Dassault Systèmes’ 320,000 SF Lease is Boston’s Biggest of 2010

The company has just signed a long-term deal to occupy 320,000 square feet of Class A office, lab and data center in Waltham, Mass.

Perhaps the days of the 300,000-square-foot-plus office lease are about to return in Greater Boston. Dassault Systèmes, a business software company headquartered in France, has just signed a long-term deal to occupy 320,000 square feet of Class A office, lab and data center space in a two-building complex at the Hobbs Brook Office Park in Waltham, Mass. The transaction marks the largest new office lease in the Boston area so far this year. 

Dassault will relocate its offices in nearby Lowell and Concord and establish its new Americas corporate campus in the 225,000-square-foot structure at 175 Wyman Street and the adjacent 110,000-square-foot structure at 185 Wyman Street. Owner Hobbs Brook L.L.C. completed development of the LEED Gold-certified complex, which also features underground parking accommodations and a state-of-the-art cafeteria, in January. Margulies Perruzzi Architects designed the property. Dassault will begin occupying 175 Wyman in mid-2011, and will expand into 185 Wyman as staffing dictates. 

Real estate services firm Wyman Street Advisors represented Hobbs Brook in the lease transaction, while Jones Lang LaSalle Inc. (JLL) stood in for the tenant. “The Dassault Systèmes site selection process was rigorous to include over 20 locations stretching from Boston to Route 495,” Brendan Callahan, an executive vice president and national director with JLL, noted in a prepared statement. “They selected 175 and 185 Wyman Street to maximize the efficiency and value of their real estate at this pivotal time of exponential growth.”

Although the Greater Boston office market’s total vacancy rate is rather steep–21.4 percent, according to a second quarter report by JLL–its inventory of large blocks of space totaling 300,000 square feet or more is limited. As of the end of June, such availabilities included 527,600 square feet at 200 Forest Street in Marlborough, and in Boston, 399,400 square feet at 75 State Street, 399,000 square feet at 1 Federal Street and 346,300 square feet at One Marina Park Drive.

While Dassault’s deal is Boston’s only 300,000-square-foot-plus office lease so far this year, there have been other sizable transactions this year. Private investment firm Bain Capital committed to a 208,000-square-foot lease at the John Hancock Tower, Boston’s tallest building, with an option to expand to 270,000 square feet. Microsoft signed on for 113,000 square feet at One Cambridge Center in Cambridge.

Additionally, the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services inked a deal for 114,500 square feet at HarborSouth Tower in Quincy, and in Waltham, Education Development Center Inc. leased 120,000 square feet in the 23-acre CenterPoint business park. As JLL noted in its report, “Signs of life return to the market as large occupiers seeking to lock in favorable terms drive leasing activity.” The average overall asking rent in Greater Boston is $28.38 per square-foot, compared to $31.22 at mid-year 2009 and $38.16 at mid-year 2008.