The Best Manhattan Neighborhoods to Rent Startup Office Space

The Best Manhattan Neighborhoods to Rent Startup Office Space

New York City’s tech boom began in the 90s when the Flatiron District became known as Silicon Alley – the East Coast equivalent of Silicon Valley. Slowly but surely, startups and technology companies started opening offices across New York City, including Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Tesla.

Young, innovative companies involved in blockchain, fintech, biotechnology, and artificial intelligence currently drive leasing activity in Manhattan. Typically, these startups outgrow their coworking spaces and incubators and relocate to private offices in tech-friendly commercial buildings.

While a hybrid model of remote work and in-office collaboration is becoming the norm, a physical office has remained as critical as it has always been for young start-ups. 

Technology companies prefer office environments that encourage team collaboration, favoring high ceilings and the option to expand their footprint quickly, to match the brand’s growth. Convenient commuting options and a strong sense of security are also preferred, given that employees often put in long hours.

Favorable commercial real estate market for startups

Real estate market conditions have not been this favorable for startups since the high vacancy rates and low rents following the 2009 Financial Crisis. Prior to March 2020, many young companies planned to acquire new office space but were discouraged by low availability and high rental costs. 

Moreover, startup founders are drawn to trendy and culturally significant areas. Below you’ll find the best neighborhoods in Manhattan for startups and entrepreneurs, and why they’re a perfect fit for companies in the technology sector.

So, which parts of Manhattan appeal to technology startups? While Hudson Yards, FiDi, the Plaza District, or Grand Central appeal to traditional companies in legal or financial services, as well as large corporations looking for multiple-floor spaces, they’re not necessarily what entrepreneurs are looking for. Startup founders are drawn to hip, trendy, and culturally-significant areas that can inspire them and allow them to be creative. Below you’ll find the best neighborhoods in Manhattan for startups and entrepreneurs. 

1. The Flatiron District

Seasoned entrepreneurs will surely remember the glory days of NYC’s tech scene when the Flatiron District was the city’s tech epicenter. The birthplace of Silicon Alley, the Flatiron District, is once again one of the most desirable neighborhoods in Manhattan for startups and entrepreneurs. Demand for creative office space in the area is higher than ever, especially for early-stage businesses and entrepreneurs. The Flatiron District’s boutique office buildings are an ideal fit for companies looking to lease loft-style space in the heart of Manhattan. 

Flatiron offers the best of both worlds for companies just starting out: small, creative spaces with a loft-like feel and the modern amenities of a Midtown office building. Not to mention the endless list of restaurants, clubs and bars, coffee shops, shops, and public transport options available at every step. Madison Square Park and Union Square Park are both easily accessible and are popular lunch break options for techies in the neighborhood. On-site lunch options include Shake Shack and Eataly, while fitness buffs can head to Equinox during work breaks to work out. 

Where to find startup office space in the Flatiron District

Entrepreneurs choosing to set up their business in the Flatiron District will be in good company. Peloton, Moat, Mashable, DropBox, Sony, Justworks, Yext – these are just some of the companies operating in the neighborhood. There are plenty of coworking options available for solopreneurs looking for a temporary office, including spaces managed by WeWork, Coalition, and Rise New York. A Flatiron office will also unlock various networking opportunities for new entrepreneurs. For instance, the Flatiron School offers coding classes and hosts regular networking events at their 11 Broadway campus. 

For startups looking for a more permanent location, there are numerous options worth checking out. The Market Center at 230 Fifth Avenue is a Beaux-Arts building with stunning Manhattan and the Empire Building views. The Class B property at 11 West 19th Street has been recently renovated to meet the needs of modern creative tenants. Other solid picks include 115 Fifth Avenue, 902 Broadway, 928 Broadway, and 200 Fifth Avenue. Last but not least, the Flatiron Building will offer Class A office space for rent once renovations are complete. The Flatiron District has something for everyone, offering spaces ranging from 2,300-square-foot small offices to full-floor lofts of more than 5,000 square feet. 

