NAIOP Bus Tour: 10 Facts Learned on the Trial Run

The following blog post was submitted by Duncan Gratton, Senior Managing Director, Principal at Cassidy Turley FHO.

This year marks the 10th Anniversary of NAIOP’s Bus Tour, and as the Vice President of the Bus Tour Committee, I had a hand in planning and designing it. The 2012 Bus Tour, What’s Big and Breaking in Greater Boston, is a fast-paced live market update on some of the most dynamic markets in the area, including Boston’s Seaport, Fenway, Longwood and Cambridge.

The actual date of the Bus Tour is May 2, but this week – along with Bus Tour Captains and NAIOP staff – I went on a dry run of the route. We saw a lot of projects breaking ground and learned several interesting facts from the knowledgeable Bus Tour Captains! Here are the ten I found most interesting:

  1. The largest private construction project in the US is located at Fan Pier. The Vertex buildings are 1,100,000 SF and $900,000,000!
  2. Three of the largest academic/medical clusters in the US are located in Boston. They are:MGH/Partners

    Longwood Medical/Harvard

    Boston Medical Center/Boston University

  3. Kendall Square in Cambridge was supposed to be the original site of NASA. After JFK was assassinated, Lyndon Johnson became President and being from Texas, he chose Houston as the new location.
  4. Boston University is one of the largest landlords in Back Bay/Fenway. They control over 1,000,000 SF of commercial and non-academic real estate.
  5. There are three new life science buildings under construction in Kendall Square (Pfizer, Novartis and Broad Institute) and two new office buildings (Biogen Idec). All are 100% leased.
  6. Rents in Kendall Square and the Seaport District have jumped over 10% in the last 12 months.
  7. New apartment construction is booming – at least six new projects are underway or about to start in Boston!
  8. New Balance has announced plans for four new buildings at Brighton Landing, including a new 250,000 SF world headquarters building. In addition, they are planning a 345,000 SF sports facility that will include a hockey rink and track.
  9. Harvard is constructing an ‘Innovation Lab’ in the former WGBH buildings on Western Avenue in Allston.
  10. Boston University has announced that construction will commence this summer on a new lacrosse stadium on Babcock Street, thanks in part to a $3,000,000 donation from New Balance.

I hope you will join us on May 2 to learn more about What’s Big and Breaking in Greater Boston. Get a sneak peek of what’s in store.

What the Future Holds for Cambridge, MA – The Innovation Capital of the World

This blog post was submitted by Allyson Quinby, Account Executive at Solomon McCown & Company.

NAIOP Massachusetts’ “Cambridge: Ready, Set, Go!” breakfast event on February 15 featured a well-versed panel of real estate executives who spoke on “What’s new and what’s next for this hot market.”  Mary Lentz, McCall & Almy, moderated the expert panel that included Tom Andrews, Alexandria Real Estate Equities; Michael Cantalupa, Boston Properties; Shawn Hurley, Skanska USA Commercial Development; Steven Marsh, MIT Investment Management Company; and Thomas O’Brien, The HYM Investment Group.

View photos and event presentation slides.

Marsh noted how the world is changing every day, and that the U.S. along with many other superpowers such as China and India, continues to look for new ways to compete. For example, the U.S. aggressively leads the way when it comes to innovation, and as Marsh discussed, Cambridge has long been the epicenter of innovation productivity.

Due to Vertex’s move to Boston’s Seaport district, many in the real estate industry worry that the Cambridge market no longer holds the same stature it once did. However, NAIOP’s expert panelists assured us that we are in a natural state in Cambridge, and as stated by Cantalupa, “If you can afford to be next to MIT, you will be.” The lab market is steady, and many developers like Skanska USA Commercial Development are currently taking time to re-evaluate outdated space to create real estate opportunities that will fit all types of tenant needs in the future.

Home to two of the finest institutions of higher education in the world, Harvard and MIT, the panelists argued that Cambridge has gained and will maintain a prominent reputation. Companies in the life-sciences, technology, bio-pharmacology, education and innovation sectors, along with many startups, have found their homes in Cambridge. Due to the competitive advantage that comes with a Cambridge address, real estate firms have experienced a tremendous amount of success leasing space in this market. As the panelists noted, there is still an active demand and we continue to see new development activity in this market today.

Marsh and Andrews also spoke about the importance of proximity for lab space to MIT and other academic buildings. It is crucial that all facilities continue to collaborate, creating an environment that fosters innovation. Hurley also noted how mixed-use space needs to continue to be developed; it is important that we connect lab to retail and public spaces.

O’Brien discussed the next generation workforce and the need to build corporate and residential spaces that attract young professionals. His firm is developing the NorthPoint neighborhood, a mixed-use campus with flexibility – one that allows people to live and work in the same place.

Cantalupa and Hurley spoke on how real estate developers need to build flexible buildings that can adjust to market demands. Hurley noted how Skanska’s plan behind 150 Second Street was to deliver a Class-A, highly flexible property with a sustainable design that had features all tenants could enjoy. The building was also designed to accommodate either one or multiple tenants.

As stated by Marsh (and I agree), “Cambridge is special – it goes well beyond real estate” – and it is here that we want to continue the innovation story.

Note from NAIOP: Learn more about the dynamic Cambridge market by attending our 10th Anniversary Bus Tour, Big & Breaking in Greater Boston. Cambridge, along with Fenway, Longwood, Boston’s Seaport and Allston will be featured during this fast-paced and informative live market update bus tour.

Windshield Tour of Boston’s Four Hottest Markets

What if you could get to know a key sector of the Greater Boston commercial real estate market in a half day?  How would you like to get in-depth insight and analysis on existing and proposed development projects, and the latest sales, lease, and development activity? 

You can do this on October 6th at the NAIOP Massachusetts Annual Bus Tour: “Markets in Transition: Today’s Projects and Tomorrow’s Opportunities.” 

Networking at NAIOP Bus Tour

If you never have participated in one of these tours, you are missing out on a great opportunity to understand what is happening in the market from the leading brokers in the area. The 2010 NAIOP Bus Tour will visit Boston’s Seaport area, Cambridge, North Inner Suburbs, and Waltham.  

You’ll be able to ask the experts questions, while networking with the region’s owners, investors, developers, brokers and real estate professionals. 

Contact Pauline Rand at 781-453-6900 ext. 4 or rand@naiopma.org or visit our website to register today.