Migration into Boston’s CBD continues at a feverish pace. Companies want to be in the city again, and real estate has become the catalyst for their brand. At ULI Boston’s 2014 Trends in Real Estate Forum, JLL’s Ben Heller said that companies are willing to pay the delta to be here, citing eBay’s move and Community Innovation Center’s expansion to downtown as prime examples of this trend which started in 2012.
“The impact of multi-family has been transformative ,” he said. “Retail has flourished as a result of these created, self sustaining environments.”
Ben described North Station as the city’s new frontier. “Secondary markets are outperforming the core. The definition of Main and Main has changed.”
According to our research, North Station’s stock of office space will nearly double when proposed development is completed, bringing the total of North Station office stock to approximately 5 million sf. Converse moving its new world headquarters to Lovejoy Wharf has opened eyes and further solidified the submarket as a destination.
North Station has all the elements of a thriving neighborhood: transportation, existing residential and retail bolstered by the introduction of new product, and an office market of non-traditional space attracting new companies. In the end, North Station will be a whole new experience in a seasoned neighborhood.
Build to suit activity in the CBD is back. It is being driven, according to Ben, by pure economics. “The numbers are in favor of developers again,” he noted. “New construction is no longer a decision based on corporate downsizing, consolidation, and tax incentives.”
The Trends Forum program included a stellar panel of experts discussing strategies for successful investing over the next 6-to-24 months: Boston Properties’ Bryan Koop, Steven Marsh of MIT Investment Management Company, Synergy Investment’s Maura Moffatt, and Doug Poutasse of Bentall Kennedy. The moderator was ULI District Council Chair Daniel St. Clair of Spaulding & Slye Investments.