WELCOME to your exclusive Chelsea office space tour. Long revered as a beacon for creatives and art enthusiasts, today, Chelsea is a coveted destination for all types of businesses seeking office space. Many office buildings in Chelsea are similar to a Soho loft building, but typically, the ones in Chelsea rent for a lower price per square foot. For businesses looking for a convenient location for office space in Manhattan, Chelsea has plenty of subway lines and a PATH train entrance on 23rd Street. And it's a short walk to Penn Station.
For this office space tour, we'll walk you through a handful of Chelsea office spaces, uncovering the essence of what makes these offices desirable to companies searching for offices in NYC, what to expect in terms of pricing, and how these buildings consistently deliver quality office options to companies looking for space in one of New York's most eclectic neighborhoods. Whether you're a recently funded startup, a creative agency, an art gallery, or a well-established consulting firm, come along on a walk through some Chelsea office spaces.
WHERE IS CHELSEA NYC?
Google defines the neighborhood as extending from 14th Street to 34th Street and Sixth Avenue to the Hudson River. Think about walking east from Chelsea Market to 101 West 14th Street - the new residential tower at the northwest corner of Sixth Ave by ODA Architecture - north to Macy's and down 34th Street to Hudson Yards. That's a giant chunk of Manhattan.
Is Hudson Yards in Chelsea? Technically, yes, in the same way that Brooklyn is on Long Island. But people don't think of it that way. Most people think of Chelsea ending at 29th St. Once you cross 30th, you are in Herald Square, Hudson Yards, or the recently coined "Penn District."
NOTABLE TECH COMPANIES IN CHELSEA
Thousands of tech companies rent office space in Chelsea. One of the most notable is Google, which purchased the monolithic Art Deco office building at 111 Eighth Ave for $1.8 billion in 2010. The structure, consisting of 2.9 million square feet and an entire city block, is located directly across Ninth Avenue from Chelsea Market, which Google also owns.
Meta (the parent company of Facebook) signed a lease in 2020 for a 730,00 square foot office space in The James A. Farley Building above the recently renovated Moynihan Train Hall. That sounds like a lot of office space until you compare it to the whopping 1.9 million square feet they lease at Hudson Yards.
THE STARRETT-LEHIGH BUILDING
Rising high above its West Chelsea neighbors, the Starrett-Lehigh Building at 601 West 26th Street, with its characteristic striped windows lining the façade like a multilayer cake, is an iconic NYC building constructed in 1930. Like the Google HQ on Eighth Avenue, the Starrett-Lehigh occupies an entire city block. Built like a tank with thick concrete floors, solid tulip-shaped columns for maximum reinforcement, and elevators capable of transporting cars, the Starrett-LeHigh is certainly not your average office building. Over the years, a vibrant mix of publishers, fashion houses, technology firms, and artists have leased office space in the Starrett-LeHigh Building. Martha Stewart's media firm occupies 130,000 square feet and prominent fashion designers like Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren lease office space there.
Constructed in 1891 as a hub for transporting and warehousing goods and later converted to creative loft offices for Uber, advertising agencies, and various other businesses, the Terminal Warehouse has a long, rich history. In the mid-80s, the building was home to Tunnel, a famed nightclub where musicians like Iggy Pop and Nine Inch Nails performed, and it served as a film location for Ghostbusters, Kids, and Sex and the City, to name a few. Now, the historic building is transforming into a state-of-the-art Class A facility.
Approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission in 2020, the $1.25 billion redevelopment designed by COOKFOX Architects is a complete gut renovation of the old building, including a seven-story glass and steel addition to the original structure, undoubtedly making the Terminal Warehouse an extremely desirable office space for some lucky companies.
80 EIGHTH AVENUE
This lesser-known Art Deco office building on the northeast corner of West 14th Street and Eighth Avenue is one of the tallest in the southern half of the neighborhood. The views from the upper floors are spectacular (see the first image in this post), especially for the tenants who rent full-floor office spaces with exposures on all sides. The building offers a wide range of square footage, making it a good option for companies looking to rent offices between 1,000 and 12,000 square feet.
OFFICE BUILDINGS IN THE 20s
Chelsea's highest concentration of loft office buildings is in the quadrant from 23rd to 30th Streets and between Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The highest class of office buildings in this area are on Seventh Avenue.