2. Chelsea

Chelsea has gradually transformed from a former manufacturing hub into one of the most sought-after markets for technology companies and startups. It’s a perfect destination for creatives, home to more than 200 art galleries and riddled with restaurants, shops, and museums. Its unrivaled location close to Madison Square Garden, the Whitney Museum, Hudson Yards, the Vessel, Penn Station, and the High Line makes it an ideal fit for young entrepreneurs who value walkability and accessibility to alternative transportation options. 

Chelsea is the perfect choice for technology startups looking to rent open-floor, flexible office space with an industrial feel. Its former manufacturing warehouses and buildings have been converted to modern and creative office space that is highly desirable for tech firms. Perhaps Chelsea’s most well-known tech resident is Google, which owns the sprawling 2.9 million-square-foot building at 111 Eighth Avenue, the Chelsea Market building right across the street, and the Milk Building at 450 West 15th Street. Google’s constant expansion in Chelsea has attracted other tech companies to the area, including Knotel, Verizon, Apple, Playbuzz, Sidewalk Labs, Nielsen, Samsung, and Venmo, among many others. 

Where to find startup office space in Chelsea

Companies looking to expand and take over full-floor or multiple-floor office space in Chelsea have various options at their disposal. The Starrett-Lehigh Building at 601 West 26th Street is one of the largest office properties in the city, featuring 2.3 million square feet of office space. It incorporates flexible floor plates ranging in size from 18,000 to 165,000 square feet, catering to creative tenants of all sizes. Other options include 675-691 Sixth Avenue, 210 11th Avenue, 620 Avenue of the Americas, 275 Seventh Avenue, and 352 Seventh Avenue

Given the influx of companies moving into Chelsea and Hudson Yards, office asking rents have been steadily rising over the past years. The advantage is that the neighborhood offers something for everyone, whether it be a small, 400-square-foot office for $1,500 per month or a large office of 10,000 square feet at $45,000 per month. There are also various coworking opportunities in the area, provided by WeWork, AlleyNYC, or Wix Lounge. Nowadays, landlords are open to negotiations, and potential tenants could even negotiate rent reductions, free rent, or shorter lease terms, so it’s a good time to make a move into this market. 

3. Soho

Soho is the ultimate destination for creative entrepreneurs or small startups in the early stages of growth. Its casual, creative, loft-style office spaces have a lot of history and personality, which is precisely what technology businesses want. The neighborhood’s former manufacturing buildings have been converted to modern office space while at the same time preserving the historical touch of Soho’s Cast Iron District. Large windows, high ceilings, exposed brick and concrete, abundant natural light – these are some of the amenities office tenants can find in this submarket. There are endless amenities that cater to modern tech tenants including easy access to public transportation, numerous restaurants, shops, bars, coffee shops, a rich nightlife, and a vibrant culture and art scene. 

Soho is ideally positioned in the heart of Midtown South, served by multiple subway and bus lines that connect workers to all parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens. The neighborhood is a highly appealing destination for fashion, art, media, architecture, and design companies due to its hip-and-trendy vibe and lower office rents. Compared to other office-intensive submarkets such as FiDi, Chelsea, Flatiron, or Hudson Yards, Soho offers significantly lower prices while offering a plethora of advantages. The neighborhood’s relaxed vibe has attracted various tech-related companies, including Reddit, Foursquare, Contently, Warby Parker, and Apple. Coworking options are plenty. Solopreneurs can opt for a temporary office provided by WeWork, Impact Hub NYC, The Farm Soho, or Fueled Collective, to name a few. 

Where to find startup office space in Soho

Demand for Soho office space for rent surged in the past years, and as a result, asking prices were on a steady rise before the pandemic. Good options can be found at 495 Broadway, 100 Crosby Street, 599 Broadway, 295 Lafayette Street, and 110 Greene Street, to name just a few.  These buildings maintain an authentic feel that harks back to the golden era of Soho’s Cast Iron District. But they’ve been updated to cater to the needs of modern creative tenants. Recently renovated options include the Class A building at 770 Broadway, 524 Broadway, and The Prince Building at 568-578 Broadway. 

Are you thinking of setting up your business in a convenient location in Manhattan? Are you looking to lease space in a modern building offering state-of-the-art amenities? To learn about available office or retail space, call Metro Manhattan Office Space at (212) 444-2241 or email us at