WALTHAM, MA-Developers are turning up the heat on Boston’s suburban office market with plans to add 1.6 million sf in speculative development to the Waltham submarket as demand for class A office space continues to soar.

“Waltham is the sole center of speculative development,” Brendan Carroll, a researcher with Richards Barry Joyce and Partner’s Boston office, tells GlobeSt.com. Carroll says demand for office space is so strong, in fact, that developers are moving ahead with building plans despite any widespread tenant commitments.

“Because of low vacancy rates within class A buildings, which are presently under 10%, demand continues unabated,” says Carroll, who is presently tracking 1.6 million sf in speculative projects in the Waltham market alone.

Driving that development, says Carroll, is Waltham’s proximity to a highly skilled labor base and the city’s historical status as one of the first office markets developed in Boston’s suburbs. “It is presently the most prestigious address to be associated with in the Boston suburban market,” Carroll notes, adding that the demand for space in the Watch City is reflective of an ongoing flight to quality by local businesses.

Among the projects gearing up or currently under construction is the planned redevelopment of a 119-acre site overlooking Route 128 that once served as the headquarters for the Polaroid Corp. by the Related Cos. of New York. Davis Marcus Partners of Boston also is planning about 626,000 sf of speculative development, including a 185,000-sf, three-story office building on the company’s Reservoir Woods campus.

Duffy Associates is gearing up to build a 143,000-sf speculative office building at Waverly Oaks Office Park in that city, as is Equity Office, which is currently in the process of getting permits to develop a 335,000-sf flex building at 175 Wyman St. Boston Properties also has started assembling a number of smaller sites in the area for what could eventually become a 600,000-sf urban campus, Carroll says.

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