New Leasing Opportunity in Waltham

This is a great office location for a value-conscious professional user.

5,700 s.f. in up to 4 ready-to-move-in office suites.

1275 Main Street is very close to shops, restaurants, and the Market Basket supermarket in west Waltham. This is the epicenter of the suburban Boston office market – surrounded by Class A offices and headquarters space, such as the adjacent neighbor: Clarks Shoes. Also, very close to Rt. 95 and a short drive to office parks to the south in Newton and Wellesley, and to the north in Bedford and Burlington.

We are happy to provide a tour and to share more of the details on this option.

Check out the leasing flyer here.

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Monthly Green Office Space Availability Report

We have investigated and located a number of excellent options for small businesses that are looking for “green” space to work out of in Greater Boston. Our data service is constantly updated and we can specify the criteria that you need. There are dozens of options. The region contains a high number of LEED-certified buildings which are operated in a way to enhance user health and comfort. Some of these buildings are owned by the most progressive landlords in the country, such as Boston Properties, who recognize that green features in their buildings are a way of reducing operations risk and other risk factors. They also make the building better for the occupants – especially your coworkers!

 

When you choose a green buildings, you are telling your colleagues and anyone who might be a future employees that you care about their work environment. You are saying that your company has values that are beyond the financial bottom line – you are concerned about the triple bottom line of economics, society, and the environment. Whether you own or rent certified green space, you are sending a message to clients, customers, the capital markets, and the community that you are running your business in an ethical manner. You are incorporating a longer-term view.

Note the diverse locations of these types of opportunities throughout Greater Boston:

We encourage you to review these options below. Some of these are direct deals with owners, some are sublet spaces. Thank you to CoStar for coordinating the information in these listings. They are all great offices for your business to work out of. Take a look:

Here’s a gorgeous green building at 77 City Point in Waltham. This BXP property has 17,084 sf available on the third floor and up to 36,000 sf on the fourth floor. The building has a fitness center, restaurant and even a car charging station on site.

Also in Waltham, in our own back yard, the Clarks office has between 10,000 and 30,000 sf available. You can sublet from this very vibrant user – part of the design innovation cluster of the area. This is another great Boston Properties project, and part of the redeveloped old Polaroid site. Great access to Rt. 128 and also the big Market Basket and associated restaurants within walking distance.

Heading into Cambridge, we have located great office suites very close to Alewife along the Red Line, at 125 Cambridge Park Drive. This building has perfect suites for small start-ups needing 2114 sf and 3998 sf-sized suites. Some larger spaces are also available. Managed by CBRE, this facility has numerous amenities and is LEED Silver certified.

And going into Boston there are a few opportunities to find an office located in a high-performance building. This one, the Van Ness at 1325 Boylston Street in the Fenway, is an incredible walkable neighborhood with live-work-play options. Built in 2015, this is a LEED Gold building also managed by the experts at CBRE. In the office section are suites of 8356 sf, 16,940 sf and also some 31,501 sf half-floors available as sublets. Contact us if you are interested in this very cool location!

As you can see, the market always some movement and spaces open up continuously. Whether you need an employee-supporting high-performance space in the suburbs or deep in Boston, we can help you locate the best place for you to stay productive and grow your business. We have over 50 great locations to choose from – give us a call and we can help you do the right thing for your real estate requirements. We’re always available at 781 290 8101. Thank you!

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Flex Space for Innovation

Boston is a hotbed for the innovation economy. We have start-ups working to disrupt biotech, robotics, pharmaceuticals, and online retail. It is a real ecosystem, stemming from the major research institutions centered in the Boston-Cambridge area.

Many start-ups are spin-offs from research labs. Lee Partners has worked with many. We help small founding teams find the right office or R&D space to work out of. We’ve done this many times. It’s great to work with visionaries and super-smart people who are dedicated to solving deeply technical problems. As they scale, we can help them grow by providing guidance for the real estate decisions side of their operations.

We also partner with some places that are natural locations for these small teams to work out of. One is the CIC – formerly the Cambridge Innovation Center. They have a lot of co-working space and small office suites. Below are the “phone booth” spaces. The offices are larger!

This month they called our attention to a few places that might be of interest to our client community. They have a suite at 245 Main St, Cambridge, in the heart of Kendall Square, which can accommodate 16-30 people w/ 4 en-suite offices and lots of open space. It costs a pretty penny, but it includes all the amenities of the fully-staffed and serviced CIC space. It is literally plug-and-play, and it’s impressive.

Also in the CIC family is a space at 50 Milk Street, in the heart of the financial district in downtown Boston. This facility has many small businesses getting work done in a seamless fashion. It is close to everything and right on both the Red Line and the Orange Line. A short walk to the Aquarium where you can watch the seals (and tourists)!

This suite has room for 15-20 people and has great views to the south through downtown Boston. On the 18th floor of the facility, it puts you in direct contact with other tech firms, legal practices, social enterprises and others working to make a difference.

The design is exciting and stimulating, and the on-site staff are super helpful. There are always a ton of snacks and a “wall of tea” to choose from to keep your creative juices flowing. You can just focus on your product or service.

Let us know if you’d be interested in taking a look at these spaces. We can help you evaluate if the services are worth the cost for you. From our experience, many startups need to focus on their business 100%. The serviced office can be just right. And when you outgrow these “nursery spaces,” we will be right there with you to help you find the next great place for your business to thrive.

 

 

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Research shows productivity gains from high performance space

The high performance real estate services company known as “stok” has performed a meta-analysis of over 60 research studies on high performance and green building portfolios. They were seeking to quantify the benefits of green buildings for real estate investors. They have provided services and executed on over 150M s.f. over the past 10 years, based in San Francisco and Denver. stok’s growing team of multidisciplinary professionals guides clients from early due diligence, site selection, and space acquisition through the process of financial analysis, project management, biophilic design, performance engineering, and building certification achievement. Their clients include Boston Properties, Skanska, Facebook, and Hilton Resorts.

Traditional analysis for commercial space has measured the positive benefits of reduced operations and maintenance costs and subsequent increased asset values for high performance buildings. Reduced operations expenses immediately enhances return on equity by reducing gross expenses on a property.

However, proponents of high performance space are shifting the narrative away from operations savings to a stronger case for the investment and design decisions to utilize environmentally advantageous real estate. The better reason is the improvement of personnel in the buildings. The findings are impressive. Overall, high performance real estate can provide a whopping 6.29% in profitability increases due to:

  • increased employee productivity,
  • reduced absenteeism,
  • increased retention and
  • brand loyalty.

This can add up to millions of dollars for the average medium-sized business – something with approximately 800 employees in 150k s.f. of space. These benefits translate across scales and sizes of businesses, and are higher when considering specific tenant fit-out of existing buildings as compared to base buildings construction.

Businesses spend 80-92% of expenses on employees, versus 6-15% on building operations. Annualizing the cost of the building is a mere 1-4% of expenses each year. Thus, a small effort to enhance design and operations can have a big effect on the occupants. This is part of an macro-economic trend transitioning productivity from tangible assets like machinery toward intangible assets like intellectual capital from employees.

The report find that green building premiums range from -0.4% to 12.5% of a similar code compliant building. This is a small amount of per-square-foot cost compared to the psf of employees. The investment in high performance space yields real returns on the productivity of a firm, far above operational savings that have traditionally been the driver of green building choices. With more and more studies confirming the benefits of green and healthy buildings, owners and building operators are starting to embrace these benefits to attain market advantage.

The research, across multiple research projects in the past decade, sites three pages of references from real estate dedicated entities such as: NAIOP, BOMA, Rocky Mountain Institute, USGBC, and various academic institutions. It is worth reviewing and considering how your operation is harnessing the power of high performance to create the highest value for users of your office space. You can get a copy of stok’s report here.

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More Green Buildings: Space Available Today

We have just run the monthly survey of leasable space available in green buildings.

We use the main real estate database through our subscription at CoStar and filter market information and cross-reference with the USGBC to determine which are the best green buildings in Greater Boston that have office space available. Here’s an overview of all the possibilities (this excludes Boston and Cambridge, see further below):

We think some of these buildings are the best buildings you can operate out of: good for your coworkers, good for guests, and good for the larger community. These are the buildings that are more energy efficient, have more healthy materials in them, and are taking strides to be higher performing.

Let us know if you are looking for a “green office” space: we can help you review options, tour buildings, and negotiate to get the best space for your operation at the best rate.

Here are a few examples available NOW:

[contact us to review the full list and to hone in on where you need an office]

130 Turner St, Waltham, is a LEED certified building that has a couple of 8,000 and 9,000 sf suites available for lease. Very close to Rt. 128 and the Mass Pike.

This is a well-known building along 128, #230 City Point in Waltham. A LEED Gold building owned and operated by Boston Properties. There is a 7400 sf sublet available and a 10,300 sf direct deal: both great office spaces for a growing business. Location is rich in amenities and easy to get to.

Looking into Cambridge, we have more than a few spaces available for tenants seeking green office space. Below is 55 Cambridge Parkway, right in Kendall Square, the heart of the innovation economy. There is a 6200 sf sublet, subdividable to 3100sf if necessary. Let us know if you want to check it out! We know of another dozen properties that can provide green office space right now in Cambridge.

In Boston, among the many options, we can show you space downtown at One Beacon (a former “Green Building of the Year”), 33 Arch Street, or 225 Franklin. 99 High Street, below, has two suites of 11,400 sf, and a couple of larger floorplates. Subdivisible to 4,900 sf. Some of these spaces are up on the 13th and 28th floor!

Heading to the Back Bay, we know space is available at LEED-certified 101 Huntington, 200 Clarendon St and 500 Boylston Street (seen below). This marquee property has suites down to 1500 sf available, mostly in blocks of 6000 sf on a few different floors. Let us know if you’d like to be in the heart of Boston’s most walkable business neighborhood.

We hope we can help you find great space in great green buildings. Give us a call and we can work together to meet your needs for your next office. Thank you!

PS: here’s that map image of the green spaces available in Boston and Cambridge. Lots to choose from:

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Groundbreaking change ahead for Lexington

by Bruce Lee

I recently attended a presentation by the Middlesex 3 Coalition on “What’s happening in
Middlesex 3” with speakers from the Town of Lexington, AHA Consulting Engineers and Maugel Architects.

This blog entry focus on the very positive change in attitude by the Town of Lexington officials towards favoring much more commercial development- especially within the Hartwell Avenue corridor.

The event was led by Stephanie Cronin – Executive Director of Middlesex 3 Coalition. Stephanie introduced James Malloy, the new Town Manager for Lexington – installed 7 months ago. Jim shared that he has 31 years of experience in town management, much of which was with the town of Westborough, MA. He started off with sharing his experience in Westborough where 52% of that town’s revenue was from the commercial tax base. He added that Lexington with most of its commercial tax base located in the Hartwell Avenue area comprises only 11% of its tax base. He wants to build on this small commercial base.

Two major issues need to be addressed to accomplish this goal 1) improve the infrastructure and 2) address the “zoning gate.” Issues to be answered include what zoning is needed to assist and promote redevelopment, and to this end, Jim and the town Economic Planning Director want to work with local property owners and their suggestions. One large issue facing increased development opportunity is the fact that currently there is only one way in and out of Hartwell Avenue to reach Route 128. Jim said the town would need help from MIT and Hanscom Field (federal government) to find a creative way to support a two-way in and out of the Hartwell Ave corridor.

Jim then introduced Melissa Tintocalis the Economic Director for the town of Lexington.
Melissa explained the town was working on a comprehensive plan or “blueprint” for increased land use development for the town – to include transportation and commercial /residential components. Commercial development within Lexington has lagged far behind its neighboring communities.

Since 2010 the commercial property base in Lexington has increased only 2% – from 8,500,000 sf to 8,800,00 sf. She stated that Waltham’s base has doubled, and Burlington has tripled. Melissa then “ran the numbers” where it was shown that all-in lease rates in Cambridge were averaging $95 sf, Waltham $56 sf, and Lexington $34 sf. Cambridge has a 2% vacancy rate and Lexington has an 11-12% vacancy rate. Obviously other factors are causing the vacancy rate to be much lower in Cambridge – but there are things that can be done to attract new companies to Lexington. This reality has led to planning for the “Hartwell Avenue Initiative” where technology and more in-fill development could be allowed – to include even re-considering height restrictions required to comply with air traffic requirements at Hanscom Field.

The goal of the Initiative would be to consider Hartwell Ave and Hartwell North, properties in Lexington north of Rt. 128, as an entire development corridor to increase its commercial attractiveness and “walkability.” Two recent examples were shown – 20 Maguire Road and 115 Hartwell Ave where food halls were incorporated into each existing project giving them more of a neighborhood feel. The new Hartwell Avenue Initiative Plan is expected to be completed in 2020 and presented to the town for approval.

Mark Pelletier of Maugel architects was then introduced and he added to the presentation by explaining the firms past rich history of supporting local development projects in this area – especially within the towns of Lexington and Burlington. He offered that many company decision makers searching for new space locations want buildings that “users want bright, vivid, sharp space and to get that ‘campus feel.’” Developers need to tie buildings together whenever possible. Also, the use of bamboo panels and living walls are examples of items being considered. He stated, “every owner wants a timeless look with a bright palette.” Also, sometimes you can accomplish this economically with panted concrete panels and lobby make-overs – examples shown on color slides included 330 Billerica Road in Chelmsford, and 75 & 17 Hartwell Avenue where large windows facing Hartwell Ave were added, and new vertical atrium entranceways were attached to increase the building’s visibility.

Pelletier also said “it is very competitive to attract and keep talented employees happy.” The space needs to be flexible and cubicles are not what new employees coming out of educational institutions are used to. There is a need for flexible space where employees working in an open, sometimes noisy, environment can go elsewhere within the space for some quiet, casual, concentrating time. “They want a campus feel with walkable amenities.”

Another “want:” key components in expanding a company’s interests is reducing the company “carbon footprint” – combined with sustainability efforts. When I asked Mark how sustainability and reducing the company carbon footprint factored in the decision to locate in a specific building he said it was a growing factor and now a part of new design projects. Mark stated, “you have to have it.” For sustainability elements, companies with genuine interest incorporate it into the design phase for three reasons 1) to show employees that the company supports these efforts 2) economics – saving money and 3) for marketing purposes. Karen Rice with AHA Engineering then made a professional presentation of the company – including its history, local and national scope, and local development projects completed.

Summary:
The town of Lexington is getting serious about supporting increased commercial development to add to its tax base to help fund over $600M in projected town expenditures for projects in the planning stages – to include $350 to $500 M for a new high school and other municipal projects. This is huge change in favor of new commercial development and expanding re-development of properties in the Hartwell Avenue sector of Lexington. You can see more of the details of the Hartwell Avenue Initiative at the town’s website, courtesy Gamble Associates. It appears that the outcome will be much more favorable to commercial development in Lexington than in the past.

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New Headquarters: 1275 Main Street, Waltham

Lee Partners of New England has moved!

 

We are now located at 1275 Main Street, in Waltham. This is also known as Rt. 117 and we share the driveway with the new Clark’s Headquarters at 1265 Main Street, developed by Boston Properties. You may recall that site as the former Polaroid facility, highly visible from Rt. 128. It’s a great location for our Lee Partners Headquarters.

If you are ever in the neighborhood, give us a call at 781 290 8101 and we can meet up for a coffee or get a sandwich nearby. The “sub factory” is across the street and the giant Market Basket is a short walk away. There are a couple of fancy bar-restaurants here too. We’d love to meet up with our friends and neighbors.

We have plenty of parking at our office, so if you want to stop by for a quick consultation on your real estate needs, please don’t hesitate. We look forward to catching up and helping out.

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April 2019: Availabilities in Green Buildings

The properties below are LEED-certified buildings with space available (as of April 2, 2019). If you are looking for great space in this area, please give us a call and we can help you explore the options.

There are more than 90 different green buildings in Greater Boston with available space right now. Please contact us to run a survey according to your needs and we can find space for you.

Check out our “Properties/CurrentAvailabilities” page for more listings

120 Presidential Way, Woburn (near the I-93 & I-95 Interchange)

LEED Silver (2010)

Class A Office – 75,000 SF total;

13,160 SF Available – $31.00/SF gross lease rate ((landlord pays for maintenance, taxes, and insurance).

 

77 Fourth Avenue, Waltham

Class A office – 209,707 SF Total;

36,672 SF Available – Negotiable lease rate – Anticipate high $30’s gross

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Update on life sciences client work

During the first quarter of 2019 Lee Partners has focused on continued representation of companies within the life-science industry in the Boston area.

Formulatrix & Sun Pharmaceutical
Lee Partners, representing Formulatrix – a company focused on laboratory automation
solutions, identified and negotiated the purchase of 5-7 DeAngelo Drive, Bedford, MA, for $1.4 million – a 13,000 sq ft. single-story office / lab building.

Bruce Lee, responding to the need by Formulatrix to expand and purchase a property close to their existing headquarters location, searched out 5-7 DeAngelo Drive as he noticed it was being under-utilized by another local company Pharmalucense – a division of Sun Pharmaceuticals, an international well recognized pharma company.

In a complex multi-party negotiation, Bruce was able to communicate with the owner – Sun Pharma – and put together an offer from Formulatrix that was eventually accepted. It was a time-intensive process due to the various Sun Pharma groups involved and the time-zone differences of the many parties.

Formulatrix will fully renovate the building and property for its expected future growth in Bedford. Bruce worked closely with Formulatrix founders Farhana Stevenson and Jeremy Stevenson and CEO Mohamed Katob throughout the entire acquisition process. The transaction was facilitated on behalf of Sun Pharmaceutical by Dan O’Brien, Senior Director of Engineering and Darryl LeSueur, Vice President and Head of Operations North America for Sun Pharmaceutical. Their assistance was invaluable and facilitated a co-operative effort to complete the sale.

