Blazing the trail at NAIOP’s Marketing Conference

JLL's Linda Swain

JLL’s Linda Swain

JLL was front and center at NAIOP‘s Trends + Technology Marketing Conference, as real estate marketing experts discussed their latest strategies, newest ideas and deliverables used to drive decision making. Our Senior Director Linda Swain moderated a panel on the convergence of technology and marketing. Panelists including Tina Snyder of The Bulfinch Companies.

“The future isn’t about mobile it’s about mobility,” Tina said. “At the end of the day real estate is a fast paced relationship business that requires a dialogue. We must put our colleagues in the best position to transact.”

Real estate companies and marketing agencies are creating memorable campaigns to stay ahead of the competition. Samuels & Associates’ Tom Bloch and Sabrina Sandberg opened the program with a presentation on brand building.

Sabrina, a self described  consumer goods brand marketer by trade, comes to real estate image making from a different perspective. “You have to sell the dream. In this business we don’t have the benefit of instant gratification. At Samuels we’re beginning to change the conversation.” Sabrina presented a glimpse at their high impact campaigns for the residences at 1330 Boylston, the Fenway Triangle Trilogy, and The Verb Hotel.

Conference attendees took part in a real time poll. Nearly half of the respondents said that mobile devices are more important than social media and video in their marketing plans. GoPro and drone video were identified as two exciting new tools for marketing property and services. The jury’s out on drone video pending FAA approval.

Bulfinch Companies’ Tina Snyder with Linda Swain


Ryan Enright on the new Downtown dynamic


JLL’s Ryan Enright is the newest senior member of the Downtown Boston team

The Downtown Boston office market playing field is changing dramatically. The ownership mix is shifting. Tech-based companies are migrating from the Seaport, Cambridge and the inner suburbs in record numbers. Ryan Enright, the latest addition to our fast growing Downtown Brokerage team, shares his insight into this volatility.

“There’s a lot of turbulence right now,” he said. “A tremendous amount of international capital is coming into Boston. These investors are teaming up with local partners. Oxford is now a major player here controlling over 9% of the Class A CBD.

“They have come in with a strong business model, commitment to Boston, and long-term perspective,” he continued. “They’ll rely heavily on third party brokers with a deep knowledge of the markets.

“At the same time, growing tenants are looking for service providers that ‘get it.’ You have to be able to speak their language and understand their culture. Think like they do. These companies are on a rapid upward trajectory and you must be on the same wavelength.”

JLL is ramping up for these rapid changes with an increasingly strong Downtown presence.

Safety is sustainable

BestBobFrom Bob Best
Executive Vice President

What does “safety” really mean? Is it part of the effort to make buildings more “sustainable?”

The traditional view of green buildings is that they have less of a negative impact on the environment as measured by such things as greenhouse gas emissions, waste sent to landfills and water consumption. There is growing interest, however, in making buildings more supportive of the people that work inside of them. This includes making buildings safer.

Beyond building hardware like annunciation systems, sprinklers and defibrillators, company’s are looking at safety training and awareness campaigns. It’s not just about safety in the workplace. These efforts are addressing employees at home, play, and at work. It’s one way to show employees that the organization in concerned about their complete well-being.


It’s an important and powerful message: “We care about the environment and we care about you!”

A pretty sustainable idea.


JLL tackles Crohn’s & Colitis

JLL participated in The Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) annual flag football tournament at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough. The spirited 7v7 touch football competition raised over $83,000 for the CCFA, which provides research, education and patient support for those living with Crohn’s and Ulcerative Colitis disease.

More than 20 teams of corporate executives, football fanatics and CCFA supporters were on hand to play, watch, and cheer. Patriots tight end Mike Hoomanawanui stopped by to meet and greet.

The JLL team, playing in the event for the second straight year, was sponsored by MARIC President, Foundation Board Member and client Mark Rubin. The team, coached by Alex Dauria, was comprised of nine members from our Brokerage and Capital Markets groups. The tourney was won by the high flying Mass Flag All Stars.

Left to right: Alex Dauria (Coach), Nate Ardente, Chelsea Garvey, CJ Kodani, Jennifer Hearn, Jordan Yarboro, Joe Fabiano, DJ Goldberg, Charlie Luce, and Colin Fortier

Tenants continue to expand

strope_blogFrom Lisa Strope
Manager, New England Research

Economic momentum is picking up, and tenants are continuing to expand. As a result, tenant leverage is dwindling heading into 2015 and landlords continue to push rents.

