Downtown Manhattan, also known as Lower Manhattan and occasionally as Downtown New York, has earned its place as one of Manhattan’s most historic neighborhoods among companies and residents alike. Downtown Manhattan office space has become increasingly in demand, boasting not only high-value commercial office buildings with lower average rents but also a higher vacancy rate than both Midtown and Midtown South.
The New York Financial District encompasses a significant portion of Lower Manhattan, so it’s no surprise that many people equate Lower Manhattan to the financial capital of the world. Lower Manhattan is also the fourth largest business district in the U.S., trailing only Midtown Manhattan, Chicago Loop, and Washington, D.C.
What Our Brokers Say About Downtown Manhattan Office Space
Downtown Manhattan comprises the southernmost part of the NYC Bureau of Manhattan, which is why it is often referred to as Lower Manhattan. Downtown Manhattan contains smaller submarkets, such as TriBeCa, World Trade Center, the Financial District, Battery Park, Water Street Corridor, and Two Bridges. Filled with retail spaces and office buildings, it is a popular location for people who work and live in the area. It is also close to other New York, NY neighborhoods such as Chinatown, Chelsea, Soho and Midtown.
Financial District (FiDi) is known for housing Wall Street, the Federal Reserve, the New York Stock Exchange, and NASDAQ. Widely considered the financial center of the world, FiDi offers some of the most affordable office space in Lower Manhattan at rents averaging just under $58.75 per square foot. Commuters can reach FiDi via the 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, A, C, E, J, Z, R, or W trains; the PATH train; or the East River and Staten Island Ferries.
World Trade Center
World Trade Center, a complex in Lower Manhattan featuring five high-rise office buildings, offers more than 21 million square feet of space with one of the highest vacancy rates (15 percent) in Lower Manhattan. The average asking rent in the office space complex is $82 per square foot for spaces available. The World Trade Center Transport Hub provides a connection for the 2, 3, 4, 5, A, C, J, Z, N, R, W, and PATH trains.
Tribeca, short for “Triangle Below Canal Street,” is a trendy and expensive Manhattan submarket. Tribeca is bordered by Canal Street, West Street, Broadway, and Vesey Street. Tribeca offers a haven for walkers and bikers, as well as a variety of transportation options via train, bus, PATH, and ferry. Office space seekers can expect to pay just around $63.25 per square foot for office space.
Overall, Downtown Manhattan office space is most ideal for commercial tenants at companies like financial and government services due to unmatched proximity to New York City’s core infrastructure. For example, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is located in Four World Trade Center. However, the slow downsizing of the financial services sector over the last ten years has opened up commercial real estate to the technology, advertising, media, and Information sectors as well.
Notable companies with headquarters or offices in Lower Manhattan include Investment Technology Group, Condé Nast, Goldman Sachs, Hudson’s Bay Company, Spotify, Verizon Communications, PR Newswire, AOL, Group M, and IBT Media.
Now is the time to secure office space in this growing New York market. Lower Manhattan has become a very attractive area to find New York, NY office spaces. “It was an incredible year in Lower Manhattan,” Downtown Alliance President Jessica Lappin said in a statement. Several key companies have recently moved to the neighborhood, including McKinsey, Casper, and Nike. In fact, 26 businesses representing eight different industries have relocated to Lower Manhattan in the past year leasing more than 25,000 square feet of office space.
The Downtown Lower Manhattan Association works toward a vibrant business community in Downtown Manhattan by providing networking opportunities, spearheads public projects, and serves as an advocate for Lower Manhattan. “Our early efforts to breathe life into a moribund Downtown community have succeeded beyond our wildest expectations, and Lower Manhattan’s best days are still ahead,” said David Rockefeller, Founding Chairman, in 2008.
Downtown Manhattan Commercial Space For Lease | By the numbers
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Downtown Manhattan Office Space | Lease Data & Trends
The price for office space will vary based on building class. Commercial tenants seeking Downtown Manhattan office space will find average overall asking rents hovering just under $65.50 per square foot for all classes and just over a price of $68 per square foot for Class A office units. Data suggests the price of Class B property is $57 per SquareFoot.These asking rents for spaces available in the area rest well below the NYC office space averages of $82.25 per square foot for all classes and $91 for Class A units.
Downtown Manhattan’s commercial real estate inventory has climbed to nearly 100 million square feet with a vacancy rate just over 9 percent. Over half a million square feet of space are currently under construction as well.
Subleasing office space is a cost-cutting option for businesses that want to save money but still work in Downtown Manhattan. In New York, office subleases are arranged directly with a current office tenant and may lack the assurances that come with a direct lease through a landlord. However, for businesses that need additional flexibility, lower costs, and privacy unavailable at a coworking office, subleasing could be a good strategy.
