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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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).

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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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Property Spotlight: 1240 Soldiers Field Road

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1240 Soldiers Field Road is located in the heart of Brighton, Massachusetts. The ±32,635 SF building is currently home to The Skating Club of Boston; however, the 1.97-acre urban transit-oriented development site can support a variety of uses.

Given the site’s proximity to Harvard University, Cambridge and the City of Boston, we expect a great deal of interest. Allston-Brighton is one of the hottest markets in Greater Boston and this site is special. – Mark Reardon, Executive Vice President/Partner at CBRE/NE

Aerial1240 Soldiers Field Road is in the City of Boston’s Allston-Brighton Neighborhood District (the “A-B District”) and the Western Avenue/Soldiers Field Community Commercial 1 (“CC-1”) subdistrict. This subdistrict designation is aimed at diversifying the commercial environment and therefore allows for a wide range of uses including office, retail, medical and residential, as well as hospitality. This location provides unparalleled access to dynamic labor pools, unmatched amenities, and the rare opportunity to develop one of Boston’s remaining sites in an extraordinarily active and hot market.

The site’s neighborhood includes a plethora of new offices, research facilities and residential developments. As pictures below, recent developments include the Charlesview Residences, The Continuum, Harvard Innovation Center and Telford 180.

1240 Soldiers Field Road is directly on the Charles River and is minutes from downtown Boston, Logan Airport, Cambridge, the Mass Pike, and Interstates 95 and 93. The site is also located in proximity to Greater Boston’s most prestigious colleges and universities including Harvard University, Boston College, Boston University, MIT and Northeastern University. Additionally, the property is in walking distance to numerous restaurants, hotels, fitness centers, retail and coffee shops. Within a five-mile radius, the area has a growing employee base of over 873,000 employees and 45,840 businesses.

For additional information, please contact CBRE/NE’s Mark Reardon, Chris Skeffington or Matt Furey.

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Property Spotlight: Union Point

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In the age of seeking that perfect live-work-play environment, Union Point has gone where no other New England development has before. Below are Union Point’s seven differentiators:

1. Fast Track Permitting: Union Point expands across three Massachusetts towns: Weymouth, Rockland and Abington. Potentially, development could have been a headache for those wanting to build their own facility. However, SouthField Redevelopment Authority (SRA) was established within the three host communities to serve as the one-stop shop for all land-use and development decisions. This seamless approval process takes only 65 days.
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Fields.PNG2. Sports Complex:
Union Point offers a brand-new, 25-acre outdoor and indoor sports complex, which features four lighted turf fields for soccer, lacrosse, rugby and field hockey. Two of the four fields can be covered with air-supported structures for year-round use. In addition to the turf fields, the complex will house a miniature replica of Fenway Park, gymnasium, outdoor basketball courts and street hockey rink. All sports facilities are accessible for Union Point residents and surrounding communities. In addition to sports leagues run by Union Point, Global Premier Soccer, Laxachusetts and Boston Rugby Club also will utilize the space. The facility will also house a restaurant, which will be perfect for pre-game fuel and post-game celebrations.

3. Access to Boston: Union Point is an easy 20-minute drive (a mere 12 miles) to Boston. No car? No worries. Union Point also has its very own MBTA Commuter Rail Station providing access to South Station.
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Outdoor.PNG4. Urban Feel with Instant Outdoor Space:
With over 50 miles of hiking and biking trails located on the campus, residents, visitors and employees can easily step into the beautiful Massachusetts woodlands. The development also plans to have over 1,000 acres of open space surrounding and spaced within the dense urban city.

extraPic25. Focus on Smart Technology:
Since Union Point is being built from the ground up, the development is planning to incorporate smart technology into the energy, water, lighting and transportation systems. For example, the streetlights will have sensors that track sounds, light and other conditions. This may seem trivial, but the data could actually be used to monitor traffic, alert the police of suspicious activity and even help drivers find parking spots. Additionally, there will be reliable free wi-fi everywhere as well as heated sidewalks.

ExtraPic16. Thinking Globally & Acting Locally: The developers of Union Point want to stay true to the New England vernacular while incorporating global touches, too. For example, the well-curated retail mix will include a range of Boston-based brands and national retailers. Additionally, Union Point’s future implementation of rooftop farms will also help to enrich the local vibe. Down the road, partnerships with academic and cultural institutions will be developed to make academic programs readily accessible to the community, helping to bring a global perspective to the city.

7. Events:
From farmers markets to concerts to sporting events to food truck rallies, Union Point will be a vibrant 24/7 community. The Hangout, one of Union Point’s entertainment outlets, recently opened and has live music Friday-Sunday with a rotating group of retailers and food trucks.

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For more information, check out the Union Point website. For leasing inquiries, contact CBRE/New England’s Mike Ripp or Steve Clancy.

 

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 (www.digitalcommonwealth.org). 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.

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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.

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Spotlight on A: Next Development Destination for Boston’s Seaport

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.

 

For leasing inquiries or more information on Parkside on A, please contact andy.hoar@cbre-ne.com, jonathan.freni@cbre-ne.com or timothy.howe@cbre-ne.com.