Brooklyn’s Williamsburg Emerges As Hot Spot For Creative Office Workers
When office workers return to the workplace in earnest, one Brooklyn neighborhood will continue to build on its reputation as an office hotspot for creative workers.
Wlliamsburg is that enclave, and as it continues its emergence as a new nexus of New York City creativity, the catalysts for its genesis aren’t difficult to spot. Williamsburg delivers plentiful neighborhood amenities, Covid-era-favored outdoor spaces and a vibrant culture. Last but not least, it offers a raft of newly-developed office buildings likely to appeal to creative professionals.
“Williamsburg has long been an area that has attracted creative professionals due to its ability to foster a healthy symbiosis between working life and personal life,” says Steve Card, director of acquisitions at Rubenstein Partners, a force behind the development of one of those newly developed Williamsburg office buildings, 25 Kent.
The creative metamorphosis of Williamsburg traces back to the 1980s, when economic downturns sparked the departure of industry from sprawling neighborhood warehouses. That exodus lowered the rental rates and made the space sufficiently affordable to attract a significant population of artists.
All kinds of other businesses typically follow artists into emerging neighborhoods, and so it was in Williamsburg. Recent years have brought investment by top-tier entertainment creation and luxury goods firms, whose leaders spotted the existence of a creative local workforce, and design and production incubation.
Among the creative, next-generation brands to take up office space are Amazon, Kith and Prose, to name just a few. Famed media company VICE has seized a presence in the area after moving its headquarters to a 60,000-square-foot space in Williamsburg.
Corporate newcomers coming over from Manhattan are recognizing the employee base of these companies are largely residents of Williamsburg and greater Brooklyn.
These folks savor a walk-to-work environment free of need for car or public transportation. They also benefit from geographic proximity to other creatives, with the attendant ability to cross-collaborate all the way from the workplace to neighborhood bistros, breweries, wineries and coffee shops, among them Brooklyn Winery, Brooklyn Brewery, Westlight, Lilia, Sauvage and Devocion. In nicer weather, they can also share creative energies in the leafy green confines of McCarren Park and Bushwick Inlet Park. And with L and G trains and the ferry to Manhattan and Long Island City providing nearby transit, they’re free to move about the city.
Offices in place
Two of the three new Williamsburg office developments were delivered during the pandemic, proof there’s been no slowdown in the growth of Brooklyn’s office market. Among newly-developed commercial office spaces in Williamsburg catering to the creative class, standouts include The Dime, with 105,000 square feet of new space; 10 Grand Street, offering 144,000 square feet of fresh commercial environs; and 25 Kent, the first commercial office structure built in the neighborhood in the past four decades.
Each of these office buildings provides larger floor plates. The extra room for social distancing makes them ideal for the Covid era’s stricter safety protocols. The structures also provide increased tenant amenity space and building technology. For those who do need to park, there are greater parking opportunities at a lower cost than offered by Manhattan. Square Feet reports Class A commercial properties in Brooklyn rent from $63 to $71.25 per square foot, versus $86 for the same level of property in Manhattan.
At 25 Kent, tenants find more than 500,000 square feet of office space, in addition to floor-to-ceiling windows, terraces on each level including the rooftop, and cafes and shops. According to Card, “25 Kent not only provides a new and uniquely designed office and manufacturing space equipped with various indoor and outdoor amenities, but allows tenants to curate a space of their own due to the large and flexible floor plans offered throughout.”