Getting Around Downtown Manhattan
Downtown Manhattan provides multiple transportation options, including 14 subway lines, 32 bus lines, PATH service to New Jersey, water taxis, and ferry service to Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, Yonkers, and New Jersey. The Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, Brooklyn Bridge, and Manhattan Bridge all connect to Lower Manhattan.
In addition, the Fulton Center and the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and PATH station received pricey face lifts in recent years and have made transportation more visually appealing, though the renovations’ benefit to commuters isn’t as apparent. The Fulton Center is the largest subway hub in Downtown Manhattan. Located at the intersection of Fulton Street and Broadway, the complex connects passengers to the World Trade Center, the World Trade Center Mall, PATH station, and Park Place—Cortlandt Street.
Bike paths run throughout Hudson River Park, Battery Park, and East River Park, and there are plenty of bike lanes in Lower Manhattan’s streets. As with most of the city, the safety of bike lanes is primarily dependent on tourist and vehicle traffic.
The two closest and most convenient airports for those traveling to and from Downtown Manhattan are LaGuardia Airport and JFK.
Top commercial real estate listings in Downtown Manhattan
To learn more about selecting an office space in Downtown Manhattan, chat with one of our knowledgeable real estate brokers. Or begin by looking up these three SquareFoot-recommended properties in the neighborhood:
– 55 Water Street, New York: 55 Water Street is a 687-foot tall skyscraper located at the corner of Water Street and Hanover Square. Developers finished building the structure in 1972, and now the building stretches 53 stories high and offers 3.5 million square feet of office space; it is not only one of the largest structures in the world but also the largest open office building in New York City. Currently, 18 units are available to rent in the building ranging from 19,342 to 69,459 square feet in size. To schedule a tour or request pricing or other information, just send us an inquiry. EmblemHealth, Justworks, Premium Merchant Funding, Liberty Mutual, and GDS Publishing already lease space at 55 Water Street. Corporate rating agency Standard & Poor’s and the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation have their headquarters in the building. 55 Water Street is conveniently located near the Yellow and Red MTA subway Lines as well as the Staten Island Ferry. Walk to Nu Sushi, Guacstar, Justino’s Pizzeria, Zigolini’s, Golden Chopsticks, or Route 66 Smokehouse for dinner.
– 11 Broadway, New York: Building 1898, 11 Broadway is a 22-story office building located between Broadway and Greenwich Street. It houses more than 420,000 square feet of leasable space. Currently, the building offers a wide range of available units. Choose between 27 different spaces that range from 260 to 25,185 square feet in size. To find out more about pricing or schedule a tour, send us a message. Current tenants include SumZero, Fancy LTD, and The Orthodox Union of Jewish Congregations. 11 Broadway has a Walk Score of 98. Access the building via trains 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, J, R, W, or Z. The area happens to be full of coffee shops. Starbucks, Au Bon Pain, Bluestone Lane Coffee, Latte Art, Crumbs, and Potbelly all operate just steps from building.
– 26 Federal Plaza, New York: 26 Federal Plaza, known as the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building, is located on Foley Square in the Civic Center neighborhood. It is known for housing many federal government agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Federal Bureau of Investigation New York City field office, the Social Security Administration, and the General Services Administration. Built between 1963 and 1969, the Jacob K. Javits Federal Office Building stretches 41 stories in the sky and is the nation’s tallest federal building. Currently, four suits are vacant and available to new renters. They range from 1,210 to 2,200 square feet in size. Contact us for details. Take trains A, C, J, N, Q, R, W, Z, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 to access 26 Federal Plaza.
Downtown Manhattan Neighborhood & History
The Lenape people originally inhabited the area now known as New York City. Eventually, European settlers journeyed to the area. When the English conquered the land in 1664, they named it “New York” after the Duke of York. Gradually, New York expanded as an economic center. In particular, Lower Manhattan became an important center for arts and leisure activities.
Today, Lower Manhattan still contains many vestiges of its long, rich history. Lower Manhattan’s narrow, twisting streets lead to many of New York City’s historic buildings and landmarks, such as Federal Hall, New York City Hall (which is the oldest city hall in the nation), Bowling Green, the Charging Bull, Wall Street, St. Paul’s Chapel, and Trinity Church. The Woolworth Building, sometimes called the “Cathedral of Commerce,” is a 60-story building that at one point was the tallest building in the world. It used to house the headquarters for Woolworth department stores. The newest—and tallest—landmark in Lower Manhattan is One World Trade Center, which opened to the public in late 2014.
Though Downtown Manhattan is still an important center for business, culture, and government, post-9/11 ushered in a residential resurgence. Many buildings once holding office space have been converted into apartments, condos, retail shops, and restaurants, and the residential population in the area has tripled since 2000. With these new additions, Lower Manhattan is shifting away from its 9-to-5 reputation and beginning to attract more families and young professionals who are looking to not only work in the area but also live and build a life there.