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 it now symbolizes both the historical importance and innovative spirit that defines the area. Besides the Flatiron Building, other notable buildings in the district include the Met Life Tower at 1 Madison Avenue, the New York Life Building, and One Madison Park.
The Flatiron District is widely recognized as the center of Silicon Alley, New York’s technology hub. The district tends to attract startups, publishers, fashion designers, nonprofits, consulting firms, and advertising agencies. Yelp, Tiffany & Co., Betterment, Buzzfeed, Spotify, and Yext all have office space in the Flatiron District.
What Our Brokers Say About Flatiron District
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 three to six stories tall. These smaller buildings mean that tenants seeking square footage of 5,000 or fewer can have the opportunity to occupy an entire floor. That level of privacy is rare for small companies based in other parts of the city. With more modest floor plans with high ceilings, many spaces are ideal for open office concepts as well.
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.
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.
Those looking for calmer exercise options can explore Madison Square Park. Fully restored in 2001, the park is just north of the building the neighborhood is named for. More than 50,000 people visit daily, and it’s the perfect spot for both locals and tourists to eat lunch, enjoy a cup of coffee, or people watch.
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 commercial space for lease | By the numbers
|Office Space for Lease||Price per square foot||Vacancy||Inventory|
|Class A||$88||2%||13 msf|
|Class B||$68||5%||9 msf|
Flatiron District Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
The Flatiron District, which lies between Union Square and Madison Square Park, boasts more than 31 million square feet of commercial real estate inventory. However, the district generally has low availability. Demand for Flatiron office space remains high, in part because the district rests at the heart of NYC’s startup scene.
The Flatiron District is part of the Midtown South office market. Midtown South currently has a vacancy rate of just 4.9 percent, which decreased 30 basis points during Q2 of 2019. The new leasing rate for Midtown South increased by almost 50 percent to 1.7 msf. The new leasing rate for Class A office space in Midtown South increased to an even more impressive degree. By the end of Q2 it had reached the second-highest quarterly amount that has been recorded so far.
On average, office space in Midtown South costs just under $95.75 per square foot. Class A office space in Midtown South averages just under $108.50 per square foot to lease. 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.
For budget-tight businesses seeking to set up shop in the heart of Silicon Alley, the office sublease market presents numerous enticing options for flexible, affordable office space. Office subleases in Flatiron can be signed in the $50-$60 per square foot range, especially in Class B or Class C buildings on numbered streets. Note that avenue addresses tend to have higher asking rents.
In Q2 of 2019, WeWork took more than 200,000 square feet more space in the district just a block from its headquarters. In addition, Flatiron Health expanded its commercial footprint by 122,056 square feet at 233 Spring Street. Yext now subleases 142,500 square feet from Aetna at 61 Ninth Avenue.
Getting around: Transportation in 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. Commuters can get from the Flatiron District to Columbus Circle in 24 minutes by train or 16 minutes by car; to Grand Center in 16 minutes by train or 10 minutes by car; or to Wall Street in 22 minutes by train or 15 minutes by car.
The Flatiron District stretches from 14th Street to 23rd Street north to south and from Park Avenue to Sixth Avenue east to west. Flatiron is bordered by Greenwich Village to the south, Chelsea to the west, NoMad to the north, and Gramercy Park to the east.
Top commercial real estate listings in Flatiron District
Ready to look for office space in one of the most sought-after districts in New York City? Contact one of our experienced brokers, who will help you find office space in Flatiron District to meet and exceed your requirements. Also, look up these three SquareFoot-recommended properties in the district:
- 20 West 22nd Street: 20 West 22nd Street is an office building located in the Flatiron District between 5th and 6th Avenue. It features a new lobby, new elevators, and new windows. The building tends to attract media, marketing, tech, and post-production company tenants. Current tenants include Spruce Technology, WTHN, and EQS Group. 20 West 22nd Street is 17 stories high and has 175,270 square feet. Seven units are available for rent; they range from 800 to 3,797 square feet in size. Contact us for pricing and other information. Get here using trains F, M, N, R, W, 1, or 6. Several parking garages are available nearby for those who want to drive to work. 20 West 22nd Street is close to an unusually high number of fitness centers. At least 13 are less than .5 mile away from the office. Among the closest are Uplift Studio, Flywheel Sports, Monster Cycle Limelight, and Studio Anya.
- 19 West 21st Street: Built in 1908, 19 West 21st Street is a 12-story office building located between 5th and 6th Avenues in the Flatiron District. It is sometimes called the Spero Building. The office building has 113,284 square feet of space. Right now, nine units ranging from 531 to 3,415 square feet in size are available to rent at 19 West 21st Street. Contact us to learn more about pricing or to schedule a tour of the property. Current tenants of the Spero Building include Cooking Vinyl, Perennial Painting & Cleaning, Lifetime Brands, The Research Partnership, and Obsidian Systems. Reach this property using trains F, M, H, Q, R, W, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6. Several parking structures are available nearby, too. Some of the closest restaurants to the Sparo Building are Aleo, Sushiritto, Le Pain Quotidien, Outback Steakhouse, and Burger & Lobster.
- 156 5th Avenue: 156 5th Avenue, an office building first constructed around 1900, has 13 stories and 184,509 square feet. Sometimes, it is called the Presbyterian Building. The Presbyterian Building rests at the corner of 5th Avenue and 20th Street. It is a Class B building with a large number of units available for rent. Choose among 30 open units ranging from 350 to 60,000 square feet in size. Contact us for pricing details or a tour. Earthbound, Mishcon De Reya, Kohler, and Charlotte Olympia already lease space at 156 5th Avenue. The area has a walk score of 100 and has great public transportation. Subway stations 23rd Street, 14th Street, and 28th Street are all within walking distance. To take a break from the office, just step outside the building and take a stroll in the Ladies Miles Historic District or around the Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site.
Flatiron District 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.
In 1966, the Flatiron Building became a New York City landmark, and in 1979, it joined the National Registry of Historic Places. In the mid-1980s, the district was named after the building. Today, the Flatiron Building is an office building that contains the headquarters for publishing companies Picador and St. Martin’s Press and that serves as a popular tourist destination.
In 1847, Madison Square Park officially opened. Soon after, Amos Eno built the Fifth Avenue Hotel. Others told him he had chosen a bad location because it was far away from the area’s hotel district. However, he proceeded with his plan. One of the unique features of the hotel was its incorporation of elevators, which were a relatively new concept at the time. At one point the Prince of Wales even stayed at the hotel.
Around the 1990s, the Flatiron District gained a reputation for its impressive commercial real estate.