Recap: 2018 CBRE/New England Rhode Island Market Overview

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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


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.

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Despite large givebacks, demand remains steady in the suburban office market


Short on time? Here are the highlights of our third quarter Suburban Office MarketView. To request the full report, fill out the form at the bottom of this post.

BostonSuburbanImageQ3The Suburban Office market experienced a slow Q3 2017, recording 685,640 sq. ft. of negative absorption. A number of large blocks of space were returned throughout the market, primarily driven by relocations and added sublease space in the Route 128 West submarket. Fundamentals remain healthy despite these new vacancies, as demand remains steady and there are several large active requirements throughout the market.

Overall, availability and vacancy increased 30 basis points (bps) and 20 bps quarter-over-quarter to 21.3% and 19.0%, respectively, a direct result of the considerable added inventory.


Urban industrial heating up as speed-to-ship demand rises


Short on time? Here are the highlights of our third quarter Greater Boston Industrial MarketView. To request the full report, fill out the form at the bottom of this post.

The Greater Boston Industrial market BostonIndustrialQ3sustained its momentum into the third quarter, recording almost 530,000 sq. ft. of absorption in Q3 2017 and over 1.6 million sq. ft. year-to-date. The outlook remains positive as strong rents, accompanied by declining availability and vacancy, continued through the third quarter.

Demand for industrial space closer to the city continued to increase, while some obsolete industrial product in the suburbs is under consideration for redevelopment. With urban rents increasing, companies have been looking to land close to the city along the Route 128 belt; however, due to tight space, some are being pushed out to the quieter Route 495 market.