When people think of the Upper East Side, they often think of affluence; luxury; and grand apartments and mansions lining the streets. It is indeed one of NYC’s most expensive neighborhoods. Earning this reputation has contributed to the Upper East Side’s slower pace of living compared to Midtown and Lower Manhattan. While the Upper East Side is known for upscale apartments, prep schools, and designer boutiques, one can find affordable living spaces here as well.
Though the Upper East Side—sometimes nicknamed UES—is mostly residential, it possesses unique characteristics that make it ideal for some businesses. In particular, high-end retailers and galleries may find the perfect location in the Upper East Side, which has a notoriously upscale population and is also close to key tourist locations such as Central Park and big transit hubs like Grand Central Terminal.
Companies with office space in the Upper East Side include Annie and Company Needlepoint, California Closets, French Bull, dineen architecture + design, as well as the New York offices of National Geographic.
What Our Brokers Say About Upper East Side Office Space for Lease
Businesses based in the Upper East Side benefit from the neighborhood’s location within Midtown Manhattan, the largest central business district in the world. Midtown is a hub for tourism, contains some of the most famous buildings in NYC, and houses the headquarters for many well-known companies, like The New York Times Company, Calvin Klein, Barnes & Noble, and Foot Locker. With the United Nations less than a 30-minute commute away from a majority of the Upper East Side, diplomatic missions and consulates often occupy the former mansions of the neighborhood, including those of Austria, France, Greece, Italy, India, and Pakistan. Companies with global and international connections might find that office space in the Upper East Side fits their needs.
Businesses in the medical sector will also be in good company in the Upper East Side. The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Weill Cornell Hospital, and Gracie Square Hospital are just a few of the medical institutions in the area. The campuses of a variety of medical schools as well as Hunter College, Rockefeller University, and Fordham University are also located in the Upper East Side, attracting students and recent graduates to the area who form a skilled talent pool. Local businesses will have little difficulty recruiting interns or new hires.
The sophistication and elegance of the Upper East Side draw many construction companies, architects, and interior designers who find inspiration in the abundance of art, nature, and classic NYC vibes of the neighborhood. Many of the office buildings in the neighborhood are especially suited to house small or mid-sized businesses because of the average size of the units available.
Currently, the Upper East Side employs 125,000 people. Financial institutions; hospitals; and elementary and secondary schools are among the largest industries in the UES. The highest paying industries are pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing, alcoholic beverages merchant wholesalers, and grocery wholesalers. Currently, the neighborhood has an unemployment rate of 4.1 percent. Over the next decade, the job growth rate in the UES is expected to be around 30 percent.
Besides its high-class shopping opportunities, impressive residential options, and unique business community, the Upper East Side also has many other amenities. Those looking to the Upper East Side offers excellent restaurants that are ideal for business lunches, such as Russ & Daughters at The Jewish Museum and Flora Bar at the Met. Our team also enjoys eating out at Blake Lane, Petaluma, Café Beach, Pastrami Queen, and Via Quadronno. The Upper East Side is home to an impressive collection of museums and galleries. Need to get out of the office and take a stroll? Central Park offers a great option to get walk around or eat lunch outside and people watch. Locals who need some more intense exercise can visit The Upper East Side is also known for its fancy hotels. Trip Savvy recommends Loews Regency New York, The Carlyle, The Mark, and The Sherry-Netherland.
Upper East Side Commercial Space For Lease | By the numbers
|Office Space for Rent||Price per square foot|
Upper East Side Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
Upper East Side office space costs an average of just under $74 per square foot to rent, just below the $77 per square foot Midtown average and the $74 per square foot Manhattan average. Class A office space in the Upper East Side costs an average of just over $75 per square foot to lease. Currently, the neighborhood houses nearly 21.3 million square feet of office space, nearly 10 percent of which is vacant.
Newer office spaces tend to be located on the east side of Third Avenue, while historic Class A and Class B buildings constructed in the 1920s are more common along Park Avenue and Fifth and Madison Avenues. Office suites and entire floors compose a significant portion of the available office space in the Upper East Side. Leasing activity in Manhattan rose by 21.5 percent in Q2 of 2019, mostly thanks to unusually high leasing activity in Midtown Manhattan.
Getting Around the Upper East Side
Commuting to and from the Upper East Side has become much more convenient following the completion of the Second Avenue Subway in early 2017. The average commute time is 28.7 minutes. The Q train now runs from 72nd Street up to 96th Street and diverts congestion from the notoriously dysfunctional 4, 5, and 6 lines. Suburban commuters can connect to the Lexington Avenue line at Grand Central Station. Subway stations in the Upper East Side include 59th Street—Lexington, 68th Street—Hunter College, 77th Street, 86th Street, 96th Street, 103rd Street, and 110th Street.
