Noho is finally turning into a swan.
Being seen as an attractive destination is a drastic change for a neighborhood that was described as the “ugly stepsister of Soho” in a Wall Street Journal article just two years ago. Likewise, many New Yorkers saw it as the small neighborhood that was looking for some way of differentiating itself from its sister to the south.
But the area might have just found what it’s been looking for with 51 Astor Place, the 430,000-square-foot granite-and-glass office tower now under construction. Once completed, the building will provide “infrastructure for companies that you can’t find in many other places in New York City—let alone this neighborhood,” said Paul Glickman of Jones Lang LaSalle, who is working as a leasing agent at 51 Astor, a development project spearheaded by Edward J. Minskoff Equities .
It’s all part of the big draw of the neighborhood, its proximity to young entrepreneurs, Mr. Glickman told The Commercial Observer.
“You have access to 35,000 students, Cooper Union and NYU within two to three blocks,” said Mr. Glickman, adding that tech and media firms have shown the most interest in the building. “It’s all about finding that intellectual capital, and being part of the other creative companies in the area and that 24/7 vibe.”
Greenwich Village will continue to draw that interest as well, as NYU’s plans to create new classrooms, dorms and other facilities in the neighborhood were given a green light by the City Council.
With the smallest number of buildings offering commercial space in Midtown South—just 36, according to data from Cushman & Wakefield—there is just a little more than 4.5 million square feet of total inventory in Noho and Greenwich Village. But the area has seen an uptick in available space—a little more than 507,000 square feet is currently available, an increase of more than 38 percent from last year. It also sports an 11.1 percent vacancy rate, an increase of 3.1 percentage points from last year.
But perhaps the biggest draw for companies in upcoming months is the hope that they could become a bellwether tenant for the neighborhood, Mr. Glickman explained.
“Whatever tenant moves into this building can brand the Astor Place area, like Google branded its neighborhood and AOL branded Columbus Circle,” said Mr. Glickman, who said that his team is marketing the upper floors of the tower, each of around 25,000square feet.
“It goes way beyond just having a name on a building.”
No new tenant showcases the rebuilding of the area more than MakerBot Industries, a manufacturer of 3D printers that creates sculptures and art out of simple blocks of plastic.
Indeed, the company recently opened a retail storefront at 298 Mulberry Street. —Ian Thomas