Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content

News release


Jones Lang LaSalle Program Examines Boston on a Global Stage

International Director Rosemary Feenan keynote on challenges in face of globalization

BOSTON, Sept. 26, 2013 — Is Boston poised for future growth on a global stage? What can city officials and business leaders do to stay ahead of the curve in an unrelenting wave of globalization and urbanization? Jones Lang LaSalle International Director of Global Research Programs Rosemary Feenan, Managing Directors Frank Petz and Bill Barrack, and New England Research Director Lori Mabardi uncovered the issues and forces that will shape Boston’s future on the increasingly competitive global stage at JLL’s event Real Answers on Boston’s Future held today at The Institute of Contemporary Art.

Rosemary began by describing Boston as a rising Alpha City existing in an urban fourth dimension. “It operates in a multi-layered existence,” she said, “where its deep history and personalities are integrated with a modern present. In the past Boston’s agility in reinventing itself has led to its economic success and creative edge. But the rules are changing.”

She described Boston as playing at the upper levels of a Global 300. These are cities that will be of particular interest to the real estate community over the next few decades. “The 300 already account for over 40% of world GDP,” continued Rosemary, “and over half a trillion dollars of investment which is approximately 70% of the global total.

“If you think of each of these cities as bubbles, Boston sits comfortably in this elite category among the world’s top 30 cities. It’s in the company of super cities and holding its own globally. A strong position no doubt, but our sense of normal commerce, process and opportunity is being tested by structural changes in the way cities are built, used and funded.”

Using multiple data sources in her presentation in the ICA Theatre, Rosemary visually represented the shape of Boston’s competitive profile on a dozen variables. She identified a cluster of cities around the world with competitive leanings most similar to ours. Included on that list was Berlin, Stockholm, Singapore, Tel Aviv, and Toronto. “By 2030, Boston will be competing not only with new entrants to the alpha city list like Mexico City, Jakarta and Johannesburg, but also with a new wave of light, agile cities like Santiago, Taipei and Shenzhen.”

“You can be sure,” she concluded, “that the $30 trillion dollars of real estate investment we estimate to be available by 2030 will be fiercely fought for, as cities work tirelessly to attract the capital that will allow them to deliver on their aspirations and visions.”

JLL’s Petz, who leads the firm’s overall Capital Markets business for New England, tracked Boston on a steady growth trajectory. “We’re led by companies that are the most innovative and institutions that manufacture the brightest minds,” he said. He pointed out that growth across all sectors of our economy has led to vacancy rates that are now below 10% in the CBD, and Boston is at the forefront of the urbanization trend.

“We are more than doubling our stock of institutional apartments in the city. The next development cycle in office, multifamily and hospitality is well underway. Local, national and global capital wants to participate and invest in Boston and many of our suburban markets.”

With a background in urban planning and market strategy, keynote speaker Rosemary Feenan’s interests in real estate research over her 33 year career have focused on trends and innovation. She has authored leading studies including “The Wired Lease,” “Tech Cities Futures,” and Jones Lang LaSalle’s “Property Foresight Series.” Over the last 10 years, Rosemary has built Jones Lang LaSalle’s flagship “World Winning Cities” program to define the next generation of  “rising urban stars” with a particular focus on the impact of urbanization on city futures. Her work is used by large corporates, developers and investors as they shape their global strategies and expansion plans.  

Join the conversation about this Jones Lang LaSalle event on Twitter at

About Jones Lang LaSalle
Jones Lang LaSalle (NYSE:JLL) is a professional services and investment management firm offering specialized real estate services to clients seeking increased value by owning, occupying and investing in real estate. With annual revenue of $3.9 billion, Jones Lang LaSalle operates in 70 countries from more than 1,000 locations worldwide. On behalf of its clients, the firm provides management and real estate outsourcing services to a property portfolio of 2.6 billion square feet and completed $63 billion in sales, acquisitions and finance transactions in 2012. Its investment management business, LaSalle Investment Management, has $47.7 billion of real estate assets under management. For further information, visit