Our properties are concentrated in five markets—Boston, Washington, DC, midtown Manhattan, San Francisco and Princeton, NJ. We conduct substantially all of our business through our subsidiary, Boston Properties Limited Partnership. At December 31, 2009, we owned or had interests in 146 properties, totaling approximately 37.7 million net rentable square feet and structured parking for vehicles containing approximately 12.8 million square feet. Our properties consisted of:
• 140 office properties including 120 Class A office properties (including three properties under construction) and 20 Office/Technical properties;
• one hotel;
• three retail properties; and
• two residential properties (both of which are under construction).
We own or control undeveloped land totaling approximately 510.1 acres, which will support approximately 12.7 million square feet of development. In addition, we have a noncontrolling interest in the Boston Properties Office Value-Added Fund, L.P., which we refer to as the “Value-Added Fund,” which is a strategic partnership with two institutional investors through which we have pursued the acquisition of assets within our existing markets that have deficiencies in property characteristics which provide an opportunity to create value through repositioning, refurbishment or renovation. Our investments through the Value-Added Fund are not included in our portfolio information tables or any other portfolio level statistics. At December 31, 2009, the Value-Added Fund had investments in an office complex in San Carlos, California, an office property in Chelmsford, Massachusetts and office/technical properties in Mountain View, California.
We consider Class A office properties to be centrally-located buildings that are professionally managed and maintained, attract high-quality tenants and command upper-tier rental rates, and that are modern structures or have been modernized to compete with newer buildings. We consider Office/Technical properties to be properties that support office, research and development, laboratory and other technical uses. Our definitions of Class A office and Office/Technical properties may be different than those used by other companies.
We are a full-service real estate company, with substantial in-house expertise and resources in acquisitions, development, financing, capital markets, construction management, property management, marketing, leasing, accounting, tax and legal services. As of December 31, 2009, we had approximately 700 employees. Our thirty-four senior officers have an average of twenty-five years experience in the real estate industry including an average of fifteen years of experience with us. Our principal executive office and Boston regional office is located at The Prudential Center, 800 Boylston Street, Suite 1900, Boston, Massachusetts 02199 and our telephone number is (617) 236-3300. In addition, we have regional offices at 505 9th Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20004; 599 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10022; Four Embarcadero Center, San Francisco, California 94111; and 302 Carnegie Center, Princeton, New Jersey 08540.
Transactions During 2009
On January 16, 2009, we acquired the development rights for the site at 17 Cambridge Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts for approximately $11.4 million. On November 6, 2009, we acquired the land parcel at 17 Cambridge Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts for a gross purchase price of approximately $6.0 million.
On February 6, 2009, we announced that we were suspending construction on our 1,000,000 square foot office project at 250 West 55th Street in New York City. During December 2009, we completed the construction of foundations and steel/deck to grade to facilitate a restart of construction in the future and as a result ceased interest capitalization on the project. During the year ended December 31, 2009, we recognized a loss of approximately $27.8 million related to the suspension of development, which amount included a $20.0 million contractual amount due pursuant to a lease agreement. On January 19, 2010, we paid $12.8 million related to the termination of such lease. As a result, we will recognize approximately $7.2 million of other income during the first quarter of 2010.
During the year ended December 31, 2009, we placed in-service the following development properties:
• On April 1, 2009, we placed in-service One Preserve Parkway, an approximately 183,000 net rentable square foot Class A office property located in Rockville, Maryland. The property is 65% leased.
• On May 31, 2009, a consolidated joint venture in which we have a 66.67% interest placed in-service the Offices at Wisconsin Place, an approximately 299,000 net rentable square foot Class A office property located in Chevy Chase, Maryland. The property is 91% leased.
• On August 1, 2009, we placed in-service Democracy Tower, an approximately 235,000 net rentable square foot Class A office property located in Reston, Virginia. The property is 100% leased.
• On October 9, 2009, we placed in-service 701 Carnegie Center, an approximately 120,000 net rentable square foot Class A office property located in Princeton, New Jersey. The property is 100% leased.
