Tug o’ war between Boston and the ‘burbs

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From Nate Ardente
Research Analyst 

Decisions, decisions. It is what many tenants and landlords are facing now in the Greater Boston commercial office real estate market. Where should they locate their office or lab facility? Where should they invest? Is it better to be located in the city or the suburbs? The debate between office versus suburban locations is alive and well. Which side is winning in this tug of war?

In yesterday’s NAIOP of Massachusetts event, a panel of some of Boston’s most respected local commercial real estate professionals discussed the various factors that come into play. The consensus after deliberating for an hour at the Westin Waterfront in the Seaport District was: both.

The event was moderated by JLL’s Frank Petz, Managing Director of Capital Markets, and included Tom Alperin of National Development, Bryan Koop of Boston Properties, Andrew Majewski of CBRE, and David Martel of Cushman & Wakefield.

The event was moderated by JLL’s Frank Petz, Managing Director of Capital Markets, and included Tom Alperin of National Development, Bryan Koop of Boston Properties, Andrew Majewski of CBRE, and David Martel of Cushman & Wakefield.

 

That being said, one topic that garnered a lot of attention was the strength of what we refer to as the “Fortress Market” – defined by cities along the I-95/Route 128 corridor and the Waltham/Burlington corridor. This area has and continues to increase its prominence as a premier place for many firms to locate. In fact, as of second quarter, the Fortress Market displayed a lower vacancy than downtown Boston for the first time since 2001.

Historical vacancies

Tenants base their location decisions upon many factors such as talent, amenities, cost and access. The balance between these factors is what separates each market, and depending on how tenants weigh each factor results on where they will end up. In the end, Greater Boston offers a variety of settings in which a firm can meet its growth objectives, and the suburbs continue to hold their own in this tug of war.

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