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- A strong biotechnology presence with various institutions here gaining more annual funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other city in the United States, which amounted to $1.85 billion dollars in 2016.
- Many venture capitalists who have founded a growing number of new tech-related startup companies.
- A thriving seaport that's been a major industrial center, especially for fishing.
- The ninth most-competitive financial center worldwide for mutual funds and insurance, according to the 2017 Global Financial Centers Index.
- An abundance of public-transportation options via rented bicycles, subways, buses, taxis and even water shuttles.
- Properties including historic Victorian-era neighborhoods, low-rise masonry buildings and modern high-rise towers among popular public parks.
Boston can give many of the same business perks as New York City at a lower price and in a typically warmer climate too. Setting up a headquarters here helps attract lots of new opportunities to grow. After all, Boston's economy is diverse enough to stay strong and has experienced excellent growth.
In 2016, Fortune magazine reported a list of cities whose commercial real-estate markets will substantially increase both in sales and prices soon. The locations listed have faster-moving properties and get 60 percent more views of their page listings than most average commercial properties in America, and two of these cities are in Massachusetts: Boston and Warwick.
Consider Boston's booming office-space market:
Boston offices have a lot of great amenities to offer, and their locations make for an easy commute for those living just outside of Boston or within the city as well, thanks to the city's extensive public-transportation system. For any business owner seeking to employ lots of people in the city who are likely to bike to work, these points highlight why Boston offices are so ideal.
According to the Boston Globe, investing in a Boston office pays very high returns, and these spots have lots of potential. Here are the juicy details they describe:
For example, the Cambridge neighborhood has lots of competition for offices 20,000 square feet or larger. The Kendall Square hot spot's offices have averaged at more than $70 per square foot. Even places near Route 128 have more competition these days, but more office spaces are available by Interstate 495 than they've had in the last seven years.
Boston's companies have been expanding, creating more jobs and also causing the city's office-rental prices to rise 7.6 percent in 2016 as well throughout the whole Greater Boston area. On average, offices in the Boston suburbs run for about $32.53 per square foot of space.
The Financial District's Class B buildings have seen office-rent price rises of 12.4 percent in one year. Due to the price hikes, businesses seeking cheaper office spaces have been opening up in the Downtown Crossing and North Station neighborhoods instead.
Overall, Boston has recovered well from the recession. They reported that about $9.3 billion dollars in commercial real-estate sales went through in 2014 alone.
It's also an excellent time to get in on a brand new office space in Boston since many business construction projects are underway to accommodate the city's continuing growth. Right now, builders are constructing about 4.9 million square feet total of new office spaces all around the Greater Boston area. Of these new spaces in progress, people have already signed leases on more than half of these properties. For example, recently Skanska USA is putting up a tower on Seaport Boulevard that will house 425,000 square feet of total office space.
Massachusetts has lots of opportunities in its retail-space market too.
The most retail spaces are available in:
When trying to decide which city works best for a particular company's retail outlet, always remember to select a spot that attracts the target demographic. Realtors can help you discover which areas get the right kind of traffic to support a budding business.
In Boston, the Cambridge and Prospect Hill neighborhoods tend to have the most available retail spaces just south of Interstate 93 near the Western bank of Charles River. Places around here range from 300 square feet to 1,500 square feet properties, and First Street properties tend to be the most expensive while the Cambridge Street area is more affordable for smaller businesses.
Bigger spaces are available in Prospect Hill of up to around 4,000 square feet. Bow Street in Prospect Hill is a more high-end location in this neighborhood, although all properties here are generally cheaper than those in Cambridge.
Then in Worcester, Massachusetts, retail spaces are about half the price of Boston's retail properties on average. If you're looking for more expansive places, you can get store properties of more than 40,000 square feet around Barber Avenue and Shrewsbury Street in the neighborhoods south of the Central Business District.
Springfield City, Massachusetts has some of the lowest property prices for retail spaces in the state, ranging from only $10 to $20 per square foot on average. Take your pick on space sizes too with everything from 400 square feet to more than 100,000 square feet spaces to choose from. Neighborhoods near the Connecticut River by the Metro Center or near Main Street are some of the most attractive storefronts that can help bring in the most foot traffic.
Boston's Northwestern suburb Somerville also has first-rate retail spaces, and even here the owners are sometimes open to rent negotiations. Some consider the Somerville neighborhood the "Hip Side of Boston" since The Boston Globe shared that Somerville has the second highest population of people between 25 to 34 years old in America. City planners are setting up 2.3 million square feet of new developments in this area and adding a new Green Line station here, and from here it's only a 15-minute drive to Boston.
Retail space near Somerville's busy Union Square, an ideal spot for many store owners, is often modern and tends to be around 1,000 square feet. Everyone wants a retail storefront in Union Square -- a hot bed of specialty markets, chic cafes and nightlife -- because this area has active foot traffic every day of the week and all year round. In buildings like these, it's common to see condos in the floors above, and they're close to popular subway stops. With juice bars around the corner, this kind of retail space suits fitness studios, yoga classes and chiropractor practices very well.
Expect these typical prices per square foot for commercial real estate in Massachusetts:
In the BPDA Research Division's paper "Boston's Economy Report 2017," they gave this clear picture of price ranges for office spaces around Boston and other top spots in Massachusetts. Please note this data came from price averages by the end of 2016, and all prices appear in the format of the cost per square foot:
- Charlestown $39.38
- North Station $46.83
- South Station $47.70
- Seaport District $52.38
- Financial District $56.09
According to current listings as of mid-2017, this busy Massachusetts city offers office spaces at great bargains that average around $14 per square foot for spots right in the middle of the Central Business District. Buyers have their choice of top-grade, bigger offices too with around 20,000 square feet per floor that are within walking distance to many eateries and the downtown park.
Pittsfield's choicest retail spots on First Street downtown can be up to $750 per square foot. For that price, you get premium storefront property with big, beautiful windows in spaces of around 900 square feet along Route 7. They often come with great amenities like private bathrooms and off-street parking spaces.
In Chicopee, about an hour and a half west of Boston, prices drop down to $565 for 1,800 square feet, top-floor offices also suitable for use as art or photography studios. Included in places like these are bonuses like hardwood flooring and extra-large windows.
What kind of vacancy rates are there in and around Boston?
In "Boston's Economy Report 2017," they've broken down average office-vacancy rates by each popular neighborhood:
- 2.6 percent in Fenway
- 2.7 percent in South Station
- 3.7 percent in Charlestown
- 8.8 percent in Boston's Financial District, but keep in mind that they also have the greatest amount of total office space of any other area in the whole city
- 7.3 percent in Seaport District
- 7 percent in Back Bay
They also reported that overall commercial-vacancy rates went down to just 7.5 percent as more companies are buying up and renting more commercial space than they have in years so that less space is available in premium areas, particularly around Boston. To accommodate the continuing expansion, construction has increased.
New buildings are coming up as quickly as possible considering that construction crews spent more than 3.2 million collective hours in 2016 to create a 9.6 percent increase in new developments around Boston alone. Fueling this construction boom is a continuing strong job growth that has increased annually since 2014 at a rate higher than most of the United States on average.
Here's why many are investing in commercial real estate in Massachusetts.
According to the Boston Business Journal, commercial properties around Fort Point, Boston have appreciated greatly in value even within the last nine years. For example, look at the big turnover profit from the six-story manufacturing warehouse and offices of Tower Point, which has more than 155,000 square feet. The building sold at a price of $32 million in 2008. Then by the summer of 2017, the same building changed hands again for a whopping $86.85 million.
Plus, in the "Boston's Economy Report 2017" mentioned earlier, they noted that the economy is strong enough to fuel this growth because the city's population is still growing with low unemployment rates, more tech jobs and low interest rates.