With more than 2.7 million residents, Brooklyn is the most populous New York City borough. It would be the nation’s third most populous city—if it were a city. It actually used to be a city until 1898, when it joined the City of New York as a borough. Brooklyn, named after the Dutch village “Breukelen,” contains iconic NYC destinations Coney Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Prospect Park. It is famous for its music, art, culture, literature, cinema, and style. Though historically a residential borough offering blue-collar work, the past two decades have transformed Brooklyn into a thriving hub for entrepreneurs, technology startups, advertising and design agencies, inpatient care, manufacturers, and local artists.
Popular Neighborhoods to Rent Brooklyn Office Space
Short for Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, DUMBO is one of the most desirable neighborhoods in the city for both businesses and residents. Local warehouses and factories have been converted into luxury condos, art galleries, restaurants, and spacious, well-lit offices. DUMBO is home to numerous technology startups, ad agencies, financial services firms, and creative agencies. Notable tenants include Huge, Etsy, Big Spaceship, Amplify, Red Antler. Office space in DUMBO costs an average of just over $70.25 per square foot to lease.
Downtown Brooklyn is the city’s third-largest business district and is part of the Brooklyn Tech Triangle. Its office landscape is driven by three main factors: The Brooklyn courts and Borough Hall, proximity to DUMBO, and numerous public transit options. Between Borough Hall Station, Jay Street Metrotech, and Atlantic Avenue-Barclays Center, commuters have more than a dozen MTA trains to choose from, as well as options on the Long Island Rail Road. The neighborhood houses more than 14.1 million square feet of office space, most of which is Class B. Those searching for office space in Downtown Brooklyn can expect to pay around $59.50 per square foot to lease.
Williamsburg is one of the most in-demand, luxury-driven markets in Brooklyn. Though primarily residential, Williamsburg is home to startups and creative agencies which prefer the loft-style brick and beam structures. It tends to attract creative minds and recent college graduates. Williamsburg is also a local hub for agriculture technology and biofabrication startups. Vice Media, Livestream, Farm to People, BlockApps, and Falcon.io already work in Williamsburg. The neighborhood contains almost one million square feet of office space, and nearly 900,000 square feet more are currently under construction. On a per square foot basis, Williamsburg is one of the most expensive submarkets in which to lease Brooklyn office space, at just over $69.75 per square foot. The neighborhood is easily accessible from Manhattan, Long Island City, Greenpoint, and many more of Brooklyn’s most popular residential areas.
Sunset Park, South Brooklyn, and Industry City
Despite its distance from Manhattan and any major transit hub, Sunset Park’s waterfront views and classic industrial architecture is quickly becoming one of the fastest growing submarkets in Brooklyn. Its popularity is in part due to its inclusion of Industry City, a 35-acre space along the waterfront. Industry City used to be composed largely of vacant factories but now includes mixed-use work, innovation, and retail space ranging from 5,000 to 500,000 square feet with more than a dozen ISP options for high-speed internet. The average Sunset Park office space rent is among the lowest of New York City’s top submarkets. Some space rents for as little as $32 per square foot.
Bordering Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, and Park Slope, three of the most popular residential neighborhoods, Gowanus has quickly transitioned from an industrial corridor. Many warehouses and former factories under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and along the Gowanus Canal are being transformed into mixed-use retail and office spaces. Gowanus has numerous private office and coworking options and is home to Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Gimlet Media, and many other notable, fast-growing technology firms, high-end retailers, and creative agencies.
Gowanus has seen significant real estate movement in the past year, headlined by 175-225 3rd Street’s recent sale to RFR Realty for a rumored price of $120 million.
Red Hook comprises the area formerly called South Brooklyn. Primarily a shipping hub, the Red Hook corporate real estate market is only beginning to match the upward trend of the neighborhood’s residential market. Red Hook is an ideal location for businesses that require lots of space for machinery—or simply those that want to stretch out and take advantage of cheaper average rents.
Brooklyn Navy Yard/Flushing Avenue Corridor/Vinegar Hill
The Navy Yard and Flushing Avenue corridor borders DUMBO and Williamsburg and offers office space at lower prices. The neighborhood has a tremendous number of new construction and redevelopment projects underway. Shipbuilding and repairs stopped in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but the Navy Yard has since become a private area for manufacturing and retail, with more than 200 businesses calling the area home.
The Brooklyn Navy Yard recently received a $2.5 billion investment for the next phase of expansion. On top of the ongoing development, which includes Dock 72 and Admirals Row, the new investment will add 5 million square feet of manufacturing space and boosts the long-term employment projection for the Navy Yard to 30,000 jobs.
What Our Brokers Say About Brooklyn Office Space
Brooklyn comprises King’s County and lies east of Manhattan. It touches the Atlantic Ocean, the East River, Long Island City, and Upper New York Bay. Notably, more than half of those who live in Brooklyn do not work in the borough. Brooklyn is one of the nation’s most culturally diverse counties, which makes it both interesting and economically successful. In 2016 alone, Brooklyn had more than 1 million immigrants. Until 1975, Brooklyn’s economy was mostly focused on manufacturing, but after 1975, it began changing to a service-based economy.
Brooklyn has a steadily growing population and features the highest density of young adults in the city, making the borough especially appealing to firms looking to hire young, talented employees. Brooklyn also offers plenty of work/life balance amenities, including a more bike-friendly and car-friendly landscape, and lower housing costs compared to Manhattan.
