Boston Property: Opportunity for Investment?
Not long ago, Boston’s Seaport District was nothing more than a massive parking lot, dotted by a handful of professional service firms and a convention center - although beautifully positioned along the Boston Harbor. In the last few years, that’s changed dramatically and Seaport District has been identified as a prime development zone as a result of its proximity to central locations, its attractive waterfront views and its thriving culinary scene.
In the midst of Boston’s building boom and due to a shortage of land to develop on, Seaport District has drawn the attention of some of the world’s top developers. In addition, it’s attracted companies, who have been scouring Boston for office space that’s reasonably priced with modern layouts and proximity to the CBD. So far, companies relocating offices to Seaport include: State Street Corp., PwC, Reebok and also General Electric, who has made headlines for moving their corporate headquarters to the district.
In fact, 52,000 jobs were created in Boston last year with construction as the fastest growing sector, bringing the city to near record unemployment levels. Boston has always been a backbone to the US economy; however, more recently, it has gained recognition as one of the top cities in the US attracting venture capital, as well as technology and life science investment.
The attraction to Seaport District in part is its central location - only a five-minute walk to the Financial District and well-connected to major transportation including a water taxi ride to the airport for flights around the world and well-connected to Boston’s neighborhoods, universities, hospitals and institutions.
As development plans continue, Seaport District is being transformed into another one of Boston’s professional service hubs and an enticing location for nightlife, high-end residential condos and premium shopping outlets. Featured retail and office space developments include:
- Newly built retail and entertainment destination One Seaport Square with over 250,000 square feet of retail space
- One Channel Center, a Class A office complex, designed as “the workplace of the future” for State Street Corp.
On the residential side, Echelon Seaport is the first planned, large-scale condominium development offering high-end living right in the heart of Seaport District. When it completes in 2020, it will include three iconic towers joined by a footbridge and cover one-million square feet. In addition, it will add an impressive 125,000 square feet of new, premium retail space to the district. Leveraging off of new tech and design concepts, Echelon will include a full suite of amenities.
Developed by Cottonwood Group and designed by renowned architect Kohn Pedersen Fox Associates (KPF), who has an impressive list of successful projects internationally from London’s Covent Garden to New York’s Hudson Yards to Tokyo’s Roppongi Hills, and now Echelon Seaport.
On a recent business trip to the US to visit the Echelon site, I was surprised to see how active Seaport District is on a weekday evening. An eclectic mix of bars and fancy restaurants dot the Boston Harbor. From raved about Italian food at Salvatore’s to the largest flagship location of Legal Seafood. Live music was playing from hotel rooftops overlooking the water. It was exciting to see the energy and realize how quickly this previously sleepy district had transformed into a red-hot locale for after work drinks and exciting culinary experiences.
With a work force fueled by some of the world’s most prestigious post-secondary institutions (Harvard and MIT), which generate thousands of highly educated graduates each year, it’s not surprising that this is where global companies are relocating headquarters and world-class retailers are planning their next retail venues.
Sources: JLL Research, Renaissance Capital IPO Center, PWC Moneytree, State Street Newsroom