The most exquisite office building in this area is unquestionably the newly constructed 28&7, which, as the name suggests, is located on the corner of 28th Street and Seventh Avenue. The 12-story black terracotta façade forms a dramatic contrast with its monolithic limestone neighbor, the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT), characterized by Corbusier-inspired brutalism. Each floor of 28&7 is just shy of 9,000 square feet, making it an ideal footprint for hedge funds and private equity firms seeking a pristine Class-A office space with easy access to Penn Station.
CLASS 'B' AND CLASS 'C' OFFICE BUILDINGS
For companies on a tighter budget, you'll find the most competitive Chelsea office prices on the side streets, where most offices cost between $40-50 per square foot (as of 2023). Buildings situated off the main avenues typically have modest lobbies and may or may not have a security guard. Building access is often granted via key cards and buzzers, especially after business hours.
These side-street buildings in Chelsea offer functional office spaces suitable for most businesses. You'll find architecture firms, boutique media companies, technology startups, hospitality businesses, boutique brands of every description, not-for-profit organizations, fashion showrooms, post-production suites, small law firms, and a few flexible office space companies. However, you're less likely to find hedge funds or financial services companies because they tend to want Class A office space, and the buildings in this area are mostly Class B and C.
You were probably disappointed if you received a C in school. And you might question dining at a restaurant in New York with a C grade hanging in the window. But building grades are different. Most companies are perfectly happy to rent office space in a Class C building. Think of it like houses or apartments. Buying a luxury condo in NYC at the curvacious Zaha Hadid building on West 28th Street would be amazing, but living in an artist-style loft space or walk-up brownstone would be great, too.
What separates these buildings from their high-class neighbors:
Location - Class C buildings are usually positioned on side streets or mid-block on the avenues. As a result, these buildings only have one street exposure, which can mean less natural light. Typically, buildings that occupy a corner are more significant structures. When you observe a large construction project, more often than not, the new building will occupy at least one corner. But even if an office building is mid-block, the office rental can still be a corner unit. If the building is taller than the one next to it, there are usually windows overlooking the smaller building, in addition to the windows in the front and rear.
Common Areas - The elevators, corridors, and bathrooms won't be as grand as those of their classy cousins. And they won't have expansive double-height lobbies with state-of-the-art turnstiles and blue-chip art. However, the lobbies of many Class C buildings are modern and fully renovated, a sign that landlords are investing in these buildings and want to stand out from the competition.
Amenities - Another way landlords improve their buildings is by adding amenities that all of their tenants can access. During the pandemic, when office occupancy was low in the city, many landlords took the opportunity to add roof terraces, conference rooms, and even gyms. These are more common in Class A buildings but exist in all classes. For example, a Class C building on 29th St in Chelsea has a tenant roof terrace set to open this spring.
The Offices - Landlords allocate more capital to build office spaces in Class A buildings than in other classes of buildings. It makes sense. You have more money to play with when collecting a higher rent. But these days, even in Class C buildings, landlords install glass-fronted offices, new kitchens, and central AC. Just keep in mind that a lower office rent means the kitchen is more likely Ikea than a high-end Italian brand like Alta Cucina.
CHELSEA OFFICES BLEND FUNCTIONALITY AND AFFORDABILITY
As our Chelsea office tour concludes, you can see that the neighborhood offers a variety of office options catering to myriad businesses and budgets. From structures with gravitas like the Starrett-Lehigh and Terminal Warehouse to the sophisticated design of buildings like 28&7 to more economical offerings on side streets that won't break the bank. Chelsea blends the hustle of New York with the creativity of the arts that has long defined it.
As you consider your NYC office space options, think about how each potential office space aligns with your company's culture and practical needs.
READY TO FIND YOUR IDEAL CHELSEA OFFICE SPACE?
We have extensive knowledge of the New York City office market and a proven ability to match existing offices with a company's specific requirements. We'll guide you through the entire process, from understanding your needs to touring office spaces and negotiating proposals, explaining the norms of commercial real estate, like Good-Guy Guarantees and the office space loss factor, to handing off the keys to your new office space.
Start your office search today, and we'll find a NYC office just right for you.