Brooklyn is also seeing an impressive increase in innovation jobs and is becoming “the innovation capital of New York,” according to Crain’s NY Business. Lower Manhattan’s Silicon Alley has stretched in Brooklyn, which now houses a large number of startups such as Kickstarter, Etsy, Work & Co., Vice Media, Makerbot, mindbodygreen, and Livestream. From 2009 to 2018, the number of businesses in Brooklyn increased by 32 percent, which is nearly double the rate of business growth across the city. The Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce offers free resources and amenities for small businesses.
Brooklyn Office Space for Rent | By the Numbers
|Office space for lease||Class A||Class B|
|Flushing Avenue Corridor||$56||$26|
|South Brooklyn Waterfront||$33||$26|
|Long Island City||$57||$40|
Office Space | Brooklyn Lease Data & Trends
Brooklyn rents are still significantly cheaper than averages in Manhattan, and a fast-growing inventory of repurposed buildings and new constructions can accommodate businesses of all industries and sizes. Brooklyn is now seen as “the roomier, cheaper, less chaotic alternative [to Manhattan], with a more stable population, and a reputation for creativity that draws artists developers, and investors from across the world,” Tim Donnelly writes for Inc.
Commercial leasing activity has slowed down in Brooklyn from Q1 to Q2. Together with Long Island City, Brooklyn had 882,000 square feet in total leasing activity during Q2, down from 1.5 million square feet in Q1. Rental costs also fell in the second quarter—by 2.3 percentage points to just over $50.75 per square foot on average. Class A properties in Brooklyn cost an average of just over $60 per square foot. The vacancy rate has settled around 12.3 percent in Brooklyn as of Q2. See the “Popular neighborhoods” section below for a breakdown of pricing by neighborhood.
Among the largest recent lease signings are Centene Corporation’s 331,912 square foot lease at One Court Square, Altice’s 103,133 square foot lease at One Court Square, Magellan Health Services’ 37,000 square foot lease at 15 Metrotech Center in Downtown Brooklyn, and Rent the Runway’s relocation from 345 Hudson Street to 10 Jay Street in Dumbo.
Getting to, From, and Around Brooklyn, NY
New York City routinely ranks at the top of Walk Score’s list of transit-friendly cities, and for good reason. The extensive—though sometimes frustrating—subway system, bus network, and hubs for out-of-state and suburban commuter rails allow for tens of millions of workers to navigate the city. For businesses concerned with long commute times, Downtown Brooklyn and DUMBO are the best options for local and suburban employees.
The past 15 years have brought significant improvements to the city’s bicycling infrastructure. Previously, bike lanes were rare, and those that did exist were often used as double parking spots for vehicles. Today, more than half a million New Yorkers commute by bike. The city has more than 1,000 miles of routes, and the Department of Transportation plans to add 50 miles each year, 10 miles of which will be protected lanes.
In addition to the public transit infrastructure, the Citibike bike-share system allows people to conveniently ride a bike without the hassle of locking (and potentially losing) their own bike. There are more than 12,000 Citibikes and 750 docking stations in Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.
Brooklyn is more driver-friendly than Manhattan, but we wouldn’t recommend getting into a car unless you need to. According to the INRIX Global Traffic Scorecard, New York is the third most congested city in the world, and drivers spend on average 91 hours per year stuck in traffic!
Top Commercial Properties For Lease In Brooklyn
Anxious to lease office space in the newest part of Silicon Alley and enjoy cheaper rental prices than Manhattan tenants? Contact one of our brokers, who can help you find office space in Brooklyn to meet all your business needs. Or, look up these three SquareFoot-recommended properties in the borough:
51-36 35th Street: 51-36 35th Street is an office building located in Sunset Park in Brooklyn near the City View Inn and Long Island Expressway. The six-floor building currently has 16 units ranging from 1,250 to 111,738 square feet in size available for rent. Contact us to learn more about pricing or to schedule a tour. Commuters who prefer to get around via public transportation can take trains D, N, or R to 36th Street, which is located less than a quarter of a mile from the building.
33 Nassau Avenue: 33 Nassau Avenue is a 3-story, Class B office building on the border of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. Built in 1929, the building now features open work spaces, modern art, high ceilings, and easy access to public transportation. To reach the building via public transportation, take the G train to Nassau Avenue or the L train to Bedford Avenue. The property tends to attract creative professionals. 33 Nassau Avenue has 75,000 square feet of rentable space. Right now, three units (1,500, 7,500, and 7,500 square feet in size) are available for rent. Contact us for pricing or a tour. The area has a variety of restaurants that 33 Nassau Avenue tenants can reach in just minutes. Try out Park Luncheonette, Manhattan Three Decker Restaurant, Nights and Weekends, or Lite Bites.
247 Water Street: Renovated in 2017, 247 Water Street is a Class B office building with high ceilings and brick walls. It is located in Dumbo near the corner of Water Street and Peck Slip. The area has a lot of startups. Justworks, Emblem Health, and Premium Merchant Funding all work at 247 Water Street. Currently, five units ranging from 450 to 2,250 square feet in size are available for rent. Contact us for pricing and tour information. Commuters can take the F train to York Street or travel by car and park at one of the nearby private parking lots. The Vinegar Hill Historic District and the Fulton Ferry Historic District are both located nearby.