4 Biggest Office Leases of 2014
1. Partners' 800k SF at Assembly Row - Somerville
Partners is building 850k SF (with an option to expand another 300k SF) for itself on a long-term ground lease at Federal Realty Trust's $1.3B Assembly Row in Somerville. It's a game changer for the hot new Somerville, once a gritty industrial city known for poverty, crime and public corruption. It’s got a great location and six new T-stops coming; it’s artsy, hip and Mayor Curtatone is setting a new tone and pushing for more development-friendly zoning.
2. Baxter International's 200k SF at 650 Kendall St - East Cambridge
Baxter International’s establishment of an R&D center serves to reinforce the former People’s Republic of Cambridge as a world-leading cluster of life science, pharmaceutical and biomedical technology.
3. Sonos' 170k SF at Lafayette City Center - Downtown Crossing
The wireless music maker is leaving Cambridge for 170k SF at Lafayette City Center in Downtown Crossing, speaking volumes about the downtown comeback. By choosing the once-stodgy Financial District over the reigning Hollywood for Nerds, Sonos joins a parade of young tech and creative companies. One driver: average rents are 25% to 35% lower in Boston than in East Cambridge, says Colliers SVP Tucker Hansen, who repped Sonos in the deal with The Abbey Group. Another big draw for Sonos is the amenities (cafes, restaurants, housing) popping up in the several mixed-use projects. Sonos also gets the urban location, mass transit and vitality that companies want.
Lafayette City Center itself is a poster child for the downtown revival. In the '80s and '90s, when residents and businesses were still fleeing the city for the ‘burbs, what was then the Lafayette Place mall was designed as an inward oriented fortress against the troubled city. Over the years, it struggled to stay afloat. In ’02, The Abbey Group acquired it and, after State Street Bank left last year, completed a major renovation. Sonos was also inspired to pull up stakes at First Street in East Cambridge by Lafayette's large, efficient floor plates, expansion potential, outdoor space and high clear heights for its sound rooms.
4. Wayfair's 170k SF at Copley Place - Back Bay
This deal brought Wayfair's occupancy at Copley Place to 275k SF. This commitment further enhances the Back Bay office market, a long sought after address.
Nearby at 111 Huntington Ave, The Analysis Group took 150k SF.