Demand persisted in the third quarter in Greater Boston as the market recorded a record absorption of 1.2 million square feet. In fact, Boston was in the top 10 markets nationwide for absorption in the CBD and the Suburbs.

Greater Boston direct asking rents rose 3 percent over the quarter, breaking the $30.00 barrier. This represents an increase of 8.8 percent year over year. While still off peak levels, rents are now approaching 2008 levels. The vacancy rate also dipped by 60 basis points reaching 13 percent, only 2 percentage points over the long run average.

Still, new construction remains limited at least in the speculative space. This dearth in new supply over the next 12-24 months is anticipated to create a squeeze on the market and drive rents at an accelerated pace. That being said, speculative is lurking, in the form of renovation/rehab projects. New deliveries are not anticipated for some time.

This quarter, the capital markets heated up in the CBD with a couple of large portfolio transactions – in particular on behalf of foreign capital. In the third quarter alone, building ownership in part or in total by foreign capital amounted to $4.3 billion and 6 million square feet of commercial real estate space amounting to 8 percent of the CBD and Cambridge markets.

Economically, Greater Boston had a strong quarter, adding almost 5,000 office-using jobs. The metro area hasn’t seen this level of quarterly growth since second quarter 2012.


Roger Breslin brings Downtown expertise

Boston is hot and so is our Downtown Boston Brokerage team. Our client services have been significantly bolstered with the hiring of seasoned leasing expert Roger Breslin.

As reported in the BBJ, this is part of our expanded coverage throughout Greater Boston. Roger will help lead the Downtown team. He’ll specialize in representing tenants and investors in the leasing of office space throughout the city and surrounding markets.


JLL’s Roger Breslin joins the Downtown Boston team

Roger comes to us from Colliers where he executed lease transactions for the city’s leading corporate occupier clients. Some examples include: helping Manulife Financial with their regional and national requrements, representing CIBC at 100 Federal Street, McNamara Silvia at 101 Federal,  and most recently Lathrop & Gage at 28 State.

“I love a number of things about the job,” said Roger. “Every day is different. Whether I’m working with a landlord or tenant, clients look to me for creative solutions.

“What really excites me are the challenging transactions with twists and turns. At the end of day, its about providing the highest level of service so I’m front of mind when a client has future needs.”

According to Managing Director and NE Brokerage lead Bill Barrack: “Growing market share and adding top talent is our top priority. Roger’s 14 years in the business, keen market insight, reputation, professionalism and strong relationships will make an even stronger presence for us downtown.”

Roger is a Holy Cross grad and former assistant men’s basketball coach. Today he coaches youth basketball in the Hopkinton Metro West Youth League.

Watch for other senior additions to our Downtown team as we continue to assemble the best talent in the industry.



Workplace vs. workforce: A powerful dynamic


From Lori Mabardi
New England Director of Research


JLL recently hosted its annual Perspectives Event for the New England commercial real estate community at the ICA in Boston’s Seaport District. Our keynote speaker this year, Ben Breslau, Director of Research for the Americas, challenged us all to think about the tug between workplace and workforce.

It is true that millenials are a driving force in our economy today. The average age of the millenials is 24, hence, many of them are recent entrants into the workforce. By 2020, 50% of the workforce will be millenials. In a live poll of the audience, we learned that 61% of them felt that the millenial generation is the most significant demand driver in workplace design and use.

With this result, Ben reminded us that it is not youth that is the most prevalent trend in America and the world, in fact, is aging. The average American worker is 42.5 years old, over 36% of CEO’s are over 55 and each year, and the retirement age keeps creeping up more and more.

When you look across traditional industries, they are multigenerational.  With financial services, the split is 26% Millenials, 45% Gen-Y and 29% Baby Boomers.

When you look across traditional industries, many are multigenerational. Financial Services, the split is 26% Millenials, 45% Gen-Y, and 29% Baby Boomers.


When employers focus entirely on creating a work environment for one generation, they may be alienating a significant portion of their workers. What one generation values the other does not –  and often, it’s quite the opposite!

Now, yes, many high tech firms are young and have embraced benching and highly dense environments because most of the workers are in their twenties. But even in the youngest firms, we have seen the pendulum swing too far towards the collaboration side in the “concentration-collaboration” spectrum and in those cases, absenteeism rises significantly, putting a damper on the anticipated collaboration and innovation.

Firms need to strike a healthy balance in order to maximize productivity and create a space where workers do their best work without sacrificing culture, brand and overall employee satisfaction. The conversation has moved from an economic one to a socio-economic one.