With the exception of Park Avenue, every avenue from 5th to York is served by at least one bus route. Nearly a dozen bus routes running uptown and downtown serve the area, including M1, M2, M3, M4, M15, and M31. Five crosstown buses—M66, M72, M79 SBS, M86 SBS, and M96—serve the neighborhood as well.
WalkScore rates the Upper East Side with walking and transit scores of 99. Central Park and the East River Esplanade provide pedestrians and bikers with scenic trails to take to work or unwind from the day. CitiBike continues to expand its Upper East Side stations, and bike lanes are located on First Avenue and Second Avenue.
Those who need to travel nationally or internationally can use the LaGuardia Airport, which is only about a 20-minute drive from the Upper East Side. JFK is also close by—about a 35-minute drive from the UES.
The Upper East Side is bounded by 59th Street, Central Park, 96th Street, and the East River. The Upper East Side is composed of three smaller neighborhoods: Lenox Hill covering the area between 59th Street and 77th Street, Carnegie Hill tucked between upper Third Avenue and Central Park, and Yorkville occupying the northeast corner. Nearby neighborhoods include: Midtown, Midtown East, Plaza District, Park Avenue, the Upper West Side, and Harlem.
Top Commercial Properties For Lease In Upper East Side
To learn more about open office space in the Upper East Side, talk to one of our experienced brokers. Or, just check out one of these three SquareFoot-recommended properties on Madison Avenue. All three are most suitable for small or mid-sized businesses and enjoy convenient transportation access, proximity to numerous restaurants, and other various amenities.
645 Madison Avenue: 645 Madison Avenue, an office building sometimes called the Pan Ocean Building, was built in 1971 and stretches 22 stories (274 feet) high. The Class A office building offers 140,232 square feet of rentable space, which is most suitable for small or mid-sized organizations. Right now, six units ranging from 2,640 to 10,700 square feet in size are available for rent. Contact us for pricing or a tour. The Pan Ocean Building has a lobby attendant, on-site security, and a freight elevator. Current tenants include the Rothman Orthopedic Institute, Roc Capital Management, Nahla Capital Management, and Honeycomb Asset Management. The MTA’s blue, green, and yellow subway lines can help workers and visitors access the Pan Ocean Building. The building has a variety of coffee and lunch choices less than .25 mile from the office, such as Juan Valdez, Starbucks, The Fitz, Dancing Drane Cafe, and Aquavit.
14 East 60th Street: 14 East 60th Street is a Class B office building located between 5th and Madison Avenue. At 12 stories high, it contains 152,749 square feet of leasable space. Because it does not offer large blocks of contiguous space, this building would be most ideal for small or mid-sized companies. One unit that is 1,063 square feet in size is available to rent in this building. Erika Bloom Pilates, Avra, Fancy That, and The Green Fund are all current tenants at 14 East 60th Street. Reach this location via trains E, F, M, N, R, W, 4, 5, or 6. Eat lunch at Harry Cipriani just steps from the office or grab a coffee at Starbucks, Ninth Street Espresso, or Dancing Crane Cafe.
654 Madison Avenue: Built in 1927, 654 Madison Avenue is a boutique office building with 143,524 square feet of rentable space spread throughout 23 stories. Currently, on 2,029 square foot unit is available to new renters. The building tends to attract financial service companies, consultants, and foundations. Current tenants at 654 Madison Avenue include Calvin Klein, Clover Group, Lakewood Advisors, and LCA Capital. Employees and visitors of 654 Madison Avenue can easily access the area via trains E, F, M, N, R, W, 4, 5, or 6. The building has several coffee and lunch spots less than .25 mile away; visit CoolMess, Ninth Street Espresso, Dancing Crane Cafe, or pick a bagel.
Upper East Side Neighborhood & History
Like many parts of NYC, the Upper East Side used to be farmland. The first sign of commercialization rolled in on the New York and Harlem Road to 86th Street, a station that eventually turned into the center of Yorkville.
Affluence has been a defining trait of the Upper East Side for so long that the neighborhood was once known as the Silk Stocking District. Wealthy families enjoyed a luxurious lifestyle with immediate access to both Central Park and the retail shops along Fifth Avenue. Many historically significant families had homes in the Upper East Side, including the Kennedys, Roosevelts, Rockefellers, and Carnegies. While pockets of affordable housing can be found closer to the East River, the Upper East Side has some of the most expensive housing in Manhattan and the rest of the United States.
One of the Upper East Side’s defining features is the section of Fifth Avenue between 82nd Street and 105th street known as “Museum Mile.” A favorite family and tourist destination, nine museums are located on this stretch of Fifth Avenue including the Guggenheim Museum, the Frick Collection, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and The Jewish Museum.