The Flatiron District is named after the Flatiron Building, an iconic triangular building that is one of the oldest original skyscrapers in New York. 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.
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Flatiron has over 21 million square feet of commercial real estate, but the percentage of retail availability is one of the lowest in Manhattan at 5.6%. Despite low availability, demand for office space remains high. Renters can expect to pay an average of $65 per square foot.
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Madison Square Park, fully restored in 2001, is considered Flatiron’s heart. Over 50,000 people visit daily, and it’s the perfect spot for both locals and tourists to take lunch and people watch.
Flatiron is also known for the Ladies’ Mile Historic District which remains a prime shopping area and for being the original center of Silicon Alley. Publishers, fashion designers, nonprofits, consulting firms, and advertising agencies are side by side with media and technology leaders such as Buzzfeed, Blue Apron, AppNexus, Spotify, Dashlane, Yext, General Assembly, Tumblr, and Betterment.
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 occupy their own floor, which is rare in other parts of the city. With more modest floor plans with high ceilings, many spaces are perfect 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.
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 NYC. 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 N, R or 6 trains to 23rd Street. Other Subway lines that pass through with full- or part-time stops include the F, L, M, Q, 4, and 5 trains. Many choose to make the slightly longer walk from Grand Central Station, Penn Station, or Union Square to their office.