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The Best Neighborhoods in NYC to Rent an Office in 2020

October 2, 2019 | by
Reviewed by real estate expert Michael Colacino

Neighborhoods in NYC are constantly evolving. Business districts that were once relatively under the radar are now getting immense attention (Long Island City and Hudson Yards, for example). The sector composition of the city is also changing — many tech companies look to set up shop here, and the presence of prominent tech industry giants such as Netflix, Google, and Yext is growing quickly. All this change begs the question — what are the best neighborhoods in NYC to work in as of today? Where can companies find a space that strikes the right balance between budget-friendly, employee-friendly, and client-friendly?

New York City is one of the most expensive cities in the country, and setting up an office space in NYC can be costly. The best neighborhood to set up your new office may not be the most affordable. But all neighborhoods in New York City have their pros and cons when it comes to key considerations such as commute, dining, building quality, and price — finding the right location just depends on what you want to prioritize.

This year, 19% of SquareFoot clients have moved into a Flatiron office, making the Flatiron District the most popular neighborhood to rent office space in New York City in 2020. This makes sense, given that it’s the most affordable of the Midtown South neighborhoods (the others being Soho, Chelsea, Greenwich Village, Noho, and Hudson Square) — its average price per square foot clocks in at around $10 below the Midtown South average. It’s also a commutable neighborhood, close to a variety of subway lines that accommodate those traveling from other boroughs. And there’s no shortage of fun things to do Flatiron, from trying out one of the many buzzing happy hour spots, to taking a hot yoga or a Flywheel class after work, to going on a leisurely lunchtime stroll in Madison Square Park (when the weather’s nice, of course.)

Downtown NYC with view of skyscrapes

“Clients love the general feel of Flatiron. You’re getting a trendy vibe, similar to SoHo, without having to pay SoHo office prices,” says SquareFoot broker Rob Carinci. “Additionally, the area is turning into New York’s Silicon Valley, meaning that more and more burgeoning tech companies are moving there in order to be close to their peers. Almost every tech client that I have worked with wants to be in Midtown South — specifically in Flatiron.” 

The other neighborhoods taking up the top 5 spots are the Garment District, Midtown, Chelsea, and FiDi — all viable, central options for growing businesses. FiDi, where office space costs $17 per square foot below the Manhattan average, is by far the most affordable of these.

“For companies that want to be in Midtown South but that can’t afford the price point, FiDi is a great second option. It’s a relatively economical choice, but that doesn’t mean you’re compromising on neighborhood amenities — there’s more to do every day, with many restaurants and bars popping up. The office spaces themselves are also changing — landlords are adopting more creative layouts in their buildings to attract a variety of clientele. The drab investment banking offices we think of when we think of FiDi are becoming a thing of the past.”

Carinci also notes that businesses moving from elsewhere in Manhattan to FiDi can qualify for certain financial incentives.

If you’re looking for an office for rent in NYC, don’t gloss over these key Manhattan neighborhoods — they’re without a doubt the best neighborhoods in NYC for growing businesses to set up shop.

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