Our primary business objective is to maximize return on investment so as to provide our investors with the greatest possible total return. Our strategy to achieve this objective is:
• to concentrate on a few carefully selected geographic markets, including Boston, Washington, DC, midtown Manhattan, San Francisco and Princeton, NJ, and to be one of the leading, if not the leading, owners and developers in each of those markets. We select markets and submarkets where tenants have demonstrated a preference for high-quality office buildings and other facilities;
• to emphasize markets and submarkets within those markets where the lack of available sites and the difficulty of receiving the necessary approvals for development and the necessary financing constitute high barriers to the creation of new supply, and where skill, financial strength and diligence are required to successfully develop, finance and manage high-quality office, research and development space, as well as selected retail space;
• to take on complex, technically challenging projects, leveraging the skills of our management team to successfully develop, acquire or reposition properties that other organizations may not have the capacity or resources to pursue;
• to concentrate on high-quality real estate designed to meet the demands of today’s tenants who require sophisticated telecommunications and related infrastructure and support services, and to manage those facilities so as to become the landlord of choice for both existing and prospective clients;
• to opportunistically acquire assets which increase our penetration in the markets in which we have chosen to concentrate and which exhibit an opportunity to improve or preserve returns through repositioning (through a combination of capital improvements and shift in marketing strategy), changes in management focus and re-leasing as existing leases terminate;
• to explore joint venture opportunities primarily with existing property owners located in desirable locations, who seek to benefit from the depth of development and management expertise we are able to provide and our access to capital, and/or to explore joint venture opportunities with strategic institutional partners, leveraging our skills as owners, operators and developers of Class A office space, as well as partners with expertise in mixed-use opportunities;
• to pursue on a selective basis the sale of properties, including core properties, to take advantage of our value creation and the demand for our premier properties;
• to seek third-party development contracts, which can be a significant source of revenue and enable us to retain and utilize our existing development and construction management staff, especially when our internal development is less active or when new development is less-warranted due to market conditions; and
• to enhance our capital structure through our access to a variety of sources of capital.
We believe that our development experience and our organizational depth position us to continue to selectively develop a range of property types, including low-rise suburban office properties, high-rise urban developments, mixed-use developments (including residential) and research and laboratory space, within budget and on schedule. Other factors that contribute to our competitive position include:
• our control of sites (including sites under contract or option to acquire) in our markets that will support approximately 12.7 million square feet of new office, retail, hotel and residential development;
• our reputation gained through 40 years of successful operations and the stability and strength of our existing portfolio of properties;
• our relationships with leading national corporations, universities and public institutions seeking new facilities and development services;
• our relationships with nationally recognized financial institutions that provide capital to the real estate industry;
• our track record and reputation for executing acquisitions efficiently provides comfort to domestic and foreign institutions, private investors and corporations who seek to sell commercial real estate in our market areas;
• our ability to act quickly on due diligence and financing; and
• our relationships with institutional buyers and sellers of high-quality real estate assets.
Opportunities to execute our external growth strategy fall into three categories:
• Development in selected submarkets. We believe the continued development of well-positioned office buildings will be justified in many of our submarkets. We believe in acquiring land after taking into consideration timing factors relating to economic cycles and in response to market conditions that allow for its development at the appropriate time. While we purposely concentrate in markets with high barriers-to-entry, we have demonstrated throughout our 40-year history, an ability to make carefully timed land acquisitions in submarkets where we can become one of the market leaders in establishing rent and other business terms. We believe that there are opportunities at key locations in our existing and other markets for a well-capitalized developer to acquire land with development potential.
In the past, we have been particularly successful at acquiring sites or options to purchase sites that need governmental approvals for development. Because of our development expertise, knowledge of the governmental approval process and reputation for quality development with local government regulatory bodies, we generally have been able to secure the permits necessary to allow development and to profit from the resulting increase in land value. We seek complex projects where we can add value through the efforts of our experienced and skilled management team leading to attractive returns on investment.
Our strong regional relationships and recognized development expertise have enabled us to capitalize on unique build-to-suit opportunities. We intend to seek and expect to continue to be presented with such opportunities in the near term allowing us to earn relatively significant returns on these development opportunities through multiple business cycles.
• Acquisition of assets and portfolios of assets from institutions or individuals. We believe that due to our size, management strength and reputation, we are well positioned to acquire portfolios of assets or individual properties from institutions or individuals if valuations meet our criteria. In addition, we believe that our relatively low leverage and our liquidity and access to capital may provide us with a competitive advantage when pursuing acquisitions in the current credit-constrained environment. There may be enhanced opportunities to purchase assets with near-term financing maturities or possibly provide debt on assets at enhanced yields given the limited availability of traditional sources of debt. Opportunities to acquire properties may also come through the purchase of first mortgage or mezzanine debt. We may also acquire properties for cash, but we are also particularly well-positioned to appeal to sellers wishing to contribute on a tax-deferred basis their ownership of property for equity in a diversified real estate operating company that offers liquidity through access to the public equity markets in addition to a quarterly distribution. Our ability to offer common and preferred units of limited partnership in BPLP to sellers who would otherwise recognize a taxable gain upon a sale of assets or our common stock may facilitate this type of transaction on a tax-efficient basis. In addition, we may consider mergers with and acquisitions of compatible real estate firms.
