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Study Ranks Boston Among “Elite” Global Cities

iStock_000021000410_LargeNot to provide more ammunition for bragging, but a new report puts Boston among the world’s elite cities worldwide.

The study, completed by consulting firm A.T. Kearney, ranked the city near the top both in terms of its current standing for development, as well as its future potential.

Boston was one of only 15 global “elite” cities to place near the top in both reports, and one of only five nationwide (New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco were the others), which could make a strong impact in terms of future business opportunities as well as the local commercial real estate market.

Researchers ranked Boston third worldwide in terms of it’s potential for the future, reviewing categories such as its capacity for innovation, personal well-being and economics. It’s the second year in a row Boston has earned the #3 spot, finishing behind only San Francisco and New York.

In addition to its strong opportunities for the future, researchers also ranked Boston in the top 25 cities for its current standing, giving it high marks for its human capital and workforce.

The city’s university presence also played a strong role, ranking the best worldwide in the cities studied. The standing of Harvard, MIT and the city’s other schools also led researchers to single them out when constructing the “Perfect City”.

Andres Mendoza Pena, A.T. Kearney partner and co-author of the study, said that the reports “can help businesses make key investment decisions such as where to place regional and global headquarters, as well as manufacturing and research hubs.”

The announcement that General Electric will be moving its headquarters from Connecticut to Boston is the most recent example of the city’s attractiveness to large companies, but is by no means an outlier.

Soon after GE’s announcement, Veolia – a global environmental services firm based in France – announced it would move its North American headquarters from Chicago to Boston. However, the trend has been especially strong in the biotech and pharma sectors, supported by the state’s strong depth of talent in those fields.

Other examples include the development of New Balance in Brighton, Pfizer relocating jobs from Connecticut to Cambridge in 2014, GE Healthcare’s move from New Jersey to Marlborough, and the continual expansion of Shire’s presence in Lexington and Waltham.

Michael R. O’Leary, Senior Vice President at Cushman & Wakefield, called Shire’s growth during the past several years “explosive,” as the biotech company continues to add to its presence in the Boston area based upon strong organic growth as well as via acquisitions.

Shire currently occupies more than one million SF of space in nine buildings along Route 128 – a footprint which may grow even larger with its recently completed acquisition of Baxalta, which occupies more than 200,000 SF of space near Kendall Square.

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