Real Estate

To say Boston is in the midst of a real estate boom would be an understatement. Few markets exceed the current construction activity of the Hub and the city’s office market is solidly in the “rising phase,” according to JLL. Boston is also attracting world-renowned, name-brand companies to set up shop. Just last week, Mayor Martin Walsh announced that LEGO Education North America would relocate its headquarters from Kansas, bringing 75 jobs along with it.

Across the Charles River in Kendall Square, there is a 2.7 percent vacancy rate for lab space, making Cambridge one of the most sought-after locations in STEM. In the past few months, industry heavy-hitters Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and IBM have snatched up space here. Google is also expanding its footprint. Why do all these industry leaders choose Boston and its surrounding cities?

Because…

Education is still essential to Boston’s brand

Education has the one of the area’s defining strengths for hundreds of years, which we’re reminded of when the 250,000 college students studying here return each fall. We’re also reminded of the Boston area’s unwavering prominence in education when U.S. News & World Report releases its highly-anticipated Best Colleges list. Once again, Harvard and MIT placed in the top 10. These two also made recent headlines for their endowments; Harvard has the world’s largest endowment and MIT gets the best return from its coffers. Then there’s the matter of the college campus construction boom in greater Boston.

But what happens when classes and the work day are over?

Banned in Boston no more

Boston is doing its best to shed its conservative reputation. A point of emphasis for Mayor Walsh’s administration is making Boston’s entertainment options match its economic opportunities. Significant progress has been made on this front, namely extending MBTA service late into the night on the weekends. In a recent “36 Hours” feature in The New York Times, Ethan Gilsdorf quipped that the city “has emerged from its brainy, introverted shell to offer a livelier mix of cultural offerings, plus an exploding food scene.” The feature gave some national attention to Boston’s increasingly engaging persona.

Though we aren’t exactly blessed by bountiful warm weather, the city has sought to activate public space and residents have responded positively. The Lawn on D is a great success as a new destination and people don’t want it to disappear due to budget issues. While Boston explores a more aesthetically pleasing design for City Hall Plaza, it’s made good use of the available space in the plaza with Adirondack chairs and a campaign to bring events to the space. Another semi-recent improvement to Boston’s City Hall Plaza is the biannual Boston Calling music festival. While many festivals occur in the middle of nowhere, Boston Calling offers an urban, highly accessible and dare I say iconic setting in downtown Boston. With six iterations in the books, Boston Calling has developed a reputation as one of the top festivals in the country. The city is also hosting its first-ever HUBweek, a collection of events across the region highlighting the research, innovation and art coming out of Boston, starting Saturday.

No matter what your reason is for spending time in Boston, you’d be hard-pressed to find many other cities with such a well-rounded array of activity. With so much going on professionally, educationally and recreationally, Boston didn’t need a velodrome to get international notice for its status as a world-class city.