Shoe company Clarks makes leads for Needham, as suburban office reshuffle continues
Clarks Americas lace up their shoes and make their way to Needham, just over five years after moving to a new office off Route 128 in Waltham.
The shoe company’s decision was revealed last month, when 3D printer company Markforged announced that it would be moving later that year, from Watertown to 60 Tower Road in Waltham, in a 120,000 square foot building owned by Boston Properties that Clarks has occupied since 2016.
When asked what this meant for Clarks, a spokesperson made only a brief statement: The UK company’s headquarters for the Americas would move to new offices in Needham this year. The company, which designs shoes and operates a chain of stores, is reinventing its offices for a hybrid model of in-person and remote work.
Clarks appears to have focused on 140 Kendrick St. in Needham, a 440,000 square foot three-building complex also owned by Boston Properties that previously housed engineering software company PTC. Greg Reibman, chairman of the Charles River Regional Chamber, mentioned in a bulletin to chamber members Tuesday that he had heard that Clarks had chosen the Kendrick Street location, and he later said in an interview that he had confirmed the location with real estate brokers, although he was told that a deal had yet to be reached.
Clarks declined to confirm the future address, and it is unclear how many employees would work in the Needham office or exactly how many the space that Clarks could use. Clarks had around 325 Waltham-based employees as of mid-2020, though most of them were working remotely at the time.
Three years after PTC left 140 Kendrick for Boston Seaport, the Needham property now appears to be filling up nicely.
Media and technology research firm IDG moved its headquarters to 140 Kendrick in Framingham a year ago and is leasing 125,000 square feet there. Most recently, investment giant Boston Wellington Management signed a letter of intent to lease 106,000 square feet of the complex starting in mid-2023. (Wellington also recently renewed and extended its lease for its Boston headquarters, to occupy 22 floors in the 31-story Atlantic Wharf Tower.) A Wellington spokesperson said the company was not renewing the lease of a office in Marlborough, although that office will be roughly a quarter of the size of the space it will lease in Needham.
Mohamad Ali, managing director of IDG, said Boston Properties “has done a fabulous job” renovating the Kendrick Street complex – renovations that have been key in getting employees to come to the office even if they can. still work from home. About 10% of the roughly 500 IDG employees based there currently visit the office every day. Ali also likes that the resort is next to the trails in Cutler Park, which he enjoys walking around, even in winter.
The Kendrick Street office complex is one mile from a mill complex along Oak Street in Newton that Clarks occupied before decamping for Waltham.
âWe knew Boston Properties would do some really good things with this campus once PTC was gone,â Reibman said of the Kendrick Street property. “This is an example that they are doing just that, bringing in three big employers for this place.”