Innovative users have been part of greater Boston’s tapestry (and significant users of commercial real estate) for over 150 years. Our exposure to academia, government funding, industry, and international communities led to a ‘big bang’– creating Boston’s pool of entrepreneurial talent. This combination is so powerful that in 2015, Massachusetts had the highest concentration of innovation economy employees.
When we talk about the origin of innovation companies, we generally start in Cambridge – specifically with MIT’s technological talent. But innovation’s impact on commercial real estate goes well beyond Broadway and Main Street. Decades before Kendall Square’s razor thin vacancy and prohibitive rents pushed start-ups to the Seaport and the suburbs, MIT spin-offs began to cluster along Route 128. In 1955, 50 companies called the 128 market home. By 1967, the number had ballooned to over 700.
But that was more than half a century ago. The latest wave of entrepreneurs has shown a preference for walkable urban environments. And the preference for social space and urban amenities is spreading to the suburbs too. Shunning the congestion of the city and lured by free parking, more established innovation companies are opting for mixed-use build-to-suits – making the 128 of today a far cry from 128 in the 1950s.
To read more about this and other insights, on the innovative companies calling Boston home, click here to download a copy of our latest InnovationWatch report.