“The city is booming. Our challenge is to keep it going in these heady times.”
This is how Boston’s new Chief of Economic Development John Barros, opened his keynote at the Boston Business Journal’s Best in Boston Real Estate program (slide show). He went on to lay out his vision for the city: to extend economic development beyond Downtown to all neighborhoods.
The numbers Barros presented on the city’s influx of construction are staggering. According to the BRA, there are currently 51 projects being built totaling 13 million square feet. Sixteen projects representing another 9.2 million square feet are under review.
“This adds up to a lot of opportunity,” Barros said. “My job is to make Boston a city for everyone, and reduce the skills gap.” He pointed to the audience at Sheraton Boston when he said: “If you succeed we succeed.”
The BBJ honored nine projects across the Greater Boston landscape. Among them was Related Beal’s Congress Square (formerly The Block on Congress). The five-building complex, a full city block at the corner of State and Congress, won in the Financing category. Winning in Best Green Practices was Skanska’s 150 Second Street in Cambridge. It is the first commercial lab building to be certified LEED Platinum. JLL is leasing and marketing both properties.
The Visionary Award was presented to industry veteran and philanthropist Bill Cummings of Cummings Properties. He spoke with pride about investing in his employees. “The fact that people come here and stay a long time makes a huge difference,” Cummings said.