Top 5 Boston Submarkets for Office Construction

Developments in these areas will add more than 11 million square feet to the market’s inventory, CommercialEdge data shows.

Despite economic challenges hitting the office sector across the U.S. and a slow post-pandemic recovery, Boston posted the largest under-construction pipeline nationally, reaching almost 13.9 million square feet of office space as of April, according to CommercialEdge data. This accounted for 5.6 percent of the market’s existing stock, considerably higher than the 1.2 percent national average, but still showed an 800-basis-point decline year-over-year.

Nationally, less than 83.7 million square feet of office space were underway during the same period, down more than 50 percent over the past 18 months. Year-to-date through April, only 3.2 million square feet started construction.

Last year, the metro was also one of the top five markets in terms of office real estate investment volume. Boston saw more than $1.3 billion in assets trading from January through October, ranking fourth nationally.

The top five Boston submarkets featured on this list had 11.3 million square feet under construction across 21 office developments.

1. Cambridge

Home to Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge had almost 3.2 million square feet of rentable office space under construction as of April. This accounted for 22.9 percent of Boston’s underway office space.

Eight properties were in the works during this period, about 5.1 percent of the submarket’s 62.9 million-square-foot existing inventory. Year-to-date through the same month, the hub saw 462,100 square feet coming online, a positive sign compared to 2023, when only 548,000 square feet were delivered all year round.

WS Development has celebrated the opening of 400 Summer St. in Boston
WS Development has celebrated the opening of 400 Summer St. Image by photographer Eric Levin, courtesy of Boston Seaport by WS

In terms of total life science stock, Cambridge ranked first once again among all Boston submarkets, with a little less than 1.8 million square feet of rentable space completed.

One of the most notable projects underway is BioMed Realty’s 585 Kendall, an almost 600,000-square-foot development that will feature life science and office space. The developer started construction on the 16-story building in 2022, with funds from a $315 million loan originated by Bank of China, and expects to complete it in 2026. Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. fully preleased the property.

2. Seaport Innovation District

The Seaport Innovation District had 2.6 million rentable square feet being developed across three properties as of April—or 18.5 percent of Boston’s total under-construction stock. This also represented 7.5 percent of the submarket’s total inventory, some 34.1 million square feet.

10 World Trade, Boston
The 555,250-square-foot 10 World Trade will come online by the end of the year. Image courtesy of JLL

Year-to-date through the first four months, the district saw one building, consisting of almost 263,000 square feet, delivered. Only one property came online last year as well, totaling 580,000 square feet. The submarket also has 963,100 square feet of life science rentable square feet—2.8 percent of its total office stock.

WS Development’s One Boston Wharf was one of Boston’s biggest construction projects in April. The 707,000-square-foot life science development rises 16 stories and was completed at the end of May.

Other significant activities in the area include the development of 10 World Trade, an almost $600 million tower. Boston Global Investors’ 555,250-square-foot building is scheduled for completion in the fourth quarter of this year.

3. Fenway

Fenway had 2.3 million rentable square feet of office space under construction as of April, taking the third place. With two properties underway, the submarket’s development pipeline accounted for roughly 14.3 percent of its 16.2 million-square-foot total stock. Additionally, this represented 16.6 percent of Boston’s total office space under development.

Fenway Center Plaza View
Fenway Center is the first over-the-Pike project in the last 40 years. Image courtesy of IQHQ

Last year, the district saw one project measuring 197,000 square feet completed. However, no property came online year-to-date through April.

Out of the top five Boston submarkets, Fenway had the least life science rentable space, about 304,400 square feet. This accounted for roughly 1.9 percent of the neighborhood’s office inventory.

Meredith Management, one of the most present developers in Boston, is working on the second phase of Fenway Center in partnership with IQHQ. The air-rights project will feature a 22-story tower and a 12-story building expected to total around 720,000 square feet of lab and office space.

4. Medford-Malden

The Medford-Malden area had more than 1.9 million of under-construction office rentable square feet in April. The four projects underway account for 10.6 percent of the submarket’s total stock—or 13.9 percent of Boston’s development pipeline.

Assembly Innovation Park
Assembly Innovation Park’s first phase consists of a 485,000-square-foot life science tower. Image courtesy of Perkins&Will

Last year, the hub led in delivered office space among the top five Boston submarkets, with more than 1.3 million square feet coming online across four properties. In terms of life science space, Medford-Malden had roughly 1.5 million rentable square feet completed at the end of April.

BioMed Realty is active in this submarket as well, with the construction of the first phase of Assembly Innovation Park, a 485,000-square-foot life science tower. In 2022, the company received a $514 million financing package for this project and expects to accommodate tenants as early as the second quarter of next year.

5. Brighton-Brookline

Rounding out the top five Boston submarkets is Brighton-Brookline, with some 1.3 million square feet of rentable office space under construction as of April. The four properties in development account for 28.3 percent of its almost 4.7 million-square-foot total stock, the largest pipeline on a percentage-of-stock basis among the top five submarkets. It also represents 9.5 percent of Boston’s office underway inventory.

FORUM will come online this year. Image courtesy of Lendlease

The city’s life science inventory during the same month stood at 884,100 rentable square feet, or about 18.9 percent of its total office stock. Projects like Lendlease and Ivanhoé Cambridge’s FORUM, which topped out in September, will further enhance its supply.

Other projects in the area include King Street Properties’ Allston LabWorks, a two-building campus expected to measure about 542,000 square feet. Scheduled to come online by the end of the year, the development will feature laboratory and retail space, as well as multiple residential units and community spaces.

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