As it relates to the hot topic of downtown Boston vs. Boston’s suburbs, what became clear is that both office locations can win. Buildings, whether in the city or in the suburbs, that have a sense of place, are those that are likely to be desirable and well-leased. Buildings that are vibrant while providing a quality of life and access to amenities outperform the rest, no matter where they are located. And while Millenials are living downtown longer, they too find that as they age, they will choose the suburbs to raise their children.

So, as commercial real estate professionals, investors, CEO’s and city planners, we must remember to take a longer view of things and not to get caught up in the buzzwords and headlines. Don’t assume the trends will work for your people, think about your employee base and ask them what they need out of a workplace to strike the right balance for all.

To view Ben’s full presentation from our Perspectives: Workplace vs. Workforce event please click here.

Schrafft’s City Center launches

photo 3 (2)

A project launch, reception and presentation of the bold changes underway at Schrafft’s City Center was held at the redefined business campus in Charlestown. The four-building complex is now undergoing several capital improvements.

The vision and inspiration of owner/developer The Flatley Company, JLL, and CBT Architects was showcased at the event held in The Powerhouse Building. Many guests arrived via the yacht Beacon from Rowes Wharf.

“Our vision is to unify the campus and create a dynamic corporate environment for a variety of demographics,” said CBT’s Haril Pandya. “The product will be a celebration, and transformation of the nostalgic candy factory to a cool and energized place revitalized for today’s tenants.

“The objective,” continued Haril. “is to unlock the campus’ potential, provide connectivity to the exterior and interior spaces, and greatly improve the arrival and public space experience.”

According to Flatley CEO John Roche who also spoke at the affair: “Schrafft’s City Center is iconic with a long history of sustained occupancy. This project will further our leasing success and the Center’s footprint in Charlestown.”

Schrafft’s City Center is the largest city campus in Boston’s urban ring. JLL represents The Flatley Company in the leasing and marketing.



JLL Perspectives 2014 event

September 17th marked our annual JLL Perspectives event at the The Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA) in Boston.  More than 225 commercial real estate clients, colleagues and friends joined us for an evening of thought leadership followed by outdoor cocktails.

This year Ben Breslau, JLL Americas Director of Research, discussed in his presentation –Workplace vs. Workforce – the battle between fact and fad and the impact of each on people, place and financial capital in today’s changing commercial real estate landscape. Ben was welcomed by our New England Market Director, Jim Tierney and followed by Colin Dyer, our JLL CEO, who gave his perspective from an international standpoint as someone who sees all influences across geographies.


Thank you to all who were able to join us for this gathering – and for those of you who missed the evening – we look forward to seeing you at our next event!

Global dollars landing in Boston

Petz_Frank_Color_Casual_HiResFrom Frank Petz
Managing Director, Boston Capital Markets Lead

JLL Boston hosted a lunch for Investor clients last week featuring a presentation given by Lucy Fletcher, Director of JLL International Capital Group for Asia and Canada and Stephan von Barczy, Head of French JLL Capital Markets Group for Europe and Middle East, with a global investor perspective also given by Colin Dyer, our JLL CEO. We all know international capital is more relevant, but the JLL presentation detailed the underpinnings and established the durability of global investor appetite.

JLL's Lucy Fletcher and Stephan von Barczy giving their global capital perspectives to our local investor clients.

JLL’s Lucy Fletcher and Stephan von Barczy giving their global capital perspectives to our local investor clients.


As we have seen, Boston has become a target for foreign capital this year and it was still interesting to see that the metro area catapulted into 2nd position with regards to foreign inflows, up from 8th just a year earlier. Both Oxford Properties (Canadian) and Norges Bank (Norway) purchases, in large part, lead to the high ranking, but behind them are many other foreign entities that are, of late, considering Boston a real and important investment target. In all, foreign capital was behind the purchase of 19 properties and the $3.3 billion in Boston, through August 31st, 2014.

Global flows have reached 2006 levels, and if allocations towards direct real estate continue to rise, the dollars that will be looking for real estate can easily grow by trillions.

Foreign capital

How long will this last?  We don’t know for sure, but we do know that it feels as though Boston has reached the global stage. Many new landlords – both local and foreign – are bringing with their ownership exciting plans to revitalize a building or a corridor, or a neighborhood. This increase in investor appetite and trades has created not only an evolving ownership landscape but an evolution of our streetscapes.