This years 4th Annual State of the Seaport hosted by Bisnow Events once again featured an All-Star Panelists. An overview of the topics were the millions of square feet of new development and renovations that are currently underway and completed in the Seaport District. On top of the millions of square feet underway, the Seaport is expected to see even more growth this year.
The expert panel was made up of John Hynes - CEO of Boston Global Investors, Vivien Li - President of the Boston Harbor Association, Samuel Schaefer - Managing Director of Tishman Speyer, John Drew - President of the Drew Company, Fred Kramer - Vice President of ADD Inc. who is now with Stantec, Dick Marks - Executive Vice President of WS Development, Heather Boujoulian - Senior Vice President of the Berkshire Group and Richard Dimino - President and CEO of A Better City.
This all-star panel answered questions relating to the Seaportmarket such as: Are vacancies stabilizing, will rent growth resume, what does the market hold in store for major projects in the pipeline, how will transportation challenges affect the performance of Seaport real estate and is it a neighborhood yet?
The overall consensus of the panel was that the Seaport District is emerging quickly coming together in bits and pieces. In the next few years the Seaport is expected to see massive growth not only in developments but people trips, pedestrians, bikers, and a 64% increase of those using public transportation.
The question is.can the city handle this amount growth in such a short amount of time? The answer is yes; the Seaport continues to revolutionize and 17 million square feet is proposed for future development. In regards to transportation, one major asset is access to the water and the Silver line. Which will bothsee expansions made. As Dick Marks stated, It is like looking at a painting that is half done. The Seaport is very hard to judge as it is amidst this massive building boom.
In 1997 there was a thousand acres of empty land and in recent years a quiet preserve of parking lots. On top of being a hot spot for tourists and vistors, now those acres are full of and planned to benew offices, housing, hotels, parks and cultural amenities. It is safe to say that the Seaport District truly has outpaced most cities/towns for development in all of Massachusetts.
The beauty of Boston is held both in the architecture and atmosphere created. The Seaport is only predicted to become a better place to live and work delivering what some may call a Back Bay experience. Although grocery stores and drug stores may not be considered sexy, they are necessities along with entertainment, great apparel and specialty stores which are high on the list of what consumers want to see in the area.
On another note, in the Seaport District, buildings cannot exceed 250 feet due to the close proximity to Logan Airport. This being said the ground plan is super important to sustain and grow. 35% of the area is green space, landscapes and parks creating an enjoyable environment for all.
The real estate market is said to continue to be strong over the years as there is no title wave of consumers; rather they are coming individually. Fred Kramer said they will continue to create flexible loving units whether it be a luxury rental or condominium for sale. The Seaport consists of both young professionals and empty nesters. The demographics are constantly changing and so options will continue to change.
Each panelist confirmed that they were confident in changes to be made in the future of the Seaport. The plan is to sustain growth keeping a healthy balance and ultimately building to function. Boston is a world leader in culture and innovation constantly on top of the agenda of things to discuss.
What is next you may ask for areas of development? According to the panel not only is the Seaport going to see extensive growth but the Ring of Public Transit is truly up and coming!