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Boston Properties: Development Activities Will Drive Future Income Growth

In a time when REIT returns haven't been as robust as overall commercial real estate valuation might suggest, office specialist Boston Properties is pursuing a net operating income growth strategy based on development, rather than asset acquisition.

Boston Properties Virginia Business Park

The positive impact of Boston Properties' development program ought to kick in next year, Seeking Alpha reports, and help increase the company's net asset value and raise share prices.

Boston Properties has been unfolding the strategy for a while. It took advantage of lower asset prices in the aftermath of the recession to grow its portfolio, spending about $5B to augment its holdings between 2008 and 2012. But as asset prices rose after about 2012, the REIT started emphasizing development.

Boston Properties has a fat development pipeline. In 2019, the company is slated to complete the 385K SF The Hub on Causeway in Boston; the 485K SF 145 Broadway in Cambridge, Massachusetts; the 211K SF City Point in Waltham, Massachusetts; and the 670K SF Dock 72 in Brooklyn, New York. 

Large chunks of the properties opening in 2019 are already leased: 98% of 145 Broadway, for example, and 88% of The Hub on Causeway. 

In 2020 and after, Boston Properties will complete more than 1.6M SF of office properties in Maryland and Virginia. 

Boston Properties' strategy is one way for the company to look to boost share value, even in an investment environment that hasn't been favorable to REIT share prices, Seeking Alpha reports. Boston Properties has been feeling that pinch: since a year ago (as of June 4), its share prices have gained only 1.09%.

Last year, the S&P 500 index rose 21.8%, while the FTSE Nareit All Equity REITS index increased by 8.7% in comparison. This year so far, the FTSE Nareit All Equity REITS index has done better than the S&P 500, but neither has done that well: an increase of 0.89% year to date (as of June 4) for REITs, compared with an increase of 0.45% for the S&P 500.