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Celebrating Vertex the Game Changer

Boston Office

Fan Pier saw this week's official opening of Vertex's 1.1M SF HQ, the largest commercial lease in Boston's history. The project is a game changer for the company, the city, and the state. (They're already writing a new chapter in all 4th grade history textbooks.)


Gov. Deval Patrick and other top public officials—Boston City Council president Bill Linehan, State Rep. Nick Collins, Vertex CEO Jeff Leiden, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, State Sen. Linda Dorcena-Forry, and Massachusetts Life Sciences Center CEO Susan Windham-Bannister—helped cut the ribbon Tuesday on the two-building office/lab complex (it was a stubborn ribbon) because it’s elevating the state as a place where big corporations can flourish. It’s very important for Massachusetts, long known for businesses that discover new ideas, to build a reputation as a location where corporate heavyweights can establish world-class HQs, state secretary for economic development Greg Bialecki tells us.


The historic lease shows that the city and regional real estate market has the planning and zoning regs in place, not just for new buildings, but for the development of new districts, Sec. Bialecki (above) says. The Fallon Co was able to meet Vertex’ space needs because it had already been approved for the redevelopment of Fan Pier with 3M SF in a few buildings. In dealing with Vertex, Fallon could say we’ll get you into your space as fast as it takes to build the complex; no rigorous permitting required. (Crusaders against paperwork and red tape.) Boston’s famous barriers to entry into the commercial property market have been adjusted to allow for the transformation of neighborhoods like the Boston waterfront, Cambridge’s North Point, and Somerville’s Assembly Square.


When construction started on the Vertex complex in 2011, it was the largest private project in the country. While still emerging from the financial crisis and the recession, the ambitious project signaled to other developers that the Boston waterfront was taking off. (Even some fish took notice.) Fallon’s project was a catalyst and an anchor for The Innovation District, now among the hottest real estate markets in the world, Sec. Bialecki says. For Vertex, which grew up doing R&D in Cambridge, the new complex marks its transformation into a “serious” pharmaceutical player with a possible blockbuster product. It’s new focus on marketing will be aided by its signature HQ on the harbor. Anyone flying into Logan International Airport will see its logo from the plane, Sec. Bialecki says.