There is no denying it: Boston office space is a hot commodity these days. The market wide vacancy in the city is at 10.8%, with Cambridge at 2.4%, and North & South stations below 5%.
This trend is tied closely to technology and the general workforce; an entire generation of the workforce (yes, millennials) in their 20s and early 30s tend to prefer urban living over suburban living. Many millennials do not own cars, and usually walk or take public transportation to work. In fact, a lot of what millennials want, lends itself to city living.
A new workforce full of millennials means a new type of tenant for office space. These tenants are tech-enabled, amenity-oriented, and community driven. Here at HqO, we call this: The Connected Tenant.
And as the number of companies moving into the city continues to increase (think Reebok, LogMeIn, GE), so does the intense competition – both within Boston and in the surrounding suburbs – to create the best office experience to attract the best companies and employees.
So, let’s dive into some of the leading CRE firms in Boston and the Greater Boston Area and see how they are leveraging technology, amenities, and community to increase tenant engagement and foster tenant loyalty.
Cambridge Park Drive – Longfellow Partners
This Cambridge office park is focused largely on facilitating collaboration. The area has benefited greatly from nearby residential development, and the state-of-the-art wellness center, full-service café, and outdoor patio/fire pit means there is no shortage of amenities at the property.
Managing Partner Adam Sichol had this to say: “CambridgePark Drive is a terrific transit-oriented location with immediate access to both the Red Line and Route 2. We plan to further improve the tenant experience at the buildings with active management and additional amenities that will facilitate collaboration between employees and companies at the properties.”
Any property that is so accessible from both the suburbs and the city is going to make a wide range of tenants pretty happy, but Longfellow’s commitment to providing health & wellness amenities as well as conference room booking technology, shows that they’re thinking about more than location with respect to their tenant experience.
City Point – Boston Properties
Located eleven miles from Boston, this property, which holds three Class A office buildings, is located right off of route 128 in Waltham. 77 CityPoint is Waltham’s first LEED Gold Certified office building. 77 CityPoint and 230 CityPoint also offer cafés with outdoor seating, fitness centers, and conference centers.
What is perhaps most interesting about this property, is that it is the first major mixed-use office and retail development project built in the Boston suburbs. John Boyle, executive managing direction at Cassidy Turley, describes the value of this type of a space to their tenants: “ Efficient, high quality, value driven real estate with walkable urban conveniences such as restaurants, bars and hotels. Projects like CityPoint make for a tremendous work life experience and reflect very positively on the company within that office environment.”
225 Franklin & 125 Summer – Oxford Properties
We picked two of Oxford’s properties because they each have unique qualities that promoted the connected tenant experience. 225 Franklin has it’s very own Equinox (the first ever in Boston), and Equinox offers a variety of fitness alternatives to its members, including yoga classes, personal training, and spa services.
Oxford also just added an entire amenity floor in the basement of 225 Franklin called "The Foundation." The floor features a brand new bike room, locker rooms, two golf simulators (with a PGA pro on demand for lessons), a bar, a conference room, an event area, TVs, and couches. They really thought of it all here.
125 Summer has been transformed to better suit the changing Boston layout; the building used to have its entrance on the opposite side of the Greenway, but Oxford has since flipped that around: This is all about community. Now that redevelopment is complete, a grand front entrance welcomes all Bostonians, from office workers to commuters to pedestrians, to the 500,000 s/f building. The front entrance is just one part of the larger transformation, which also includes an evolution of amenity spaces and uses for tenants and the local community.
The Hive - Synergy
At the Hive in DTX, five office buildings converge around shared spaces to create a dynamic, community feel to the office environment. The Hive buildings are a mix of retail and office buildings, and thus, are amenity-rich. The buildings feature a shared conference center, kitchen, social space, and fitness center. Being located right downtown, almost every train line takes you to within a few minute walk, and the area is loaded with restaurant and bar options for tenants after work.
100 Tech – Campanelli
This recently finished office development is characterized by sleek common areas, high ceilings, abundant natural light, a technologically intelligent infrastructure, and a robust amenity offering that is unsurpassed in suburban Boston. The whole project was conceived with employer recruitment and retention goals, employee satisfaction, and high employee productivity in mind.
The space will include a newly designed café, barista coffee bar, a fitness center, gaming areas, outdoor fire pit, and multi-sport court. Clearly, this property was built with the millennial in mind, and such an amenity-heavy space could be a huge recruiting tool for tenants.
Across the board, it is clear that tenant experience and tenant engagement are priorities to CRE landlords and developers. Whether you are in the city or out in the suburbs, everyone is part of this millennial workforce talent war, and those who don’t foster incredible, connected tenant experiences will be left behind.