Three signs that spring has finally arrived in Boston: 1) green grass on the Esplanade, 2) the Red Sox back at Fenway Park, and 3) NAIOP MA’s Annual Bus Tour. The 11th edition of the tour took place on Wednesday as more than 250 people aboard five buses toured properties along what is suddenly one of the hottest stretches in commercial real estate in the region: the Route 128 Corridor from Needham to Lynnfield. Here’s a summary:
- Needham’s Economic Development Director Devra Bailin, discussed efforts to rebrand the former New England Business Center as Needham Crossing
- Justin Krebs and Mark Roopenian described two of Normandy Real Estate Partners’ projects along the route:
- Center 128, which will redevelop Needham’s former New England Business Center into an 825,000-square-foot “super-park,” including a Marriott Residence Inn Hotel
- Station at Riverside, which will transform MBTA’s Riverside Station into a mixed-use development featuring 295 apartments, a 10-story 225,000 square foot office building, and a 20,000 square foot retail village
- Mike Wilcox of The Bulfinch Companies discussed development at Needham Crossing and the branding and leasing efforts at Atrium Center. Wilcox concluded with an exciting Atrium Center video that you can see here.
- In his market overview, Jeremy Grossman of CBRE/Grossman Retail Advisors noted the “flight to quality” among retailers, New Urbanism, the continued expansion of restaurants, the intensifying battle among grocers, and the strengthening of regional markets such as Chestnut Hill, Lynnfield, and Northborough as key trends
Six tour buses, escorted by members of the MA State Police, traveled along Route 128 beginning in the Needham/Newton area and ending in Lynnfield. Here are a few highlights:
- The ongoing transformation in Chestnut Hill, including New England Development’s Chestnut Hill Square, WS Development’s The Street, and The Bulfinch Companies’ Atrium Center at Chestnut Hill
- Progress at 1265 Main Street, the former Polaroid site in Waltham
- New opportunities at Davis Marcus Partners’ Reservoir Woods in Waltham
- Redevelopment at Boston Properties’ Waltham-based Bay Colony office park
- Retail and entertainment center 3rd Ave Burlington, part of Nordblom’s NorthWest Park, which will also include a 140,000 square foot Wegmans
The tour stopped in Lynnfield for lunch at MarketStreet Lynnfield, a 680,000 square foot mixed-use development currently under construction. Inside a space that will become a Shoe Market store, WS Development’s Tom DeSimone and National Development’s Ted Tye shared details of the joint venture scheduled to open in August 2013.
When complete, MarketStreet Lynnfield will include 395,000 square feet of shops and restaurants, 80,000 square feet of office space, 180 residential apartments known as Arborpoint at MarketStreet, and the 9-hole King Rail Reserve golf course.
I caught up with a few people on tour. Here’s what they had to say:
- Tom DeSimone, partner, WS Development: “There’s no better way to understand real estate than to actually be there. The NAIOP Bus Tour gets you closer to the real estate by providing an introduction. Then you can go back and look at whatever may have peaked your interest.”
- Ted Tye, managing partner, National Development: “It’s great to people out here having a nice day, getting out from behind their desks, and seeing some projects that are being built. And, it’s incredible that in 2013 that we actually have things being built.”
- David Chilinski, co-founder and president, PCA: “The best part of the NAIOP Bus Tour is that you really get a sense of what’s happening and, importantly, what’s new in the marketplace. We all know the tried and true properties, but the tour lets you see new projects as well as cases where people are reinventing or adding to projects. That’s the importance of this tour.”
- Sarah Walker Weatherbee, managing director, Keller Augusta: “You get a sense of history as well as what the future holds for the Boston-area markets like the ones we saw today. And, the networking that the Bus Tour enables is unique to NAIOP—that really makes the day exceptional.”
While here, please read David’s important post below about National Development’s Roseann Sdoia, who was seriously injured in the Boston Marathon bombings. David includes a link to Roseann’s Recovery Fund for those who wish to donate toward expenses for Roseann’s treatment and recovery.