What We Heard: The Future of Downtown Manhattan

RDM was in attendance at Bisnow’s 3rd Annual Future of Downtown Manhattan event, which brought together the professionals working behind the scenes to reshape the landscape of downtown Manhattan.

The speaking panel included professionals from Silverstein Properties, Savanna, The Durst Organization, CBRE, Brookfield Office Properties, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, The Howard Huges Corporation and The Albanese Organization.

These are the nuggets of info we heard:

- Steven Spinola (REBNY President) - Lower Manhattan's future is once again bright and exciting.
- Nicole LaRusso (Downtown Alliance) says optimism is at an all-time high with new residential, office, retail, park space, etc.

- Marty Burger (Silverstein) - We'll continue to see old office stock in lower Manhattan converted to residential.
- Christopher Schlank (Savanna) - There will be pricing pressure for office tenants in a couple years in lower Manhattan.
- Schlank says 74% of leasing in '13 has been for spaces 25,000sf and less in Manhattan.
- Office rents are higher West of Broadway in lower Manhattan.
- Christopher Albanese (Albanese) - The accessibility of lower Manhattan is a draw for people who don't work in LM yet choose the area to live.  It wasn't like this in the past.
- Leonard Steinberg (Elliman) has seen LM grow into a humanly scaled neighborhood.
Incentives: 421G and Liberty Bonds has led to residential growth in LM.
- Edward Hogan (Brookfield) – Lower Manhattan is the hotspot for retail in Manhattan.  It is becoming a world class retail location.
- Christopher Curry (Hughes) says new building being constructed at Pier 17 will have 40,000sf roof deck, nothing like in Manhattan.
- When Conde Nast moved from Midtown to lower Manhattan, it was a game changer.
- The next step will be to connect all the pieces of LM.

The Next Mayor
- Landlords are nervous about what will come with NYC’s next mayor
- Access to good schools is still lacking in Lower Manhattan - this will be a challenge for incoming mayor Bill DeBlasio.
- Allen Gross (GFI) - DeBlasio should continue tax credits in order to continue transformation in lower Manhattan.

Getting Around
- Adam Foster (CBRE) – Lower Manhattan has best transport access in NYC.
- Steinberg - A draw to living in LM is cutting your commute; 30 min saved per day brings 9 additional days of vacation per year.
- Many tenants are now asking for bike storage rooms.

The World Trade Center
- World Trade Center is returning a better street grid to Manhattan.
- Robert Becker (Durst) – There is no limit to how you build space in the World Trade Center, however people really need to see a finished space to make decisions.

- Lower Manhattan boasts the most advanced fiber broadband network in the country.
- Downtown Alliance has a new program, called Launch LM, to promote tech growth in the area.