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 175 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 and CEO.
As its name suggests, Boston is the firm's largest market, contributing about 35% of its revenue. New York represents about 31% of revenue, followed by Washington, DC, and San Francisco, representing 20% and 11%, respectively.
Boston Properties is one of the largest owners and developers of office buildings in the US. 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 95% of the firm's revenue. The firm also owns 17 office/technical (properties that support office, research and development, laboratory, and other technical uses) properties, one hotel, and four retail properties. It also owns three residential buildings, one of which is under construction.
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.
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The US government is the REIT's largest tenant, occupying 6% of its rented space. Citibank and Bank of America each occupy more than 2% of space. Other high-profile tenants include Genentech, Microsoft, and Google.
The REIT reported revenue of more than $2.1 billion in 2013, up from $1.9 billion in 2012. The double-digit rise was driven by an increase in rental revenue from leases and increases in parking and other recoveries, partially offset by a decline in other income. Average rental revenue increased by about $0.97 per square foot in 2013 over 2012, while average occupancy rates increased by about 1% to 92%. Net income jumped 159% to nearly $750 million on higher sales, gains on consolidation of joint ventures (related to the General Motors building), and an increased gain on real estate sales. Cash flow from operations totaled $777.9 million in 2013, rising sharply in step with net income. Boston Properties has enjoyed a decade of increasing revenue with the growth rate accelerating in the past three years.
At the end of 2013, Boston Properties had nine projects under construction, including eight office properties and one residential building, which combined measure approximately 2.9 million square feet. The firm estimates that the total investment to complete these projects is approximately $2.5 billion, of which it had already invested about $1.8 million by the end of 2013.
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.
Throughout the economic downturn, which brought high unemployment and a struggling real estate market, Boston Properties worked to expand its portfolio. The REIT has gone after several high-quality assets that presented attractive repositioning and leasing opportunities as the real estate market entered recovery. In 2010 Boston Properties bought the John Hancock Tower -- the tallest building in Boston -- in a $930 million deal. It also bought 510 Madison Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, Bay Colony Corporate Center in Boston, and 500 North Capitol in Washington, DC. In 2012 the company acquired 100 Federal Street in Boston, which is leased to Bank of America. To fund such acquisitions, the company regularly sells select properties.
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.