The owners of Arsenal Yards leapt to the defense of Watertown after a Boston Globe published an article about biotech bigwigs snubbing the town as a place to set up business.
The Jan. 26 Boston Globe article interviewed biotech execs and investors who said that Cambridge’s Kendall Square remains the place to be. It quoted Jason Pontin, a biotech investor about the decision to move startup Trilogy Sciences from Watertown to Kendall Square, who said: “We investors don’t want to schlep out to Watertown for the companies we’ve invested in, and the talent and advisers don’t want to work there.”
The author drove home the point in the article with the line “Sorry, Watertown.”
Boylston Properties, which owns Arsenal Yards and has created space for biotech companies in the historic Army Arsenal building, responded to the article by taking out a full-page ad in the Globe defending Watertown. The title on the ad was: “It’s okay. apology accepted.”
The ads’ first line is “When the Boston Globe Compares Watertown to Kendall Square, We’re Grateful,” and goes on the say, “For some in biotech, the measure of happiness might not be ‘the highest rents in New England.’ It might be the ability to build your own company, nurture your science, welcome new colleagues, or even ride a bike and row along the Charles River.”
The Globe article did note that rents in Kendall Square are twice as high as suburban locations where biotechs are setting up business. It also spoke to the CEO of a company moved to Cambridgeport, a mile from Kendall, who said the move made him feel like he was out of the loop, adding that he no longer ran into people from other firms on the street, and had to get in the car to do business with others.
The Boyston Properties ad asks why the Globe is comparing Watertown to Kendall Square. They point out that Alexandria, the largest biotech property owner in Kendall spent over $1 billion in Watertown, and that Boylston and its tenants have invested another $1 billion over the past few years.
“We love Watertown because it’s a town with a growing population of families, young professionals, and great jobs at growing companies,” the ad reads. “A town building two new LEED Gold, Net-Zero elementary schools, plus a new high school.”
The ad also has an illustration of the biotech tower at Arsenal Yards and highlights some of the features of the new complex. It finishes by pointing out that Watertown comes not only with lower rents, but also with the new movie theater, restaurants including Tori Jiro, the Tokyo-based eatery which is opening its first U.S. location in Watertown.
See the Boston Globe article by clicking here.