Jillian Heger

Tourism and Boston's Commercial Real Estate Market

Tourism is a huge part of Boston’s economy, so monitoring the number of travelers is important in evaluating the health of Boston’s real estate market.  Due to COVID-19, the number of travelers, not only at Boston-Logan Airport, but throughout the country, has decreased dramatically since the beginning of this year. 

 With the holidays around the corner and the number of cases on the rise, many are expecting flight traffic to remain low as people plan to travel by car instead of plane.  In order for Boston’s commercial real estate market to rebound, we will likely need to see passenger traffic return.

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CRE Update: How has the Pandemic Impacted Boston's Office Market?

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the relationship that landlords have with their tenants across all property types. This article focuses on the office market. With many people working from home, companies are now questioning how employees will use office space moving forward. 

 
 

Short-Term Leases: 

  • For leases that have expired during these uncertain times, many companies have sought to sign short-term leases, while trying to evaluate the future needs of their employees. 
     
  • While traditionally preferring long-term leases, landlords have been very receptive to short-term deals. Keeping a space full or filling a vacancy for a short-term is typically preferable to guessing on how long an office space may remain empty. 

Wellness & Airflow: 

  • Many tenants have concerns regarding wellness, cleanliness and air flow, so they have been making special requests in those regards to landlords. These requests may include an increase in frequency of common area cleanings, availability of hand sanitizer and masks for building visitors, and improving or replacing HVAC systems.
     
  • Landlords have generally been flexible with these requests, provided they are reasonable, as they want to work with tenants to ensure a safe and clean environment for everyone. 

Parking: 

  • With some employees returning to the office, the demand for parking spaces has increased as many do not feel comfortable/safe taking public transportation. 
     
  • Landlords are working hard to come up with parking alternatives for tenants, but this will likely get more challenging as more and more companies begin to return to work.  Additionally, the increase in driving will almost certainly lead to an increase in traffic in and around Boston. 


With companies evaluating their office real estate strategies, this has tended to increase the level of communication with their landlords. Due to the nature of these conversations, they can be stressful, uncomfortable and challenging. As real estate agents, we understand our role is as important now as ever. We are experienced in representing both landlords and tenants. If you would like assistance with addressing a challenging office situation, please don't hesitate to contact us.

 

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