So, UMASS-Boston has proposed purchasing the land on which the Bayside Expo Center currently sits. The deal will allow the public university the opportunity to expand beyond its Columbia Point campus.
Few in Boston seem to realize just how important colleges and universities are to our city’s growth. Along with hospitals and medical centers, these ‘industries’ employ thousands of city residents and fuel our economy through wages and salaries and through the multiplier-effect – spending in stores and restaurants by employees and visitors / customers.
James J Adams mentions another unique way that these institutions are helping our city stay strong – basically, that they use up a lot of commercial space square footage:
What is the impact on the private commercial market when institutions carry out these expansion plans? Many of the properties purchased were available in the commercial market for lease.
[Suffolk University's purchase of 73 Tremont Street] is a prime example of a NET ABSORPTION of office space due to the expansion of an educational institution. The Casey & Hayes building [in Brighton] measures over 400,000 square feet and was owned by Cabot, Cabot & Forbes. CC&F carried out a beautiful renovation (the property is the large, all glass sprawling building on the north side of the Mass Pike opposite the Allston Depot restaurant.) CC&F then alternately marketed as office space and/or lab space unsuccessfully for 3 years. Harvard’s purchase reduced vacancy in the Allston Brighton market by 20% in one fell swoop.
In his words, “the multidimensional character of the Boston economy provides a buffer to the private real estate market to a degree not found in any other major U.S. city.”
I couldn’t agree more!