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.

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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.

Event Recap: Bisnow Providence State of the Market

Wide providence

On October 4th at Back Bay’s Fairmont Copley Plaza, Bisnow hosted the Providence State of the Market. The first half of the event, moderated by our Alden Anderson, featured Bonnie Nickerson from the City of Providence, Secretary of Commerce Stefan Pryor from the State of Rhode Island and Christine West from Kite Architects. The panel of speakers focused specifically on the rise of Providence.

As the capital of Rhode Island, Providence is the third largest city in New England and is home to approximately 178,000 residents. Founded in 1636, Providence is one of the oldest cities in the U.S. and considered one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution. Providence has remained a center of innovation and commerce and is now home to 18 hospitals and 12 institutions of higher learning. These nationally recognized education and medical institutions have helped to spur the growth of an economy tied to high tech, healthcare and creative industries. Once nicknamed the “Beehive of Industry,” Providence has experienced a dramatic shift in the city’s economy as the main industries are now health services, education and financial services. More than 12 educational institutions call the Providence area home, including Brown University, Johnson & Wales University, Roger Williams University, Providence College, University of Rhode Island, Rhode Island College, Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and the New England Institute of Technology.
It is not until recently, however, that Providence’s true potential was realized. Stefan kicked off the event with a plethora of points on Rhode Island’s recent growth including:

– From 2014-2017 Rhode Island led the country in reducing unemployment
– Rhode Island is leading the way in the northeast with GDP growth
– 30 companies have announced that they are expanding or relocating to Rhode Island

Christine highlighted the two major zoning changes in late 2014 that made development more feasible in Providence. The first change was the removal of density restrictions, which now allows apartments to be smaller and more affordable. The second zoning change was a decrease in the required parking ratio, which unleashed a large amount of buildings, especially in the Jewelry District, that can be redeveloped.

UnknownAlden chimed in, “with this comes a lot of absorption… we expect the vacancy rate to be below 10% at the end of 2018.” Bonnie reinforced Alden’s prediction of Providence’s dropping vacancy rates by commenting on the expansion of the 12+ educational institutions in the Providence area. From building more housing to recruiting more companies, the city is harnessing the growth and talent of the universities in any way possible. Bonnie also said that most of the 250 mill complexes in the city have been converted to mixed-use properties and now developers are expanding to the mills in Pawtucket. Furthermore, Providence has been considered one of the nation’s finest culinary destinations, often surpassing larger cities for accolades and awards for outstanding restaurants and chefs. With this national culinary attention, Providence is seeing an emphasis on food businesses such as the new Greek Eataly called Yoleni’s.

Christine tackled Alden’s prompt to discuss the relationship between Providence and Boston. She started with, “Compared to Boston we have a lower cost of living and rents are high enough to justify housing development from historic restorations to new construction.”

Unknown-3Bonnie added that expanding the frequency and times of trains to Boston would make Providence a better live-work-play opportunity for residences and businesses. All panelists agreed that Rhode Island was a charming place to live in New England due to its beautiful beaches, vibrant culture and thriving visual and performing arts community. Furthermore, Rhode Island has emerged as one of New England’s top travel destinations, with more than 400 miles of coastline and 100 sandy beaches offered throughout the state.

Downtown Skyline-Providence (1)Alden ended by asking the panelists what they would highlight about Rhode Island to developers, businesses looking to move to the state and even future residents. Bonnie said she would highlight the opportunity zones’ tax incentives. Within those areas there is incredible opportunity for growth. Christine would highlight the tremendous amount of opportunity because of the recent boom in Providence and the freed-up policy and infrastructure. She also touched on the friendly tight-knit community where if you need something done you are generally one or two phone calls away from making that happen.

For more information, reach out to our Providence market experts.


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.

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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.