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Old 04-17-2015, 07:09 PM   #21
whighlander
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Re: Watson-Health

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Originally Posted by RandomWalk View Post
Amusingly, IBM's Littleton campus is the ex-DEC LKG (aka Littleton-King St) complex. When I was growing up, my mother worked out of that office, and many others in the 495 belt. They were endless farms of cubes and conference rooms, which were fun to roam about as a kid, but are soul-sucking as an someone who works in the industry. I think the younger generation of tech workers that are typically attracted to Google/Facebook etc. have little, if any, interest in working out in the 495 belt because it's so devoid of distractions.
The world is truly become upside down -- back in my undergrad days -- if you left MIT and the kind of grungy poorly funded start-ups in Cambridge for a company that wasn't DEC -- it was out on Rt-128 [Waltham] or I-495 Marlboro or for some on Rt-3 N or I-93 Andover / Wilmington

Today -- out in those remote places there is literally probably a square mi [25 M sq ft] of open or underutilized industrial / R&D office space for the asking

Meanwhile all the grunge / old-industrial remnants in Cambridge and acres of parking that replaced the old industrial remnants -- are falling to the wrecking ball as the new space rises that costs as much to rent as top floors of a Financial District tower

However -- I'm not sure that this is a permanent trend

Some of the new "R&D corporate communities" rising phoenix-like from the old industrial parks may yet become popular to the younger companies and their younger crowd as the crowd gets a bit older and wants a suburban lifestyle for their kids
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Old 04-17-2015, 07:31 PM   #22
Lisbon
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Re: Watson-Health

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Originally Posted by whighlander View Post
The world is truly become upside down -- back in my undergrad days -- if you left MIT and the kind of grungy poorly funded start-ups in Cambridge for a company that wasn't DEC -- it was out on Rt-128 [Waltham] or I-495 Marlboro or for some on Rt-3 N or I-93 Andover / Wilmington

Today -- out in those remote places there is literally probably a square mi [25 M sq ft] of open or underutilized industrial / R&D office space for the asking

Meanwhile all the grunge / old-industrial remnants in Cambridge and acres of parking that replaced the old industrial remnants -- are falling to the wrecking ball as the new space rises that costs as much to rent as top floors of a Financial District tower

However -- I'm not sure that this is a permanent trend

Some of the new "R&D corporate communities" rising phoenix-like from the old industrial parks may yet become popular to the younger companies and their younger crowd as the crowd gets a bit older and wants a suburban lifestyle for their kids
It's so interesting how things have changed, and it will be interesting to see where things are in 10 or 20 years. I agree that it may not be a permanent trend, though I would like it to be. The younger crowd getting older and wanting to move into the suburbs could reverse the trend. More than anything, I worry that supply will never catch up with ever rising demand in Boston/Cambridge, and as costs skyrocket, companies/employees (particularly at middle tier companies) will want to be where things are cheaper, even if the surrounding as much less interesting. For many people money still matters above all else (no judgement).

It's been a few years, but when I left IBM they still had a good amount of unused space in the Littleton office, so they could potentially start Watson Health off there before looking for more permanent space. Some people would reverse commute from Cambridge (or even Boston), but it wasn't common, especially since there aren't any transit options. There are suburban office parks that are accessible by commuter rail, e.g. West Concord, Waltham/Brandeis, but not at Littleton.
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Old 04-17-2015, 07:52 PM   #23
whighlander
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Re: Watson-Health

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Originally Posted by Lisbon View Post
It's so interesting how things have changed, and it will be interesting to see where things are in 10 or 20 years. I agree that it may not be a permanent trend, though I would like it to be. The younger crowd getting older and wanting to move into the suburbs could reverse the trend. More than anything, I worry that supply will never catch up with ever rising demand in Boston/Cambridge, and as costs skyrocket, companies/employees (particularly at middle tier companies) will want to be where things are cheaper, even if the surrounding as much less interesting. For many people money still matters above all else (no judgement).

It's been a few years, but when I left IBM they still had a good amount of unused space in the Littleton office, so they could potentially start Watson Health off there before looking for more permanent space. Some people would reverse commute from Cambridge (or even Boston), but it wasn't common, especially since there aren't any transit options. There are suburban office parks that are accessible by commuter rail, e.g. West Concord, Waltham/Brandeis, but not at Littleton.
Lisbon IBM could easily run a shuttle from the CR Station @ Grimes Lane & Foster Street to handle any Cambridge to Littleton reverse commutes

However, the more that I think about it -- it's IBM-like to do just as HP did and chose Alewife where the old ADL site is permitted for an additional 500k sq ft

This gives all the potential employees options and the rent is cheaper than Kendall
  • the reverse commuters can take the Red Line from Kendal / Seaport to Alewife,
  • there's the local housing for the walk to work with a Whole Foods and Trader Joes
  • for the suburbanites there's RT-2 inbound and the Fitchburg to Porter and Red Line to Alewife
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Old 04-17-2015, 11:02 PM   #24
RandomWalk
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Re: Watson-Health

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Today -- out in those remote places there is literally probably a square mi [25 M sq ft] of open or underutilized industrial / R&D office space for the asking
And a non-trivial number of those buildings were probably built originally for DEC.

Out in Silly Valley, they are stuck in the 495 mold, due to the various municipalities loathing any form of density. The result is endless traffic and bland office parks/warehouses for geeks.
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Old 04-18-2015, 10:28 AM   #25
JeffDowntown
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Re: Watson-Health

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Out in Silly Valley, they are stuck in the 495 mold, due to the various municipalities loathing any form of density. The result is endless traffic and bland office parks/warehouses for geeks.
Except for all the software and internet services the companies that have moved into San Francisco.
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