5 Top Neighborhoods for Small Businesses to Rent Office Space in New York City

28 November, 2022 / Bobby Samuels
Sunset over 42nd St. & Grand Central Terminal, prime NYC Class A commercial real estate.

One of the constant themes of leasing commercial office space in Manhattan is the demand for Modern Class A space with amenities. Developers have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to construct these properties. You can see them sprouting up in front of your eyes n Hudson Yards and the Plaza District. After all, how else will developers attract AAA corporate tenants that sign long-term leases and lease-up entire (or multiple) floors?

At the same time, older Class A, B, and C buildings remain reasonably priced with divided floor plans perfect for small businesses and startups.

Coincidentally, many of these older office buildings also have locations in some of Manhattan’s trendiest and most vibrant neighborhoods.

If you run a small business and want guidance on finding the best office space for your business, read on. This guide detailing some of the top five Manhattan submarkets for small businesses and the top buildings to consider can point you in the right direction.

1. The Garment District

Startups and small businesses often gravitate to the Garment District because of its impressive selection of 500-1,500 Square Foot office rentals with competitive asking rents. Many of these offices are also lofts in smaller boutique office buildings.

Moreover, it is close to Penn Station, making the commute for you and your team easy and convenient.

Consider buildings like 55 West 39th Street, 247 West 35th Street, and 545 Eighth Avenue. Each of these properties offers something unique for small business tenants looking to lease office space in New York City.

55 West 39th Street

55 West 39th St is an 18-story, well-maintained building steps away from Bryant Park. It has a well-capitalized owner with over 100 years of experience owning and operating Manhattan skyscrapers and a 24/7 attended lobby.

Example available floor plans:

Source: Costar

14th floor (3,780 SF)

Source: Costar

18th floor (2,950 SF).

247 West 35th Street

247 West 35th Street is an architecturally interesting boutique building with loft-style office spaces for lease. It’s a well-maintained property at a reasonable price point with highly efficient layouts and spaces with open plans, oversized windows, exposed ceilings, hardwood floors, and multiple customization options. Moreover, there’s an attended lobby and ownership on-premises.

Example available floor plans:

Source: Costar

9th Floor (3,300 SF)

545 Eighth Avenue

545 Eighth Avenue is an excellent Class B office building with a 24/7 attended lobby, new pre-built office spaces, polished concrete floors, and exposed ceilings.

Example available floor plans:

Source: Costar

16th floor, Suite 1610 (3,888 SF)

Source: Costar

17th floor, Suite 1700 (4,453 SF)

2. The Financial District

If you’re a small business looking for an affordable alternative to Midtown Manhattan, the Financial District (FiDi) is a great option. One World Trade Center remains the neighborhood’s crown jewel. However, many small business tenants are more drawn to leasing office space in FiDi because of its modernized office spaces in older buildings.

Many available spaces have exposed ceilings, concrete floors, oversized windows, and a loft-like, industrial feel.

Furthermore, you’re located in a growing, dynamic neighborhood that just so happens also to be one of Manhattan’s safest.

14 Maiden Lane

14 Maiden Lane is a well-maintained boutique building. It has a renovated lobby that’s attended to 24/7 and a property manager and landlord on-site. Additionally, many of its available offices for lease have bright natural light, efficient layouts, and high ceilings.

Example available floor plans:

8th floor (2,570 SF) $37.00/SF

80 Broad Street

80 Broad Street is a recently renovated Art Deco building that hosts many small-sized Technology, Advertising, Media, and Information (“TAMI”) tenants. The building offers flexible floor plates, four sides of windows, high ceilings, an on-site property manager, and 24/7 access.

Example available floor plans:

Sources: Loopnet

3rd Fl, Suite 302 (4,375 SF) $47.00/SF

Source: Loopnet

18th Fl, Suite 1802 (2,600 SF) $53.00/SF

14 Wall Street

14 Wall Street, also known as the Bankers Trust Company Building, is a renovated Art Deco building that sits directly across from the New York Stock Exchange. Small businesses in this landmark building not only can lease office spaces with pre-built finishes. They can lease office space in a building with on-site conference space, on-site management, and a state-of-the-art Equinox gym.

Example available floor plans:

Source: Costar

5th Floor, Suite 5E (2,140 SF) $39.00/SF

Source: Costar

16th Floor, Suite 1625 (3,787 SF) $49.00/SF

3. Chelsea

Not only is Chelsea one of New York City’s best neighborhoods for small businesses. It’s one of New York City’s best neighborhoods, period.

Known for its bars, restaurants, cafes, parks, and 200+ art galleries, it’s a joy to live or work here.

Many large companies, notably Google, call Chelsea home. Yet Chelsea is also one of New York City’s most famous neighborhoods for technology companies and startups to lease office space.

In Chelsea, startups looking to rent open-floor, flexible office space with an industrial feel have many options. Many of these buildings are converted former manufacturing warehouses and have modern and creative office spaces for lease. Several of these buildings are also Class B properties and offer similar amenities to older Class A spaces in outstanding locations close to the High Line and Chelsea Market.

 54 West 21st Street

54 West 21st Street is a well-maintained loft building located on the best block in Chelsea. Various small and midsize tenants in creative industries like media, design, and entertainment flock to this building for creative and airy office spaces. The 24/7 tenant access, renovated lobby, on-site security, and upgraded common areas, bathrooms, windows, and elevators help too.