 

BeiGene
BeiGene, a life sciences company with worldwide headquarters in Beijing China commenced a 5-year lease term in January for 15,000 sq ft. of office space at 55 Cambridge Parkway in Cambridge, MA. Lee Partners was engaged to search for BeiGene office space approximately two years ago and located a sublease opportunity at this property from Alexion Pharmaceutical.

Subsequent negotiations resulted in an expansion within the building and on January 1, 2019 a direct lease with the landlord commenced. Bruce Lee represented BeiGene in both
transactions. Beigene is creating and developing next generation cancer treatments.

The company was attracted to the Kendall Square area of Cambridge to be a part of the Cambridge “Hub” of pharmaceutical professionals. Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA is internationally known as a center of life science innovation and now BeiGene will be a strong contributor. Bruce worked closely with Beigene CFO Howard Liang throughout the search process and helped to finalize lease negotiations.

 

ArQule

ArQule moved into new Lab space on the fourth floor of 12 Gill Street, Woburn during March 2019 with representation assistance from Lee Partners. Bruce Lee worked closely with existing lab personnel to identify appropriate space in the suburban Boston market for ArQule to expand their existing lab operations into 3,059 SF of newly renovated lab space. Peter Lawrence, President & COO of ArQule and Steve Migausky, VP Legal were very actively involved in the negotiations to secure the space. Representing the landlord was Rob Jacobian, Senior Leasing Director for Cummings Properties. As a unified term we all worked thru some difficult lease terminology differences to arrive at a successful outcome – finished lab space at a very competitive price point that will allow ArQule to operate from this new lab space for the next five years.

 

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Outlook for 2019

The View “on the Street”

The strong economy in Massachusetts continues to drive commercial real estate markets – asking office lease rates have increased throughout 2018 as demand for office space remains positive. Waltham is still the epicenter for new office deliveries and absorption, having six consecutive years of strong positive absorption. Burlington asking lease rates have increased from the low $20’s per sq ft to the low to mid $30’s per sq ft in the past three years. Similarly, Lexington has experienced increasing lease rates from the $20’s to the low $30’s for office space. Increasing demand and lease rates in the Rte. 128 towns of Waltham, Lexington, and Burlington has resulted in some tenants searching for and leasing space in Bedford where average lease rates have risen from the upper teen’s to mid $20’s and higher into the high $20’s for Class A space. This demand has resulted in very positive absorption of 150,000 sq ft during 2018 for Bedford.

Commentary:
Although office leasing rates have increased substantially in Burlington during 2018, absorption has been minimal and many feel that lease rates have plateaued – except for the high demand area of Burlington Mall Road and “The District” (a redevelopment of the previously named New England Executive Park).

Lab space continues to be in demand – with tenants searching for alternatives to the super
expensive cost of lab space currently offered in Cambridge. Therefore, Lexington, Bedford, Waltham, and Woburn have benefited from lab expansion and start-up company lab space demand.

Low interest rates (although recently rising slightly) compared to historical rates are still positive for development, property sales, and company expansion. Unemployment rates remain very low and we anticipate this to accommodate commercial property demand throughout 2019.

Companies requiring expansion space or anticipating lease expirations in 2019 and 2020 should commence their space search activity now in light of the competitive landscape and our forecasted future for 2019. Lease rates are higher than in the past few years in the Rt. 128 market and in Cambridge and are anticipated to remain elevated. The best practice would be to start property research now for any anticipated expansion or relocation in 2019-2020.

Individuals that need office space now have numerous alternatives for 2019 – to include
national and regional options from WeWork and Workbar and Regus – and also other smaller operators within the communities along Rte. 128. These offerings are fine for individual producers – and smaller requirements. They represent a cost effective alternative to traditional office space that requires typically a longer term space commitment. WorkBar seems to be a business model similar to Planet Fitness – where members “drop in” for a few hours a week and the open space concept can work for large numbers for clients who can be comfortable using a small space in a shared workplace environment.

Prediction:
Office leasing rates to “level off” for Class A space in the low to mid $30’s – with the exception of “trophy” product continuing to demand high $30’s; absorption to continue to be strong – with Waltham the market leader, Office vacancy rates to average in the 10% area – indicating a healthy overall market. We anticipate positive economic conditions for 2019 to continue to provide “tailwind” for company expansion, leasing activity, and re-development opportunities.

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