July 9, 2018

MetroWest office market lags in new construction

Courtesy | MathWorks
MathWorks' second Natick campus. It is one of relatively few new-construction office growth in MetroWest.

Core MetroWest communities, including Framingham, Marlborough and Natick, trailed the Greater Boston office market in new construction underway in the second quarter of the year, according to a new report by Perry Brokerage.

Framingham, Natick and the Boroughs — Marlborough, Northborough, Southborough and Westborough — registered no new office construction, Boston-based Perry reported Friday. Other Boston-area suburbs west of the city had about 597,000 square feet of space under construction, including 341,000 square feet in Waltham alone.

The lull in new construction comes just after Natick's MathWorks opened a new 513,000-square-foot second office campus at a former Boston Scientific site on Route 9. The first employees moved in last month.

Some new office space is, in fact, in the construction pipeline, as well, according to real estate firm R.W. Holmes Realty. Two 65,000-square-foot office buildings are being built in Natick, according to the firm: one on Route 9 and another on Strathmore Road.

Vacancy rates were mixed for the region.

The Boroughs had one of Greater Boston's highest vacancy rates for the quarter at 15.9 percent, Perry reported. Class A space, which is more desirable, was at 9.2 percent, however, and under 10 percent for the fourth straight quarter.

Framingham and Natick, which are grouped together by Perry as the Boroughs are, had a vacancy rate of 11.3 percent. Greater Boston's western region, which includes Burlington and other towns around the Route 128 belt, averaged a vacancy rate of 13.4 percent, up nearly 1 percentage point from the prior quarter.

As for total leased space, Framingham and Natick's total occupied space rose in the quarter by 58,000 square feet. The Boroughs lost 15,000 square feet of leased space.

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