Tech is everywhere – in phones, watches, cars, homes, and the workplace – and remains a dominant force in today’s real estate market across Greater Boston. Last year, just under half of all deals in Boston were by tech companies, while nationally, over a quarter were. But tech is a broad category, and it is challenging to navigate this diverse and rapidly evolving industry.
All tech is not created equal. Tech in Boston tends to be software and app related, whereas, in the suburbs, industries such as robotics, life science, 3D printing, medical devices, AI, and transportation technology are leading the way. Manufacturing/ assembly/R&D, or tech flex, has been a major driver of this demand. Out of the 6 million SF of tenant requirements we are tracking, roughly 70% are for high -tech or life science users.
These tech flex users have unique needs that differ from those of typical office-intensive companies. These specialized needs have pushed tech rents higher than suburban office rents in many areas. Companies are looking for higher ceilings, particularly properties that have a clear height of 18+ feet. Single-story sites are more attractive than multistory, as the space functionality is of utmost importance. Users want headquarters, assembly, and shipping in one location.
Power matters. Ideally, buildings would have at least 1500 amps @480v service, backup power, redundancy, and modern HVAC.
There is a clear lack of quality options for tenants today. Much of our inventory is functionally obsolete and does not check the boxes that are central to the needs of a modern tech user, because buildings lack infrastructure. Tenants seeking 25,000 SF to 100,000 SF with 18-foot clear heights have few options. A limited amount of new construction has come on line, but two new properties we see are solving the challenges of today’s market: 200 Quannapowitt in Wakefield and 32 Cabot in Woburn.
Directly overlooking interstate 95, 200 Quannapowitt allows the tenants’ brands to be seen by an average of over 140,000 travelers per day. The building is undergoing a complete renovation, including a new façade, floor-to-ceiling windows, and full rehab of the existing building systems. With several potential subdivision options, the building offers tremendous versatility in uses, including office, medical office, life science, and tech flex. The 210,000 SF building sits in a serene setting overlooking Lake Quannapowitt, allowing water views from the building and access to outdoor eating areas and walking paths around the lake.
32 Cabot is a new 50,000 SF tech flex or life science building in the heart of the 128 corridor in Woburn, Massachusetts. It’s well positioned for these users because of its modern design, with high ceilings, and heavy power.. Located just off Commerce Way near the I-95/I-93 interchange, the property is close to restaurants, fitness, entertainment, shopping, and public transportation (MBTA – Mishawaum and Anderson stations). Corporate neighbors include Raytheon, Analog Devices, Amgen, Lytron, and Parker Chomerics.
ACTIVE TENANTS IN THE MARKET