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Class C a sweetspot for downtown rents

The well documented demand for commercial space throughout all of Manhattan has allowed areas such as downtown to see significant increases in value.

The newfound strength of the area was discussed last week during The Keys to the Future of New York Real Estate panel which was held at New York Law School.

While new and top-of-the-line construction — such as Related’s Hudson Yards development — has helped attract interest to new neighborhoods, more modest offerings appear to be driving prices in Lower Manhattan upward.

“It’s a very different place than it was five years ago, for sure,” said Jennifer McCool, chief legal officer at Related companies and a 1997 graduate of the host school.

“We had a historic high for rents in lower Manhattan and we’re just under an average of $60 per square foot for commercial rents.

“I think the most interesting piece of that was Class C, which had an almost $10 per square foot jump,”

Photo by Malinda Rathnayake/ Flickr
Photo by Malinda Rathnayake/ Flickr

McCool called the swift rise of value in class C space specifically and “interesting” twist and attributed it to a generation of buzz in Manhattan’s southern neighborhoods.

“There is an excitement when you walk around and when you talk to people who are both new to the neighborhood and who have been here for a long time, because they’ve been waiting for this moment when things are starting to really come together,” McCool said.

She pointed out that those who already own in southern Manhattan are about to enjoy a rise in property values while those who have been pondering a move are not too late to get in on the ground floor.

“They like the idea of getting in early. It is still a value,” she said. “What we’re starting to see is the benefits of places popping up. Almost every top name chef in the cityhas either already moved or has expressed interest in openingˮ establishments in points of Manhattan that were once too far from center to catch their eye.She pointed to Nobu on Hudson and the incoming Tom Colicchio restaurant at the Beekman Hotel as specific examples.

Related’s 70 Vestry condo building is scheduled to open later this year. The development will utilize the waterfront section of Tribeca and the rise in commercial demand that McCool discussed as key draws for potential buyers.

Residences will range from approximately 1,900 to over 7,000 s/f and include two- to five- bedroom layouts. Many homes feature libraries, family rooms and studies.

The 46-unit development was designed by Robert A. M. Stern Architects.


Jessica Lappin
Hal Stein

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