2014 Year in Review


2/18/2015

Cambridge: The Hot Bed of Growth and Opportunity

2014 was another exciting year of growth and development for Cambridge. 3.2 million square feet of major housing and commercial development projects broke ground. At year end, a strong portfolio of new projects in the pipeline bodes well for continued economic expansion and growth.

There was significant growth in residential development, with over 2,450 units of new housing completed or in construction at year end. Much of this development is in the growing Fresh Pond, Concord-Alewife, North Point, and East Cambridge neighborhoods. Over the past three years the city’s inclusionary housing program has been able to increase the affordable housing stock by 296 units in new buildings that have been completed or are now under construction across the city.

In addition to the increase in housing development, Cambridge has 2.3 million square feet of commercial development under construction, with an additional 3.1 million square feet planned. The development pipeline includes Bullfinch Company’s 310,000 square feet of commercial space in Discovery Park, which may include a 150 room hotel; 238,000 square feet office/R&D building by MITIMCo adjacent to the recently completed 610 Main Street occupied by Pfizer; and the 218,000 square feet expansion of University Park at 300 Massachusetts Avenue for Millennium Pharmaceuticals.

2014 also marked the passing of new planning and zoning initiatives. Zoning discussions began in 2014 for parcels owned by Normandy Real Estate Partners and Twining Properties near Central Square with a goal of integrating these under-developed properties into the evolving fabric of Central Square. During 2015, the U.S. General Services Administration will solicit proposals from developers to transform the 375,000 square feet Volpe Center USDOT from surface parking and suburban style buildings into a mixed-use, public-private development. The City plans to continue to initiate a long-term comprehensive planning process that will provide a vision for continued growth over the medium-and long-term.

Cambridge continues to see the expansion of life sciences, technology, and startup companies. In 2014, the city saw over 1.2 billion square feet of significant commercial leases. These included the expansion of ModeRNA into an addition 43,000 square feet for a total Cambridge footprint of 100,000 square feet at 320 Bent Street, Dicerna Pharmaceuticals moved into 87,000 square feet at 87 CambridgePark Drive, and the announcement that Baxter International’s biopharma spinoff Baxalta will relocate into 200,000 square feet at 650 East Kendall Street.

Underpinning the boom in real estate investment activity is the city’s growing venture capital investment and growing companies. With more than $1.6 billion in 93 venture capital placements during 2014, Cambridge attracted more funding than all but three states. Cambridge startup companies (both in life science and tech) raised over $1.2 billion in funding in 2014, and 12 Cambridge IPOs raised over $1.1 billion as the firms went to market for the first time. Notable IPO offerings include Hubspot, Bluebird Bio and Foundation Medicine. Cambridge ranked #1 nationally for healthcare venture capital deals during 2014, and was in the top ten municipalities for both internet and green technology deals.

Innovation and co-working centers continued to thrive this year in Cambridge. In April 2014, LabCentral, a 27,000 sq. ft. shared lab facility for biotech startups celebrated its grand opening at 700 Main Street and also announced its $5 million in additional capital funding from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center to fund build-out of additional space of equal size near its existing location. In early October 3014, a group of robotics companies submitted a request to that state for a $20 million in grant funding for a 30,000 sq. ft. robotics incubator that will be house in Vecna Technologies on CambridgePark Drive.

Development was not the only exciting change here in Cambridge. 2014 marked the continuation of the city’s Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment, which will provide the foundation for a climate change preparedness plan. On a parallel track, the Getting to Net Zero Taskforce has embarked on a process to examine strategies and develop recommendations that would reduce Cambridge’s building energy needs through efficiency gains and increased use of renewable energy. The City Council enacted the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance, which requires larger commercial, institutional, and multi-family residential buildings to annually report their energy and water use to the City. The data will be made publicly available to inform the real estate marketplace and provide the City with essential data for community energy planning. Cambridge is among 11 local governments and two states that have implemented this type of policy. These three initiatives are the latest in range of programs and policies to advance the City’s climate protection goals.

2014 Groundbreaking Highlights:

  • 300 Main Street (Forest City) 
  • 219 Monsignor O’Brien Highway (Marriott Fairfield Hotel) 
  • 50 Binney Street (Alexandria Real Estate Equities) 
  • 20 Child Street (Building N in North Point) 
  • 33 Cottage Park (Residential) 
  • 610 Main Street Phase 2 (MITIMCo) 
  • 240 Sidney Street (Residential) 
  • 450 Kendall St (part of Cambridge Research Park)

2014 Opening/Recruitment Highlights:

  • Pfizer (610 Main Street) 
  • Baxter International (650 East Kendall Street) 
  • Broad Institute (75 Ames Street) 
  • Google (355 Main Street) 
  • Lab Central (700 Main Street) 
  • ModeRNA (320 Bent Street) 
  • Dicerna Pharmaceuticals (85 CambridgePark Drive) 
  • Nihon Koden (237 Putnam Ave)
  • Oryzon (245 First Street) 
  • Nanobiotix (210 Broadway)

Cambridge in the News: