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5 Signs It’s Time to Find Brooklyn Office Space

April 28, 2017 | by Melissa Landon
Reviewed by real estate expert Jonathan Tootell

Updated May, 2018

If you’re planning to start a business in New York City or planning to move your business there, you might want to consider setting up shop in Brooklyn. While NYC’s famous tech scene is concentrated in Silicon Alley, Brooklyn is an excellent and appealing option for establishing a new or growing business. In fact, since the end of 2009, Brooklyn has enjoyed overall job growth of 29%, almost twice Manhattan’s 16% job growth.

Brooklyn is not only home to powerhouses like HUGE, Livestream, Etsy, and VICE but also provides an excellent incubator for startups. The borough’s impressive prices, startup culture, access to company funding, networking opportunities, and unique neighborhoods all make it an ideal place for a business to thrive. Brooklyn has a lot to offer: here are just a few factors that make it an interesting, fruitful place to rent office space.

Affordable Office Rental Prices

Pricing is a valid concern for startups and more established companies alike. Brooklyn affords a variety of commercial rental options to meet the needs of any budget. Office space rents for an average of $41.35 per square foot, and businesses can find subleased space for an average of $38.72/sqft. Overall vacancy is 17 percent, with an overall inventory of more than 43 million square feet. Certain neighborhoods in the borough offer particularly affordable spaces, such as DUMBO and Downtown Brooklyn.

Brooklyn: A Hub for Startups

Watch out, Manhattan: Brooklyn is growing in popularity for startups. We can see this in the number and variety of startups popping up in the area. Brooklyn is already home to an array of venture-backed startups in fields such as mobile gaming, comparison shopping, shoelace technology, biotech tools, and anything else you can think of. We can also see evidence of Brooklyn’s growing startup culture by watching the money flow. From 2010 to 2015, Brooklyn attracted upwards of $890 million in venture funding, according to CBInsights.

Startups have an endless potential for variety and revenue, but let’s not forget their potential to change the world for the better. Moving to Brooklyn doesn’t just mean becoming part of NYC’s bohemian backbone; it means being part of a global innovation hub.


Available Business Funding

Maybe you have a great business idea, a talented team, and an exciting vision, but you just don’t have all the funds you need to make it happen. Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, an online retailer that specializes in shoes, once said: “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.”

One huge reason for that is the borough’s large network of angel investors that provide support to Brooklyn-based companies, especially those in the media and food and beverage industries. Set up shop in Brooklyn, and you may just find an investor who shares your vision. Noteworthy angels in include Joanne Wilson, Gary Vaynerchuck, and Power of Habit author Charles Duhigg.

Unique Networking Opportunities

Some companies are venturing away from Queens in search of a shorter commute, a more tight-knit community, and more intimate networking opportunities. “We started looking [for office space] in Manhattan first, and we realized it is too crowded,” said Chief Technology Officer James Kenigsberg of 2U, Inc., a technology company. “We wanted a little bit of a micro neighborhood, more like a community than a bunch of businesses located near each other,” Keiko Morris writes for The Wall Street Journal.

Networking in Brooklyn tends to be characterized by smaller Meetups and workshops interspersed with bigger outposts like Northside, an annual five-day meetup for creative and cultural trendsetters, and Digital DUMBO, a collective that plans events for digital and creative communities in NYC and around the world.

The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce regularly sponsors many of the borough’s small meetups designed to combine business and fun so like-minded professionals can get to know each other. For example, the monthly meetup Business Before Hours divides attendees into small groups so people can dialogue and create meaningful connections. Those new to the area can participate in Chamber Visits, the Chamber of Commerce’s event that provides a tour of lesser-known areas of Brooklyn.

Brooklyn Contains Some of NYC’s Most Popular Neighborhoods

Brooklyn boasts more than 2.6 million residents, which make it the most populous borough in NYC. Known for its music, art, culture, cinema, and style, it offers cheaper office rent than Manhattan with plenty of available inventory and more in the works.

If you decide to run your business out of Brooklyn, you’ll have a wide variety of interesting neighborhoods to choose from. Here are just a few. The first three are the most popular and desirable neighborhoods in the borough, and the second three are rapidly changing and growing in demand.

  • DUMBO. DUMBO, short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, is known as the center of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle and is a booming center for technology startups. It is home to Etsy and West Elm.
  • Williamsburg. Characterized by hipster culture and the contemporary art scene, this neighborhood has earned the nickname “Little Berlin.” This neighborhood is home to the following startups and technology companies: Vice Media, Livestream, and goTenna.
  • Downtown Brooklyn. Downtown Brooklyn is NYC’s third largest business district and is an important center for education. It is home to the MetroTech Center and the Fulton Street Mall. The following startups and tech companies are based there: SportsRecruits, MiMedia, and Makerbot.
  • Red Hook. Red Hook is located on a peninsula in the Upper New York Harbor and used to be a popular shipping and port area. Today, the area’s “industrial funk” is beginning to attract creative types who enjoy the small-town feel and are interested in its untapped potential.
  • Navy Yard. This former Navy base is developing into a residential and industrial area ripe with possibilities. More than $900 million dollars have been invested into the neighborhood’s revitalization, and it’s growing in popularity as a place to live and work.
  • Industry City. Industry City, formerly known as Bush Terminal, is known for its shipping, warehousing, and manufacturing. In fact, Industry City helped Brooklyn become a major international seaport. It is being renovated to both preserve its historic nature and equip it to meet the needs of locals and small businesses.

Finding Office Space in Brooklyn: Next Steps

If you decide Brooklyn is the right place for your business, it’s time to start looking at available office spaces. Maybe you’re weighing the pros and cons of leasing vs. subleasing or trying to decide which neighborhood is best for you. One of our experienced brokers would be happy to answer all your questions and help determine the best options for you and your company.

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