Boston Properties knows more than beans about real estate. The firm invests in, develops, and manages primarily Class-A office buildings in large US cities. Its core markets include Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. A self-administered real estate investment trust (REIT), Boston Properties owns about 170 office and office/technical properties, including projects under construction. Its largest tenants include the US government, Bank of America, and Citibank. The REIT also owns a handful of retail, hotel, residential properties, as well as land sites for development. Media czar Mort Zuckerman (U.S. News & World Report and Daily News) is Boston Properties' chairman.
Boston Properties is one of the largest owners and developers of office buildings in the US. Its 130 Class A Office properties, which the REIT defines as centrally-located buildings that are professionally managed and maintained and command upper-tier rental rates, contribute about 95% of the firm's revenue. The firm also owns some 30 office/technical (properties that support office, research and development, laboratory, and other technical uses) properties, one hotel, and five retail properties (one under construction). It also owns three residential buildings.
The REIT owns stakes in some rather iconic buildings. It has a 60% stake in New York's GM Building, which was acquired from the ailing Macklowe Properties for $2.8 billion, a record-setting price for a US office building. Boston Properties also owns Times Square Tower in New York, Embarcadero Center in San Francisco, and Metropolitan Square in Washington, DC.
Notwithstanding its name suggests, New York City is the firm's largest market, contributing nearly 40% of revenue. Boston represents about a third, with Washington, DC, and San Francisco, representing about 20% and 10%, respectively.
Sales and Marketing
The US government is the REIT's largest tenant, occupying 4% of its rented space. Citibank and Bank of America each occupy about 2% of space. Other high-profile tenants include Genentech, Microsoft, and Google.
The REIT reported revenue of $2.4 billion in 2014, up from $2.1 billion in 2013. The 12% rise, the latest in a decade of steady growth, was driven by an increase in rental revenue from leases and increases in parking and other recoveries from tenants. Average rental revenue increased by about $1.40 per square foot in 2014 over 2013, while average occupancy rates increased by about half a percent to nearly 93%. Net income fell about 40% that year to nearly $445 million, but that's more a function of returning to normal levels after a nearly 160% jump in 2013 as gains on consolidation of joint ventures (related to the General Motors building) pushed net income to about $750 million.
Cash flow, following the same general trajectory as net income, fell slightly in 2014 to $695 million after jumping to nearly $780 million the prior year.
At the end of 2014, Boston Properties had 10 projects under construction, including nine office properties and one residential building, which combined measure approximately 3.3 million square feet. The firm estimates that the total investment to complete these projects is approximately $2.1 billion, of which it had already invested about $0.9 million by the end of 2014.
The REIT is focused on the Boston, New York, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. markets, where it aims to be among the leading -- and preferably the leading -- owners and developers of office properties. To that end, in 2013 the firm acquired land in San Francisco and Virginia. In July 2014 the firm sold its seven-building Mountain View Technology Park complex (acquired in 2013) to its former tenant Google for about $92.1 million.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2013 Boston Properties acquired 535 Mission Street, a development site in San Francisco for $71 million in cash. It also purchased land in San Francisco that will support a 60-story office tower -- known as Transbay Tower -- for $192 million. On the East Coast, Boston Properties bought land in Reston, Virginia for about $27 million.