Example available floor plans:

Source: Costar

4th floor, Suite 407 (1,600 SF)

Source: Costar

10th floor, Suite 1006 (2,251 SF)

156 Fifth Avenue

156 Fifth Avenue is a classic building in the heart of Chelsea geared toward small businesses. Offices have hardwood flooring, modern finishes, natural light, tenant-controlled HVAC, and directly metered electric service.

Example available floor plans:

Source: Costar

5th floor, Suite 534 (2,500 SF) $59.00/SF

Source: Costar

6th floor, Suite 612 (1,500 SF) $59.00/SF

Source: Costar

12th floor, Suite 1218 (1,900 SF) $64.00/SF

37 West 20th Street

37 West 20th Street is an 11-story office building where many media and tech tenants lease office space. The building has available offices with wood floors, exposed brick walls, and high ceilings. Moreover, there’s an on-site property manager, a security system, and a newly renovated passenger elevator and lobby.

Example available floor plans:

Source: VTS

3rd Floor, Suite 301 (3,400 SF)

Source: VTS

6th Floor, Suite 610 (2,048 SF)

Source: VTS

8th Floor, Suite 808 (3,067 SF)

4. Murray Hill

Murray Hill is a prime spot for startups and small businesses to lease office space. Along with a central location in Midtown, Murray Hill is known for smaller boutique office buildings and a comprehensive selection of small offices for lease. There are many 500-1,500 Square Foot office rentals in this area with competitive asking rent and plenty of budget-conscious loft spaces with lots of charm.

315 Fifth Avenue

315 Fifth Avenue is a completely renovated property that sits adjacent to the Empire State building. The building offers 24/7 access and security along with office spaces providing tenants with excellent light and views, high ceilings, hardwood floors, and high-speed internet access.

Example available floor plans:

Source: Costar

5th Floor, Suite 503 (1,450 SF) $54/SF

Source: Costar

9th Floor, Suite 901 (3,125 SF) $44/SF

347 Fifth Avenue

347 Fifth Avenue is an ideal building for startups and small businesses. ​ Various office tenants of all sizes call the building home, as do fashion tenants with showrooms and retail tenants on the property’s ground floor.

Available spaces for lease include: 

  • 6th Floor, Suite 610 (1,500 SF)
  • 8th Floor, Suite 807 (1,400 SF)
  • 10th Floor, Suite 1010 (3,250 SF)
  • 11th Floor, Suite 1100 (1,900 SF)
  • 171 Madison Avenue

171 Madison Avenue sits a block from the Empire State Building and houses various tenants in law, finance, media, and technology. The building has what any small business tenant would want, including offices with natural light, a renovated lobby and building entrance, 24/7 tenant access, and an on-site property manager. However, the building stands apart from many others because it also offers a biotech/lab space. Currently, available office spaces include a sublet on the 6th floor with an excellent buildout (3,100 SF) and a suite on the 16th floor (1,500 SF).

Example available floor plans:

6th floor, Suite 601 (3,100 SF)

Source: Costar

16th floor, Suite 1605 (1,500 SF)

5. Grand Central

Grand Central is one of the most highly sought-after locations in all of Manhattan for small businesses. Grand Central Station is the primary transportation hub for Midtown and a commuter’s dream. Yet, the neighborhood could be even more desirable with the new Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) terminal opening beneath the station.

However, beyond the transit perks, the entire neighborhood oozes culture and has a great selection of small offices (1,500-5,000 SF) for rent. Additionally, landlords are offering up space for quality pre-built offices at some of Midtown’s most competitive rental rates and drawing many startups in.

370 Lexington Avenue

370 Lexington Avenue provides small business tenants with pleasing Class A office spaces and flexible lease terms in a well-run owner-managed building. Offices, especially those on the upper floors, are known for their sweeping skyline views, some of which include the famous Chrysler Building.

Example available floor plans:

Source: Costar

8th floor, Suite 802 (1,952 SF) $55/SF

Source: Costar

21st floor, Suite 2100A (3,414 SF) $59/SF

501 Fifth Avenue

501 Fifth Avenue is an impressive building near Times Square that boasts many loft spaces for lease with extra high ceilings (11.5 feet slab to slab). The building also has a 24-hour doorman, an on-site landlord, and a property manager.

Example available floor plans:

16th floor, Suite 1601 (3,046 SF)

271 Madison Avenue

Three blocks from Grand Central Station sits 271 Madison Avenue. The building has an upscale, attended art-deco lobby, new common corridors, new operable windows on 3 sides, and high ceilings.

Available listings (without floor plans):

The building has a wide selection of office spaces for lease under 5,000 SF, such as:

  • 6th Fl, Suite 600 (1,269 SF)
  • 8th Fl, Suite 804 (1,735 SF)
  • 10th Fl, Suite 1007 (2,136 SF)
  • 14th Fl, Suite 1400 (650-850 SF)
  • 14th Fl, Suite 1401 (200 SF)
  • 15th Fl, Suite 1504 (3,790 SF)
  • 20th Fl, Suite 2000 (4,247 SF)


Small businesses have unique needs that do not necessarily include how big and glossy the building is. Thus, regardless of the sector, small businesses require three basic things. Affordability, unique layouts, and a vibrant neighborhood.

There are plenty of opportunities to lease reasonably priced spaces tailor-made for small businesses in some of New York City’s best neighborhoods. Plenty of these buildings have divided floors and loft-style offices to accommodate whatever layout you want.

It’s a unique time to lease office space in New York City, and there are plenty of attractive options for small businesses in the above five submarkets.

So, if you’re a small business looking to kickstart your office space search, consider speaking to an office space rental agency that understands how to navigate the market.

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