Office giant Boston Properties is one of the biggest landlords in Boston. So when they talk, we listen for insights and updates on the region's commercial real estate scene.
Company executives spoke with analysts for more than an hour Wednesday after releasing second-quarter earnings, and dropped a few tidbits of news about Boston. Here are a few highlights:
■ Eataly is coming—just in time for Thanksgiving. The Boston outpost of Mario Batali’s Italian food emporium will open in November at the Prudential Center, said Boston Properties executive Bryan Koop. Buildout of the restaurant, which is replacing the Pru food court, is nearly complete, and the eatery is advertising dozens of jobs.
Meanwhile, the other new retail spaces being added to the Pru complex are already leased. And Koop said Boston Properties has seen "strong demand" for retail storefronts at other Boston buildings, including the Hub on Causeway project its building at North Station and the new expanded lobby of 100 Federal Street in Post Office Square.
■ Waltham is the place to be. The northwest suburbs of Waltham and Lexington right now are better office markets than downtown, in the eyes of Boston Properties president Doug Linde. That’s thanks to strong growth from tech and life sciences companies, including those seeking refuge from pricey Cambridge. Office vacancy in the corridor between the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 2 is running at about 4.25 percent right now, Koop estimated.
■ Kendall Square keeps booming. The landlord is in “advanced discussions” with a company to lease an entire 400,000-square-foot office building it has permitted along Binney Street in Kendall Square, chief executive Owen Thomas said. Thomas didn’t name names, but tech firm Akamai happens to be looking for about that much space in the neighborhood for its new headquarters right now.
Meanwhile Microsoft has told Boston Properties it will move out of its 125,000 of space at 255 Main Street, on the corner of Main and Broadway, at the end of 2017. In some markets losing a tenant like that might pose a challenge. But Linde pointed out the average rent in that building is $25 a square foot below market in Kendall right now. So Microsoft's departure is an opportunity to get higher rents out of the property.
■ New markets beckon—or not. Active in just a few US cities, Boston Properties bought its first large building in Los Angeles earlier this year, and executives disclosed more expansion plans in Southern California, including its own corporate outpost. London, though, will wait. Boston Properties has been looking for buildings to buy in the British capital but is holding off for now, waiting to see if real estate prices fall in the wake of the Brexit vote.