January 25, 2018

MetroWest office market shrinks in fourth quarter

A sale of the 100,000-square-foot building known as Reservoir Corporate Center in Southborough for $10.1 million was among MetroWest office market's bright spots during a down quarter.

The total amount of occupied office space in MetroWest fell in the last three months of 2017, negating some of what was otherwise a standout year, according to according to Boston-based Transwestern Consulting Group.

In the fourth quarter, I-495 West, as Transwestern defines the region, lost 78,000 square feet of occupied office space. For all of 2017, however, the region added 490,000 square feet, the most of any of 18 markets measured in Greater Boston.

MetroWest's 3.7-percent office growth in 2017 was second only to Charlestown in the Boston region for percentage growth. Harvard Square in Cambridge and Boston's Financial District were also among the leaders in office growth for the year.

The office vacancy rate in MetroWest of 18.3 percent is an improvement compared to a 20.4-percent rate a year prior. But the region's rate remains among the Boston area's highest, and is significantly higher than the region's overall vacancy rate of 11.9 percent.

MetroWest continues to be a bargain for office space compared to Boston's priciest neighborhoods.

Per-square-foot rent for what's called Class A office space in MetroWest is $22.57 on average, compared to $46.49 across the Boston area. Kendall Square in Cambridge carries prices of over $80 per square foot.

Among MetroWest's largest office leases for the quarter were Pall Corp.'s 23,000 square feet at 1700 W. Park Drive in Westborough and Virtusa's 12,000 square feet at 132 Turnpike Road in Southborough, according to Transwestern. Among the largest office-building sales was a $10.1-million purchase of 144 Turnpike Road in Southborough, a 100,000-square-foot building known as Reservoir Corporate Center.


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