According to the Forbes article “Silicon Central: How New York Tech Grew Up and Moved Uptown”, the NYC tech scene has matured. Driven by twenty-somethings engineers in the post-2007 Bloomberg era, these engineers are now thirty-somethings with new priorities. They moved out of their downtown apartment with a roommate into a nice apartment or family home. Their companies are thriving and attracting top talent. Their work priorities are shifting from the late night grind and hipster locations to work-life balance and central locations. Enter what Forbes coins “Silicon Central”, the grown-up tech hub. The engineers driving NYC’s tech scene are migrating to Midtown workspaces. It’s an easier commute from their new homes off the Metro-North and easily accessible for the talent they are hiring. Our coworking space is in the epicenter of this hub. Here are the trends we’re seeing from the frontlines of Midtown West.
Though Hudson Yards was not planned with the tech boom in mind per se, the timing is great. Hudson Yards changed both the skyline in NYC and the power play of zip codes. 30 Hudson, the largest skyscraper in Hudson Yards, is drawing companies like Amazon, HBO, JP Morgan, and BlackRock. It’s also home to The Edge, the highest outdoor observation deck in the Western hemisphere. On the retail front, luxury brands like Equinox Fitness are opening new concept spaces. The first ever Equinox Hotel opens this June 2019 while Neiman Marcus already opened its first-ever New York City department store.
The story behind this $25 billion development is one of overcoming hurdles. Planning began over two decades ago in 2001, and then major hurdles arose – the Olympic bid would have changed Hudson Yards into a stadium neighborhood, disagreements with city commissioners affected transit line extensions, and the 2009 recession brought funding to a halt. Nonetheless, architects eager to build a new city within a city continued working. It’s a tale as old as time for entrepreneurs and tech visionaries alike – steadfast dedication and optimism in the face of hurdles. Hudson Yards is now the first smart city development in the United States. Data-collection devices monitor air quality, noise, traffic, heat, water, energy use and feature opt-in mobile apps for real estate access. Just in time for the tech boom, Hudson Yards has literally grown up in Midtown West, signifying the influence technology has on New York’s ecosystem.
Hudson Yards is the media darling of Midtown West’s renaissance, but smaller grand openings are also happening.
Our immediate neighborhood, traditionally known as the Garment District, has been steadily changing over the past ten years. As local manufacturing continues to move abroad, tech-based companies fill vacated offices. Now, the tech presence is formidable. Fortune 500 companies like Salesforce, Microsoft, and Snapchat have headquarters in Midtown West. Apple is negotiating a move into 55 Hudson, Company (featured in the Forbes article) built a centralized campus for innovation, and coworking spaces are booming. These companies are founded by or hire “the grown-up, thirty-something engineer” detailed in the Forbes article.
It’s a jackpot for fast-casual restaurants; health-conscious professionals with a disposable income. 37th to 40th street alone boasts an impressive lineup of lunch places, from Cava, Sweet Green, Little Beet, Juice Generation, Luke’s Lobster, Beyond Sushi, Witchcraft, Maison Kaiser, Gregory’s Coffee, Dig Inn, Bluestone Coffee, and the list grows as we type.
Hotels and rooftop bars do well with this demographic too. Our neighborhood averaged four new hotel openings per year, over the past ten years, and sixteen new rooftop bars in the past two years. The famed hotelier, Ian Schrager, who has a knack for knowing the next best neighborhood, just opened The Edition hotel in Times Square. He was drawn to the nostalgic allure of Midtown. “This is where it all began. You think about all the naysayers about Times Square, but this is the center. After the war, people came back here, and you had the Copacabana, The New York Times, Central Park up the street, the banks up and down the next avenue,”.
Also tapping into that Midtown nostalgia, Elsie Lounge and Rooftop, opened on the rooftop of Workville’s building. Named after a famous golden-age actress, Elsie de Wolfe the old-world decor is a nod to her influential 1913 book The House in Good Taste, with gold doors, sculptural fixtures, and a marble bar.
Largescale investments like these are a sign of changing times, “ ‘It’s a pattern that has played out in Manhattan before’, says Nancy Novogrod, the longtime editor-in-chief of Travel and Leisure Magazine… ‘We saw this happen around Columbus Circle with the Mandarin Oriental, along 57th Street with the Park Hyatt, and around the High Line with the Standard.’ In other words, hotels can often signal a changing tide in blighted or underappreciated parts of the city.” (Bloomberg News) To quote another expert on the signs of change, