brokers, each of the panelists are mothers and had a variety of tips for the budding audience.

This event came on the heels of a CBA panel lead by Dune Thorne, Partner at Brown Advisory, where she stated “70% of valedictorians are girls, yet only 4% of S&P 500 CEOs are women.” With that powerful quote in mind, Powers kicked off the discussion with a mission, “30 years from now our goal is to have these same women, and even more, in this room.” Hawkins, Heath and Lien each brought different perspectives and advice for how to get more women in the room, support your career, your family and yourself. Topics discussed included taking maternity leave, managing the day-to-day home/work schedule, handling after work events, and maintaining a good support system at work and home.

The evening concluded with more open dialogue between panelists and attendees. Powers wrapped up the conversation with, “Keep coming to these events. Spread the word about the committee. These conversations were powerful tonight.”

Stay tuned for another Women in Commercial Brokerage CBA event in September.

CBRE/New England Research Highlighted at State House Day


On Thursday, April 12, our Évianne Netherwood-Schwesig’s research on the 495/Metro West market was displayed at 495/MetroWest Partnership’s annual State House Day. The 495/Metro West market extends along the Interstate 495 corridor from Westford in the north to Foxborough in the south, and spreads east-west along Route 9 from Natick to Shrewsbury. While once primarily an industrial economy, the area today supports a broad spectrum of white-collar occupiers, including a growing cohort of tech and life science companies.
Map of 495 metroWest
A high-level overview of Évianne’s findings is below:

  • Although 2018 began in the red, absorption was positive in three of the four preceding quarters. Continued healthy tenant demand indicates that the market is on solid footing.


  • Vacancy has declined steadily over the last three quarters, as increasing numbers of tenants look for affordable alternatives outside the Boston urban core.


  • 495/Metro West rents have seen modest growth in recent years, as is to be expected as the market gains attention. However, rents remain at a dramatically better value than in the Boston urban core, where rapid growth has driven the rental gap even wider.

Class A

  • Specific 495/Metro West company statistics can be found below:

End Charts

To read more about Évianne’s findings, click here.

2018 CBRE Women’s Networking Forum

IMG_0069.jpgCBRE hosted its 2018 CBRE Women’s Networking Forum, the largest company gathering of women, March 14-16 in Chicago. Five of our six female Partners attended the event, Eileen Carroll, Martha Dellenback, Anita DiPrizio Pasquale, Suzanne Duca and Erin Walls, in addition to 400 other women from CBRE Inc. The three-day event included speakers such as Bob Sulentic, President and Chief Executive Officer and Executive Sponsor of the CBRE Women’s Network, CBRE; Wendy Silverstein, Chief Executive Officer, New York REIT; Dr. Victoria H. Medvec, Medvec & Associates and Kellogg Graduate School of Business, Center for Executive Women; Erica Dhawan, Leadership Strategist and Connectional Intelligence Expert; Carla Harris, Vice Chairman, Global Wealth Management, Morgan Stanley; Karina Muller, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Maripossa Wellness; as well as many other featured speakers.

I asked the group to share a key takeaway from the event:

Duca_SuzanneSuzanne Duca came back from the trip raving about Dr. Victoria H. Medvec’s constant flow of quotes from the Friday morning 9 a.m. meeting. A couple of Dr. Medvec’s memorable quotes are below:




People who set more ambitious goals get MORE.

Nobody owns your brand but YOU, own it!

anitaAnita DiPrizio Pasquale’s favorite quote from the forum was, “Fake it till you make it.” She noticed that the quote was in the opening address by Lisa Konieczka and was also mentioned by a handful of other speakers.




Walls_ErinErin Walls came back from the forum excited to have heard from Bob Sulentic. Erin commented, “At what other Fortune 200+ company do you have the opportunity to speak and be heard by the CEO? It’s always great to hear directly from Bob Sulentic on the aspirations for CBRE to be world class, which means having the ability to consistently deliver client outcomes that others cannot. It’s always engaging to hear directly from Bob on some of the advancements that are being made to ensure that the strength and depth of CBRE continues to grow—for both our employees and our clients. Hearing Bob’s resounding confirmation that the Women’s Network at CBRE is the most compelling group and event (Women’s Networking Forum) not only at the company but also in the industry, continued to drive my devotion to the Women’s Network.”

Erin was also captivated by Dr. Victoria Medvec’s three-hour session, which she felt was not long enough. In addition to what was mentioned above, a couple other quotes that really stood out were:

It is not your job to decide if you are qualified.

Be your own best story teller, set the right goals and ask for the opportunity.

The CBRE Women’s Network was formed in 2000 and has more than 3,000 members from all levels of the organization, the company’s three regions and every business line. The group’s mission is to “Promote the Success of Women,” which is guided by three key principles: Growth, Connection and Mentorship.

CBRE/New England Wins Big at the CBA Achievement Awards!

By Taidgh McClory, Managing Director/Partner, Advisory & Transaction Services

On March 22 at the InterContinental in Boston, the Commercial Brokers Association (CBA) gathered to honor select brokerage teams throughout Greater Boston at their annual awards dinner. For the brokerage industry, this is equivalent to the Academy Awards. CBRE/New England stood out as a dominant force at the awards, taking home six out of a potential 13 awards.

On behalf of the entire company, congratulations to all this year’s winners, nominees, our clients and the finalists! We continue to be proud of our employees, our collaboration and our market leadership as a world-class company.

Below are the CBRE/NE finalists for 2017’s CBA Achievement Awards:

MemorialDrive_1Office Deal of the Year – Greater Cambridge
Size: 238,000 SF
Address: One Memorial Drive, Cambridge, MA
Landlord: Oxford Properties
CBRE/NE Representatives: (Landlord team – Steve Purpura, Eric Smith) (Tenant team – Adam Brinch, David Fitzgerald, Robert Fitzgerald, Tim Howe)

Retail Deal of the Year Trillium
Trillium Brewing Co.
Size: 16,000 SF
Address: Thompson Place, 47 Farnsworth Street, Boston, MA
Landlord: Invesco/CrossPoint
CBRE/NE Representative: Brian Cohen

BrattleCourt_aerial_700px_v2Most Creative Deal of the Year
Brattle Court at Harvard Square
Size: 61,858 SF
Address: 1-8 Brattle Street, 17-41 Brattle Street, Cambridge, MA
Landlord: Asana Partners
CBRE/NE Representatives: Dave Pergola Jr., Brian Doherty, Matt Curtin

Life Science Deal of the Year75.125 Extrior Updated 06.2014
Size: 222,926 SF
Address: 125 Binney Street, Cambridge, MA
Landlord: Sublease – Shire
CBRE/NE Representatives: Steve Purpura, Eric Smith, Brian Cohen

President’s Council Special Recognition
Dynatrace (Five-Party Waltham Mega Deal)

  • National Grid subleased 68,000 SF from Dynatrace at FM Global’s (landlord) 404 Wyman Street in Waltham, MA
  • Dynatrace, represented by CBRE/NE, relocated to 40,000 SF at Boston Properties’ (landlord) Reservoir Place at 1601 Trapelo Road in Waltham, MA
  • Dynatrace’s move to Reservoir Place required JLL to help another client, Constant Contact, restructure its existing lease
  • CBRE/NE Representatives: Ron Friedman, Perry Beal

Industrial Deal of the YearIndustrial Deal of the Year
66 Saratoga Boulevard, Devens, MA
Size: 275,392 SF
Landlord: CIP Saratoga Boulevard LLC
CBRE/NE Representatives: Bob Gibson, Steve Clancy, Rachel Marks, Doug Rodenstein

To learn more about the night, please read more here.

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Recap: 2018 CBRE/New England Rhode Island Market Overview

Cover Photo

At our 2018 Rhode Island Market Overview our Rhode Island team presented on the state of the industrial, office and investment markets.

Alden Anderson, Senior Vice President/Partner, introduced Governor Gina M. Raimondo, who provided a compelling presentation on the status of the Rhode Island economy.


“22 companies have chosen Rhode Island over anywhere else…invest in Rhode Island. Let’s keep going.” – Governor Gina M. Raimondo

The panel portion of the morning was lead by Jeff Havsy, Chief Economist of CBRE Americas and Managing Director of CBRE Econometric Advisors. Jeff spoke of the recent changes in Rhode Island, the tax policy that passed in December, GDP growth, interest rates, retail sales and global tailwinds. Jeff ended his discussion with five concerns for 2018: inflation, Presidential management style, Brexit, consumer confidence and emerging market debt.

Andrew Galvin, First Vice President, spoke of the Rhode Island Office market trends. He stated that downtown office buildings that perform well have walkability to public transit, and suburban office buildings that perform well have high parking ratios. Jeff chimed in and stated that landlords need to keep in mind that the way we transport individuals will change (self-driving cars, ride share). Therefore, landlords need to think of short-term temporary solutions for parking. Andrew additionally spoke of the necessity for Rhode Island landlords to attract and retain talent from the local universities and colleges.

“Downtown vacancy is at 11.9% and is down for the third straight year… On the suburban side, in aggregate, the suburban vacancy rate is 12.4%, which is down from a high in 2009 of 25.5%” – AG

Suburban Graphic OfficeDowntown Graphic Office

“In the last 60 months in the Financial District, rents have increased 13.4%, or nearly 2.7% per year on average” – AG

Capital Markets 

Alden Anderson covered the Rhode Island Capital Market trends, stating that “Industrial is a very desirable asset class today for investment if the buildings fit key design parameters of easily accessible and clear height in excess of 20-24’.”

Investors are noticing Rhode Island. Alden has observed investors focusing on areas with millennials, amenities and the live-work-play environment. The market is starting to get validated by transactions taking place and big brand name companies coming to Rhode Island. 


Tom Barry, Vice President, covered the Rhode Island Industrial market, stating that, “a major theme of the past year was the continued growth of the manufacturing sector, which continues to account for a higher percentage of transactions than warehouse space.” Nationally from 2012-2017, ceiling height and square footage increased for the average warehouse space, which Rhode Island has a limited supply of. While speculative construction has not happened, there are plans in the works. Tom mentioned that he expects big box retail stores to come on the market, which could be a creative way for developers to create industrial space. Jeff chimed in and stated that retail centers converting to an industrial use (distribution or last mile) has been a national trend.


“The Rhode Island Industrial market in 2017 continued to exhibit solid prospect activity and deal execution bringing the vacancy rate to another record low of 1.72%.” – TB

To Mayorwrap up the presentation, we were fortunate to welcome Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, who left us with this solid takeaway, “It’s impossible to have a strong and vibrant Rhode Island without a strong and vibrant capital city… and vice versa.”

Visit the CBRE/New England Vimeo page for an audio clip from the event.

Did you miss our Boston or Hartford Market Overview recap? Click here to catch up.

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