City Hall / Insurance District Office Space for Rent Guide

Municipal Building in City Hall area, Lower Manhattan, NYC.

Home to the offices of city, state, and federal government, the City Hall/Insurance District benefits from a strategic location at the heart of Downtown Manhattan, close to the World Trade Center and to the city’s thriving Financial District. Companies in various industries are drawn to this area due to the availability of high-quality office space options at a wide range of prices. The district is also home to iconic New York City landmarks like the Woolworth Building, St. Paul’s Chapel, and the nearby Brooklyn Bridge.

The northeastern part of Lower Manhattan’s Financial District has been known, starting with the early 20th Century, as the Insurance District, due to the large number of insurance companies headquartered here. Among the prestigious names to operate offices in this submarket are AIG and Equitable, which was the largest insurance company in the world when it built 120 Broadway in 1915, which was also the largest office in the world at the time.

Who is renting office space in the City Hall / Insurance District?

The City Hall/Insurance District is a highly appealing destination for office investors across various industries, from TAMI (tech, advertising, media and information services) to state and federal institutions. These companies are now moving from the over-priced Midtown to the submarkets of Downtown Manhattan, which offer a wider range of price points for quality office space.

Workers in the City Hall/Insurance District have access to a plethora of popular Lower Manhattan destinations, including the World Trade Center, NYPD, New York Presbyterian, the Brooklyn Bridge, Pace University, the New York City Finance Department and the New York Evening Post Building. Notable tenants in the area include Finkelstein & Newman and NY County Defenders Realty and Shapiro at 225 Broadway, and the U.S. General Services Administration, the NYC Police Pension Fund, and New York University at the Woolworth Building.

The first quarter of 2019 saw two new major tenants sign up for office space in the City Hall/Insurance District: New York Health & Hospitals took up 527,000 square feet at 100 Pearl Street and WeWork signed a 201,000-square-foot deal at 199 Water Street. The City Hall submarket saw its availability rate rise to 10.5%, due to more than 323,000 square feet of office space hitting the market at 250 Broadway, per CBRE research.

How much does it cost to lease an office in the City Hall / Insurance District?

The overall office asking rent in Downtown Manhattan reached $62 per square foot at the end of Q1 2019, according to CBRE. The City Hall/Insurance District recorded the highest bump in office asking rents, reaching an all-time high of $58 per square foot. This rise in prices is largely due to available space coming online at 250 Broadway, which commands above-average rents of $75 per square foot. At the same time, office leasing activity in the district remained above its five-year quarterly average, signaling that interest continues to be strong and available space is likely to be occupied very quickly.

Transportation and commuting

This is one of the city’s best-served neighborhoods for transportation. The options are too many to list: East Side local lines stop at the Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall station, and the East Side express line stops at the nearby Fulton Street station, where you can also get the West Side express lines and the Eighth Avenue A and C trains. The city boasts a state-of-the-art new transit hub at Fulton Street, while at City Hall you can get the Broadway R line.