by Bradley Cardoso
If you’ve driven along Route 128, then you know construction activity is at an all-time high.
According to the Boston office of Cresa, flex product in the suburban 128 market remains tight, as tenants’ need for clear height and highway access continues to gobble up viable alternatives. Class A, amenity-rich properties and office parks will continue to command high rents as tenants’ willingness to pay premium numbers persists. Current sites under development along suburban Route 128 include: 1.79 million sf of permitted development; 1.25 million sf of nonpermitted development; and 795,000 sf under construction.
Since 1952, Hobbs Brook Management has developed and managed Class A office buildings in Waltham, Mass., and beyond. In fact, we were the first to build an office building on Route 128 in 1954, and today we own and operate 14 buildings comprising two million sf in Waltham alone. Enticing financially strong companies into a building — and keeping them happy — is a top priority for developers and property managers. After almost 70 years, we’ve learned much about developing sustainable office buildings to meet tenants’ needs.
Build It and they will come
We recently announced plans to replace the buildings at 225 and 235 Wyman with a 500,000+ sf new office and lab development located immediately off Route 128 in Waltham. When complete, the five-story building will be the largest contiguous Class A office building along Route 128. Designed by Gensler to meet LEED Silver certification by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), it will be lab-capable to satisfy both laboratory/research and development, and traditional office needs. The site offers direct access to Route 128/95 via the Wyman Street on-off ramp and will include food court-style dining facilities, an onsite gym, and a conference center. JLL has been selected as the exclusive leasing agent for the property.
The site’s landscape plan, designed by OJB Landscape Architecture, will include both paved and permeable walkways, seating areas, and walking trails in the beautifully landscaped Western Courtyard, as well as an arrival courtyard at the entrance to the building. To complete the existing walking trail that runs through the Hobbs Brook Office Park, an additional 1.8 miles of trails and three acres of outdoor activated space will be added adjacent to the new building at 225 Wyman Street. The project will also feature a new five-story parking garage with 1,500 spaces, including electrical vehicle charging stations, plus 221 surface spaces. Construction should begin in the second quarter of 2019 with the building ready for interior fit-out by the end of 2020.
Green is good
In today’s competitive real estate market, a commitment to sustainability can set your office building apart and be the deciding factor for attracting and retaining tenants. We have been incorporating energy efficiency and sound green building practices in the construction and renovation of our properties for more than three decades.
Owned and operated by Hobbs Brook Management, a 335,000 sf two-building complex at 175-185 Wyman Street was designed by Margulies Perruzzi, and built by Columbia Construction Company. In 2010, both buildings were certified LEED Gold. From project inception in 2008, when economic stressors caused many developers to put sustainable building features on hold, the goal of the 175-185 Wyman Street project team continued to be the achievement of LEED Gold certification, and close attention was paid to the guidelines throughout the design and construction process.
Our devotion to sustainability is evident through project aspects that include an integrated green cleaning program, mature landscaping, high-reflection roofing, preferred parking for hybrid-vehicles, and shower facilities for bicycle commuters. A state-of-the-art stormwater quality treatment system was incorporated into drainage and uses a pond that doubles as a landscape feature to clean water before it heads to the Cambridge Reservoir, while additional stormwater runoff collected onsite will be used to irrigate the landscaping.
We always aim to build the most energy-efficient buildings possible. Not only does it benefit the environment, but it greatly reduces costs for our tenants.
For example, at 275 Wyman Street designed by Margulies Perruzzi and built by Commodore Builders, both the base building and interior fit-out achieved LEED Gold certification. The use of a unitized metal and glass curtainwall system for the building’s envelope provides high thermal efficiency and allows daylight to filter deep into the building’s interior. A 561-kW solar array installation on the covered parking structure will generate about 673,000 kwh of power per year.
Our philosophy regarding development has always been to build the highest quality and most sustainable office buildings. As we maintain these buildings ourselves, it just makes sense to leverage the most sustainable construction methods currently available. We design and construct buildings we’d want to work in ourselves, and in fact we do. We wouldn’t have it any other way.