SoHo, short for South of Houston Street, is an upscale neighborhood synonymous with style, luxury, art, and NYC culture. The area is best known for its cast-iron buildings, cobblestone streets, spacious lofts with large windows, and collection of boutique and chain fashion stores. SoHo has a rich and varied history, from a manufacturing area to a hub for artists to now one of the most expensive and in-demand locations in Manhattan.
SoHo Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
The high demand for SoHo office space is largely due from the neighborhood’s prime location, access to subway lines, amenities for employees, and proximity to the city’s other major business districts. With more than 4 million square feet of office space available for rent and another 250,000 under construction, the neighborhood has options for businesses of all sizes.
The average asking rent for office space in SoHo is around $77 per square foot and $87 for office space in a Class A building. These prices are in line with the average in Midtown South. One advantage companies seeking to move to the area may have is that SoHo’s vacancy rate is 12.4%, compared to the Midtown South average of 7.7% and the NYC office space average of 10.1%.
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SoHo has the world’s largest collection of cast-iron buildings, with memorable facades and fire escapes. Large warehouse windows allow for tons of natural light, and there’s plenty in the neighborhood for employees to enjoy. Notable tenants in SoHo include e-commerce, retail, technology, media, and financial services companies such as Warby Parker, Two Sigma Investments, DigitalOcean, FourSquare, Group Nine Media, Accenture, Wieden + Kennedy, and WeWork Labs.
For food recommendations, be sure to check out our SoHo Lunch Guide.
SoHo Neighborhood History
SoHo’s history dates back to when Southern Manhattan was a Dutch settlement known as New Amsterdam. The land that is now SoHo office space was the first free black settlement on the island, given as farmland to freed slaves of the Dutch West Indies Company. By the mid 19th Century, large commercial shops had opened in the area, including Tiffany & Company and Lord & Taylor. Shortly after, SoHo became a hub for textiles, manufacturing, and dry goods distribution.
As these businesses left the area in the 1950’s, artists began moving into the loft-style buildings, taking advantage of cheap rent, large, open spaces, and an abundance of natural light. This is the beginning of the culture and style of what we now associate with SoHo. Changes in zoning laws over the past 30 years have drawn in more affluent residents and raised both residential and commercial real estate prices.
In addition to being an abbreviation of South of Houston, SoHo’s name is a reference to Soho in London’s West End. SoHo’s naming convention became the model for renaming emerging and re-purposed neighborhoods throughout the city, such as Tribeca, DUMBO, NoHo, Nolita, and NoMad. The naming convention is also used across the country to rebrand commercial and residential redevelopment zones.
Getting Around SoHo
SoHo is easily accessible by train. The 1, 6, A, C, E, N, R, J, and Z trains pass through the neighborhood, as well as the PATH train. Additionally, many regional buses such as MegaBus and Boltbus have stops along 6th Avenue.
Because of cobblestone streets and the flood of tourists, roads are usually congested, making for a less pleasant bike ride than other parts of the city. For less traffic, cyclists can take the Hudson River Greenway. Commuters using CitiBike can dock at any of the near-dozen stations in the neighborhood, some of which hold as many as 45 bikes. Employees based closer to the popular shopping streets may have a more difficult time finding an opening to dock their bike, especially during the warmer weather months.
SoHo, like the rest of Manhattan, suffers from debilitating traffic, so we recommend alternative means of transportation whenever possible. However, SoHo is close to the Holland Tunnel, allowing for relatively quick access to New Jersey, Newark Airport, I78, and I95. Employees who need to travel for work can take the PATH train to Newark, or the A train to JFK Airport.