The Flatiron District is named after the Flatiron Building, an iconic triangular building that is one of the oldest original skyscrapers in New York City. The building was considered groundbreaking at the time of its construction in 1902, and now symbolizes both the historical importance and innovative spirit that defines the area.
Based on commercial real estate leasing data from Q1 2018, the average Flatiron office for rent costs $69 per square foot, and around $77 per square foot if the unit is in a Class A building.
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Flatiron District, defined as between Union Square and Madison Square Park, has more than 31 million square feet of commercial real estate inventory, but direct vacancy rate is one of the lowest in New York at 6.3% (as of Q1 2018, the city average is around 9%). Despite low availability, demand for Flatiron office space remains high, in part to be heart of the city’s startup scene. The average Flatiron office for rent costs $69 per square foot, and around $77 per square foot for office space in a Class A building. Rental rates vary by building class, lease length, building amenities, and much more. To better understand the nuances of the commercial real estate leasing process, review our Leasopedia resources.
The Flatiron District is widely recognized as the center of Silicon Alley, New York’s technology hub. Startups, publishers, fashion designers, nonprofits, consulting firms, and advertising agencies work side-by-side. Notable tenants include Yelp (154,000 square feet at 104 5th Ave), Tiffany & Co. (17,00 square feet at 53 West 23rd Street), Betterment (16,909 square feet at 61 West 23rd Street), Buzzfeed, Spotify, Dashlane, and Yext.
Flatiron is also home to the NYC Human Resources Administration, which signed a lease for 349,777 square feet at 109 East 16th Street during Q2 2017.
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Madison Square Park, fully restored in 2001, is just north of the building the neighborhood is named for. Over 50,000 people visit daily, it’s the perfect spot for both locals and tourists to take lunch, enjoy a coffee, or people watch.
Due to zoning laws, many of the tallest buildings are still no higher than 20 stories. Older buildings along the side streets are often only 3-6 stories tall. These smaller buildings mean that tenants seeking square footage of 5,000 or less can enjoy the privacy of occupying their own floor, which is rare in other parts of the city. With more modest floor plans with high ceilings, many spaces are ideal for open office concepts.
Since the formation of the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District (BID) in 2006, over 2.2 million in funds are invested annually in the neighborhood’s sanitation, public safety, marketing, social services, and public improvements. Due to the BID’s dedication to a clean and safe area, Flatiron is increasingly attractive for families and young professionals looking for a strong sense of community. There are currently 247 new residential units, including luxury rental condominiums, planned or under construction.
Fitness and Food Culture
In response to the high number of young workers, the fitness and wellness sector has rapidly taken hold of Flatiron, with 47 fitness gyms and studios available within walking distance and companies like Athleta, Equinox, and Sweaty Betty renting office space.
As much as fitness is a part of the Flatiron culture, so is food. Host business meetings at Eleven Madison Park, Craft, Gramercy Tavern, and Cosme, or take a more casual outing to Shake Shack, Tappo Thin Crust, Live Bait, and Eisenberg Sandwich Shop. Flatiron is also home to Eataly, a 58,000 square foot Italian marketplace with seven unique restaurants that opened in 2010. During the summer, workers can choose from dozens of food trucks at Madison Square Eats. For a more complete list of things to do in the Flatiron District, check out our Best of Flatiron neighborhood guide.
Flatiron District Neighborhood History
After evolving from the commercial “Toy District” to a more residential neighborhood, Flatiron was briefly referred to as the “Photo District” from the 1960s-1980s. Expansive lofts with plenty of natural light and relatively cheap rent were ideal for photographers. The appeal of these unique loft-style buildings brought an influx of tech and media companies, once again changing the character of the neighborhood until it officially became the Flatiron District in the mid-1980s.
Getting Around the Flatiron District
Pedestrians outnumber vehicles 18:1 in Flatiron, so it’s no surprise that Flatiron has a walk score of 100% and is considered the 6th most walkable neighborhood in Manhattan. Foot traffic can be heavy during the day and at lunch time but lightens up in the evening. Bikers have access to 13 bike share stations and approximately 500 docking spaces within the district.
Flatiron’s transit score is also 100%. In addition to 24 bus lines that pass through Flatiron, commuters can take the F, M, N, R or 6 trains. Many choose to make slightly longer walks from express stops at Grand Central Station, Penn Station, Herald Square, or Union Square, which provide additional access to the 4, 5, A, C, E, B, D, N, Q, and L trains, as well as Amtrak and Metro North.