Manhattan’s Financial District, as the name suggest, has long been home to America’s banking giants.
Now it could be home to America’s burgeoning tech companies and their hipster employees.
“Wall Street” has bucked Wall St. for surrounding areas in recent years. Hedge funds prefer the Midtown 50s or Stamford and Greenwich, Connecticut (affectionately dubbed Hedgefundistan). Goldman Sachs built another tower in nearby Jersey City.
The financial crisis didn’t help either. Bank of America acquired Merrill Lynch and will ditch much of its office space when the lease expires, according to Bloomberg.
In fact, Bloomberg reports that consolidating financial companies have left 6.3 million square feet of office space to fill, about 7% of the lower Manhattan office market.
Naturally landlords are giving the area a makeover, hipsterfying FiDi into a destination for media and tech companies.
Brookfield is stripping away brass and marble trims and adding bicycle parking, free Wi-Fi in public spaces and electric-car charging stations. At Merrill’s former headquarters, clear glass is replacing the imposing, dark-tinted facade built as a barrier to the public.
At $47.13 a square foot, the Financial District has the lowest rents (in addition to the most open space) in Manhattan’s three major divisions.
Midtown south (encompassing Chelsea, the Flatiron District, and Soho) averaged $63.44 a square foot, according to Bloomberg.
At those prices, FiDi could look a lot different, and soon.
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