Developer O’Brien: We need offices, cities
One of Boston’s top developers, a self-described half-glass-full guy, says he remains bullish on commercial real estate despite the rise of remote work during the coronavirus pandemic.
Tom O’Brien, the founding partner and managing director of the HYM Investment Group, has two big projects under development – a massive mixed-use complex at the site of Suffolk Downs in East Boston and a mixed-use project called Bulfinch Crossing at the former Government Center garage. Combined, the two projects call for 6.35 million square feet of office space.O’Brien acknowledges the nature of office work has changed during COVID, but he doesn’t think the change will affect commercial real estate as much as some people think.
“I’m not part of the hand-wringing crowd that says there’s going to be a drastic reduction in office,” O’Brien said on The Codcast. “I do think that the way people work will change, that’s for sure. It will be more flexible. But we still fundamentally need offices; we need cities because those are the places where people gather. That’s where they collaborate. That’s where they produce good ideas. That’s where we’re able to converse with one another. That’s still the future of cities and office.”