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Highlights from NAIOP’s Program “Markets Under Pressure: Tug of War between Boston & the ’Burbs”


For anyone interested in the commercial real estate market in the greater Boston area, there was only one place to be on the morning of September 9th. Over 300 commercial real estate and business professionals descended upon the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel to hear industry leaders discuss current trends in commercial real estate in Boston and the suburbs. Below are some of the key takeaways:

  • The commercial real estate market in the ’burbs woke up 24 months ago. Now, for the first time since 2001, the so-called “Fortress Market” along I-95/Route 128 from Needham to Woburn has a lower vacancy rate than downtown Boston.
  • There is an influx of tenants coming into the Boston area, which is making it harder for tenants to find value in Boston. The result is lower margin companies are looking towards the ’burbs for better rates. (Think: TripAdvisor in Newton.)
  • The ’burbs are developing office park “eco-systems” more similar to downtown with a live-work-play atmosphere.
  • So which side is winning? Both! Boston and the ’burbs are both growing. Companies are deciding where the best fit is based on where the talent lives, what the amenities are, what it would say about the company’s culture, and how much it costs.