Owen Thomas and Douglas Linde

Owen Thomas and Douglas Linde.


Owen Thomas and Douglas Linde

Chairman and CEO; president and director at BXP

Last year's rank: 27

Owen Thomas and Douglas Linde
By May 10, 2024 9:00 AM

Like other institutional going concerns on this list, BXP under Owen Thomas and Douglas Linde came through 2023 largely intact and largely … well … large. 

The data testifies to the success of the nation’s biggest owner and manager of office space. The portfolio of BXP — formerly known as Boston Properties — by the start of 2024 included 188 properties totaling 53.3 million square feet (excluding hotels and residential properties). Nearly 90 percent of it was occupied, too, no small feat in an era of hybrid work schedules and high vacancy rates.

But that’s the thing about BXP: Much of that expansive portfolio is top-shelf, the sorts of Class A towers that benefit from the very real flight-to-quality trend. In New York, that includes 3 Hudson Boulevard, the General Motors Building at 767 Fifth Avenue, 599 Lexington Avenue and 250 West 55th Street. There are similarly amenitized, modern properties in other major markets such as San Francisco, Boston and Washington, D.C.

Also, as other owner-investors recoil from office, BXP appears ready to expand. 

“Our primary focus for 2024 will be leasing, preserving and building over time our occupancy in addressing near- and, in some cases, medium-term lease expirations,” Thomas said during a January earnings call. “A second focus for 2024 is new investment activity. Many office owners are facing existential risks, given slow leasing and limited secured financing, and many institutional owners want to diversify away from the office asset class.”

BXP has also sold when it looked advantageous. Take the November trade of part of a pair of Cambridge, Mass., life sciences projects totaling 810,000 square feet and fully pre-leased. The company sold a 45 percent stake to Norges Bank Investment Management in a deal valued at $1.66 billion. The move came at a time when tenant demand in life sciences real estate was waning — and was consequently one of the biggest deals in the sector in 2023 nationally. 

Finally — and not uncoincidentally — BXP proved one of the surer financing bets of the past year-plus. That in itself is notable given how zymotic distress has tended to be in office in particular. Not BXP, though: The company secured $4 billion in new capital in 2023, including a nine-figure mortgage financing and a nine-figure equity raise in the fourth quarter.