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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Recap: 2018 CBRE/New England Hartford Market Overview


At our Hartford Market Overview, our Connecticut team presented on the state of the industrial, office and investment markets. We were pleased to have Joshua Solomon, Owner of the Hartford Yard Goats, join us on stage as our keynote speaker.

Office Market 
Michael Puzzo, Senior Vice President/Partner, and Jennifer Gosselin, Vice President, covered the Connecticut Office market.

Puzzo and jenn

“The Greater Hartford Office market lost 560,000 SF of occupancy during 2017 and it came in many forms. Classic large-scale consolidations; new workplace initiatives that have increased density and efficiency; and new sublease offerings from users that have relocated ahead of scheduled expirations.” – MP

“With the market more competitive than ever for limited demand, landlords will be more focused on engaging tenants and enhancing the overall experience at their buildings. This past year we’ve seen lobby refreshes, new cafes, new fitness centers and outdoor gathering spaces.” – JG

Our office market forecast for 2018 includes:

  • Healthcare will be the #1 growth industry during the next decade
  • Start-up incubators could be a potential source of demand
  • The Hartford Line opening in May should provide future economic growth
  • Hartford Office market will have a lot of work to do to absorb the losses experienced in 2017

Industrial Market 
Chris Metcalfe, First Vice President, led with an in-depth overview of the Greater Hartford Industrial market.


“More than any other product type, industrial is influenced by the vibrancy we see on a national level as commerce changes its real estate footprint in response to the marriage of industrial and retail. The rise of industrial nationally has kept our local industrial market immune to the challenges facing Connecticut.” – CM

“Growth-related challenges facing the supply chain present opportunities for Connecticut. There is currently a two-day delivery expectation from the consumer, which forces competition down to one-day or same-day delivery. This change will require new warehouses to be even closer to population centers.” – CM

supply chain

“There is another huge challenge in the industrial market: The Trucking Labor Crisis. By 2024 the deficit of insufficient truck drivers is forecast to be 175,000 positions.” – CM

Our industrial forecast for 2018 includes:

  • More large-format in our vicinity – demand from one MSF users
  • Last mile keeps rolling
  • Driverless trucks (?)

Capital Markets
Anna Kocsondy, Vice President, and Anna Pfau, Senior Production Analyst, covered the Connecticut Investment Sales market.

Anna and Anna
Our investment market forecast for 2018 includes:

  • Continued demand for well-located office buildings with walkable amenities
  • Multifamily is still highly sought after by investors and lenders with strong and stable fundamentals both on the local and national level
  • Industrial is the #1 favored property type
  • E-commerce giants to acquire more brick & mortar stores
  • Medical office expansions into traditional retail spaces should bolster retail centers’ credit and future pricing expectations
  • There is moderate to strong liquidity in the debt markets for both traditional (industrial, apartments, office, retail) assets and new types of assets (such as student housing, medical office, senior housing, self-storage)
  • Anticipate an average volume of office assets trading in 2018 (10-12 sales)

Overall, market fundamentals in Greater Hartford are strong and the outlook is positive for 2018, particularly in the Industrial sector.

Andy with YardGoats
Stay tuned for our next post, where we will reveal what our Rhode Island experts covered at this year’s CBRE/NE Rhode Island Market Overview. Did you miss our Boston Market Overview recap? Click here to catch up.

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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.

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Just Released: CBRE/NE 2018 New England Market Outlook


Connecting CBRE/NE in Cannes: MAPIC 2016

CBRE/New England’s First Vice President of Retail, Andrea DeSimone, just returned today from the annual conference at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France. MAPIC is the premier event for the international retail real estate market. The three-day gathering attracted over 8,000 participants who attended a variety of exhibitions, conferences and networking events catered to retail developers, owners and brokers.


Balcony view of Rue d’Antibes (Cannes, France)

Andrea reports that the mood of the MAPIC retail conference was very optimistic, suggesting incredible demand for U.S. retailers to open locations in the major European markets. Online retail versus traditional brick-and-mortar retail remained a hot topic, in addition to a true focus on retailers that have successfully developed a mature omnichannel strategy to reach their customers. Meetings with retailers in the luxury sector further prove that Boston’s Back Bay is a world-class city, remaining one of the major markets of intrigue and interest. Recent retailer openings on the famed Rue d’Antibes (the boutique shopping street of Cannes) include Bialetti, Hugo Boss, Twin Set, COS and Pylones. Boston’s Back Bay would be an ideal U.S. gateway location for high street international retailers like these.

Andrea is available as a resource for more information on MAPIC,  in addition to all of your other Urban Retail needs.



Andrea DeSimone


Nicole Nielsen

What: ICSC New England Conference & Deal Making

Where: Hynes Convention Center | 900 Boylston Street, Boston, MA

When: July 19–21, 2016

The ICSC New England Conference provides a one-stop platform for education, networking and deal making. Once a year, ICSC New England offers an opportunity for attendees to gain information about current industry issues, meet and interact with colleagues doing business in the same region and make deals.

Preceding the deal-making component of the conference, ICSC puts together a multitude of events that enable industry learning and networking. This year, CBRE/New England’s Andrea DeSimone is leading the Retailer Fun Run and Nicole Nielsen is organizing the Next Generation Session. Andrea and Nicole are both on the Program Planning Committee for the ICSC New England Conference, along with Paul Grossman; Nicole is Co-Chair of the Next Generation Committee.

Retailer Fun Run

Wednesday, July 20 @ 7:00-8:30AM

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Click for video

Next Generation Session

Wednesday, July 20 @ 10:30–11:45AM

Retail Real Estate JeopaR.E. Join Next Gen’s rendition of the classic game show JEOPARDY!, or as we like to call it: JeopaR.E. Our host, Josh Levy, Waterstone Retail, will challenge our “contestants” as they compete in six categories and in three rounds (with each round’s answers being worth more prize money). Following the informational and fun game, there will be a 20-minute panel rounding off the session and allowing the audience to ask questions.

Visit the CBRE/New England booth on Thursday, July 21st from 8:00AM-2:30PM @ Booth #407!