Boston didn’t go nuts adding commercial space during the U. S. real estate boom, so it’s doing better now than other cities, Peter Merrigan and Frank Wuest, two top local builders say.
Peter Merrigan, CEO of Boston-based real estate fund Taurus Investment Holdings, said the Hub’s strong university base, educated work force and good infrastructure also keep attracting business tenants.
“Boston always recovers,” Peter Merrigan said. “It bounces back because of (our) intellectual capital and because it has tight controls on (real estate) supply.
“We didn’t go up so high, so we didn’t crash so low,” Frank Wuest, head of development powerhouse Forest City Enterprises’ Boston office, told a forum yesterday hosted by commercial real estate group NAIOP Massachusetts.
Wuest and other developers told the conference that the Hub’s strict permitting process and lack of available land prevented the overbuilding that’s led to meltdowns elsewhere.
“It’s not like Dallas or Houston or Atlanta, where you can build wherever and whenever you want,” Wuest said. “Those markets are the ones that have suffered the most (in the bust) because they got overbuilt, whereas Boston didn’t get ahead of itself so much.”
Still, Peter Merrigan and Wuest said residential real estate is a different story.
“There’s a continuing lack of recovery in the housing market, which just does not seem to be going anywhere,” Peter Merrigan added. “There’s no sign of life in it — and as most of us probably know, there has not been (a U.S.) economic recovery … of any sustainable nature without a housing recovery.”