NAI Hunneman vice president Ben Sutton has been active in the downtown, North Station, and Route 128 markets during the first half of the year. He’s seeing companies move deeper into urban areas, with Tokai Pharmaceuticals leaving Kendall Square to move to 16,000 square feet at 255 State Street. In addition, Bob Doherty, VP of Leasing and Joe Pappalardo, senior project manager at Boston Development Group, worked closely with NAI Hunneman’s Ben Sutton and Jeff Becker to facilitate a smooth move for Metalogix from Woburn to 7,700 square feet at 205 Portland Street in North Station.
While city life, amenities and the MBTA have been a big draw for several tech companies to move downtown, others decided to stay right where they were. WiTricity in Watertown moved only two miles down the road to a larger location. Often, decisions such as these are based on retention and keeping employees happy.
Here are three trends Ben and his team are seeing in the Greater Boston market related to how location can impact hiring and retention:
- Companies are choosing in-between locations. From Boston Landing to Assembly Square, companies considering moving to these developments can give their employees one foot in the city and one foot in the suburbs. For those who drive to work, these developments are right off major highways – the Mass. Pike or I-93. They’re also accessible by public transportation, with Assembly Square’s Orange Line and the soon-to-be Boston Landing commuter rail stop. Charlestown is another option, close to the rapidly transforming North Station area, a new hip hub where Uber, TripAdvisor and Converse all recently moved.
For companies that want an in-between location. It’s a way to move into the city, but not all the way in. This brings us to our second point.
- They’re giving employees choices. Increasingly, companies are letting employees choose which office they want to work at. As Boston Globe columnist Scott Kirsner wrote, “Like an empty-nester who can’t quite give up the house in the ‘burbs but wants a condo in the city, the travel booking site Kayak now has two local offices.” That’s right. Companies like Kayak and Autodesk might be moving to the city, but they aren’t abandoning their roots in the suburbs. This helps companies attract younger talent who live in the city and might not have public transportation to get to Concord, while keeping those employees who live in the suburbs.
- They know food options matter a lot. Companies are gravitating toward areas like North Station and Somerville’s Assembly Square for the eclectic environment and diverse food options. Not only is it a great place for young professionals to live, it’s also becoming an ideal location for companies to attract talent.