Owen Thomas, CEO of Boston Properties, Inc. (NYSE: BXP), participated in a video interview at Nareit’s REITworld: 2019 Annual Conference in Los Angeles.
Thomas commented on the healthy leasing volumes Boston Properties has reported throughout 2019 and how that squares with signs of moderating macroeconomic fundamentals.
Through the first three quarters of 2019, Boston Properties leased about 5.9 million square feet, compared with average volumes over the past five years of 5.5 million square feet per year, Thomas said.
Real estate procurement decisions tend to lag economic activity, he explained. At the same time, Thomas said the slowdown does not appear to be impacting many of its customers, particularly those in tech and life sciences segments.
Thomas also discussed some of the benefits Boston Properties gains from accessing private equity partners. “We’re bringing in private capital to stretch our equity capital further,” he said.
Meanwhile, Thomas observed that just under 2% of all office space in the U.S. is leased to shared workspace operators, with numbers closer to 4% in New York and San Francisco.
“We think the industry is poised to grow further,” Thomas said. In addition to an “important” relationship with WeWork and some of the other operators, Boston Properties has its own shared workspace platform, FLEX by BXP. “We’re pursuing this opportunity through various different channels,” he said.