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Cushman & Wakefield: Boston has top US office market absorption rate for 2012

By one metric of commercial real estate activity, Greater Boston’s central business district fared better than any other market in the country.

Cushman & Wakefield, a large commercial real estate services firm, compiled statistics in a study that examined business districts’ office market absorption rates, which measure the net rate of growth in leasing during a given period. The study looked at the central business districts in 28 cities across the country.

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Cushman & Wakefield defines Greater Boston’s central business district, or CBD, as including such neighborhoods as the Financial District, the Back Bay, Government Center/North Station, Midtown, Seaport, and Charlestown.

For 2012, absorption rose in Greater Boston’s CBD to 1.8 million square feet, versus 200,000 square feet in 2011. For 2012, Chicago was second in absorption with about 1.2 million square feet, and Houston was third with 1.08 million.

“We are seeing very solid leasing and sales activity across all Greater Boston areas and asset classes fueled by increasing occupier and investor demand,” said Robert E. Griffin Jr., president of Cushman & Wakefield’s New England region. “What is most noteworthy about the recovery now underway in Boston is its level of consistency across the board. In addition to a significant spike in the Financial District leasing activity, we are also seeing very healthy leasing fundamentals in the suburbs approaching a 10-year rolling average. Robust occupier demand is fueling new construction at a level we have not seen in more than a decade. This is supporting a new trend whereby owner/occupiers are opting for new construction over second generation space in both the CBD and suburbs. Also supporting increased sales activity are favorable financing terms combined with attractive pricing and the continued shift toward the ‘live-work-play’ model which is here to stay.”

Just this week, the Globe has published two stories about commercial real estate activity in the Financial District.

A story in Friday’s Globe reported that one of the biggest buildings in the neighborhood, 100 Federal St., is exploring plans to open multiple restaurants and shops on its heavily traveled plaza.

And an earlier story noted that Brown Brothers Harriman & Co., the oldest privately held financial institution in the country, is moving to a historic building in the Financial District, signing one of the largest leases in the city in recent years.

Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.
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