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John Hancock’s Seaport HQ Is Boston’s Hottest Office Commodity

John Hancock's 601 Congress St. headquarters

An office space crunch in Boston is getting some relief thanks to one of the city’s largest employers. 

John Hancock is consolidating its Boston operations to its 1.2M SF Back Bay campus, freeing up its 465K SF headquarters at 601 Congress St. as early as spring 2019. Manulife Financial, John Hancock’s parent company, owns the building and has decided to lease it out. Tenant interest is robust, the Boston Globe reports

Tenants from inside and outside the Boston market have toured the property, and overall demand enables Manulife to be picky who it signs a lease with. Newmark Knight Frank Executive Managing Director Debra Gould told the Globe an offer for a 100K SF lease came in, but Manulife likely wouldn’t take it and would hold out for a bigger deal. 

“There’s nothing like this on the market right now,” she said to the Globe. “If you’re a big tenant who wants to come in quick, this is it.”

Roughly 200 tenants with a combined 6.5M SF of space requirements are currently active in the Boston market, Colliers International Director of Research Aaron Jodka has previously told Bisnow. But space is often hard to come by. 

Developers are hesitant to build speculative office projects without a tenant signed up, which leaves few instances of large blocks space to lease. The leasing environment has heated up to the point where some companies are space banking and signing deals for more space than they currently need just to be able to eventually grow into it years from now. 

“There’s really a gap of new construction between now and 2021 or 2022,” Cresa Vice President Derek Losi told the Globe. “You have all this great demand and there’s just a lack of supply.”