• Acquisition of underperforming assets and portfolios of assets. We believe that because of our in-depth market knowledge and development experience in each of our markets, our national reputation with brokers, financial institutions and others involved in the real estate market and our access to competitively-priced capital, we are well-positioned to identify and acquire existing, underperforming properties for competitive prices and to add significant additional value to such properties through our effective marketing strategies and a responsive property management program. We have developed this strategy and program for our existing portfolio, where we provide high-quality property management services using our own employees in order to encourage tenants to renew, expand and relocate in our properties. We are able to achieve speed and transaction cost efficiency in replacing departing tenants through the use of in-house and third-party vendors’ services for marketing, including calls and presentations to prospective tenants, print advertisements, lease negotiation and construction of tenant improvements. Our tenants benefit from cost efficiencies produced by our experienced work force, which is attentive to preventive maintenance and energy management.
We believe that opportunities will exist to increase cash flow from our existing properties because they are of high quality and in desirable locations. In addition, our properties are in markets where, in general, the creation of new supply is limited by the lack of available sites, the difficulty of receiving the necessary approvals for development on vacant land and the difficulty of obtaining financing. Our strategy for maximizing the benefits from these opportunities is three-fold: (1) to provide high-quality property management services using our employees in order to encourage tenants to renew, expand and relocate in our properties, (2) to achieve speed and transaction cost efficiency in replacing departing tenants through the use of in-house services for marketing, lease negotiation and construction of tenant improvements and (3) to work with new or existing tenants with space expansion or contraction needs maximizing the cash flow from our assets. We expect to continue our internal growth as a result of our ability to:
• Cultivate existing submarkets and long-term relationships with credit tenants. In choosing locations for our properties, we have paid particular attention to transportation and commuting patterns, physical environment, adjacency to established business centers, proximity to sources of business growth and other local factors.
We had an average lease term of 7.0 years at December 31, 2009 and continue to cultivate long-term leasing relationships with a diverse base of high-quality, financially stable tenants. Based on leases in place at December 31, 2009, leases with respect to 9.1% of the total square feet in our portfolio will expire in calendar year 2010.
• Directly manage properties to maximize the potential for tenant retention. We provide property management services ourselves, rather than contracting for this service, to maintain awareness of and responsiveness to tenant needs. We and our properties also benefit from cost efficiencies produced by an experienced work force attentive to preventive maintenance and energy management and from our continuing programs to assure that our property management personnel at all levels remain aware of their important role in tenant relations.
• Replace tenants quickly at best available market terms and lowest possible transaction costs. We believe that we are well-positioned to attract new tenants and achieve relatively high rental rates as a result of our well-located, well-designed and well-maintained properties, our reputation for high-quality building services and responsiveness to tenants, and our ability to offer expansion and relocation alternatives within our submarkets.
• Extend terms of existing leases to existing tenants prior to expiration. We have also successfully structured early tenant renewals, which have reduced the cost associated with lease downtime while securing the tenancy of our highest quality credit-worthy tenants on a long-term basis and enhancing relationships.
Our Hotel Property
We operate our hotel property through a taxable REIT subsidiary. The taxable REIT subsidiary, a wholly-owned subsidiary of BPLP, is the lessee pursuant to leases for the hotel property. As lessor, BPLP is entitled to a percentage of gross receipts from the hotel property. The hotel lease allows all the economic benefits of ownership to flow to us. Marriott International, Inc. continues to manage the hotel property under the Marriott name and under terms of the existing management agreements. Marriott has been engaged under a separate long-term incentive management agreement to operate and manage the hotel on behalf of the taxable REIT subsidiary. In connection with these arrangements, Marriott has agreed to operate and maintain our hotel in accordance with its system-wide standard for comparable hotels and to provide the hotel with the benefits of its central reservation system and other chain-wide programs and services. Under a management agreement for the hotel, Marriott acts as the taxable REIT subsidiary’s agent to supervise, direct and control the management and operation of the hotel and receives as compensation base management fees that are calculated as a percentage of the hotel’s gross revenues, and supplemental incentive fees if the hotel exceeds negotiated profitability breakpoints. In addition, the taxable REIT subsidiary compensates Marriott, on the basis of a formula applied to the hotel’s gross revenues, for certain system-wide services provided by Marriott, including central reservations, marketing and training. During 2009, 2008 and 2007, Marriott received an aggregate of approximately $1.5 million, $3.0 million and $3.2 million, respectively, from our taxable REIT subsidiary. For a portion of 2007, these amounts include payments related to the Long Wharf Marriott, which was sold by us in March 2007.