Boston Industry Behind Major New Trends in Commercial Office Space Market

It’s well known that Boston’s office space market is tight, with demand outpacing space. The effects of growth-industries like bio-pharma on Boston’s most desirable industrial neighborhoods are palpable. For many years we’ve seen a constant shuffling for space in tech and bio-tech favored areas like Kendall Square. But what doesn’t often get discussed is that Boston industry isn’t just filling space, but also leading change in the commercial office space market.

Just as Manhattan is witnessing a dramatic shift between the historic districts of Media and Finance (with Media moving downtown), in Boston, media companies are now moving into the financial district and finance firms are moving to the Seaport. Boston Globe Media Partners has
planned to lease 75,000 square feet of space at 53 State Street, while Former tenants Goodwin Procter will be relocating to the Seaport District. In general, the legal and finance industry no longer lead Boston business in a tech and biotech dominated world.

Boston’s commercial real-estate buzz is largely built on the strength of bio-pharma and tech, and because of the city’s underlying strength as a center for education and healthcare, these organic factors are likely to continue to support the market’s robustness. 2015 was a record-breaking year for construction trades and deals, with $5 billion changing hands. The core districts like the Seaport and Kendall have experienced double digit rent growth year over year. Availability will probably increase in small increments, as the south and suburban markets begin to offer cost- savings as an alternative.

The dynamic, innovative nature of Boston business has also driven experiments in progressive office space, but there are signs that this is starting to shift back to more traditional environments as the need for private space for confidentiality is becoming apparent. The most innovative workplace
designs, like benching, hoteling and total open floor plates may not be ideal for some companies, who are re-configuring the ratio of open to closed spaces.

In short, industry in Boston isn’t just filling units, but re-configuring the function and personality of our neighborhoods. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in terms of attracting development to nearby residential areas. For more on this topic, please see the following article in

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Published on April 6, 2016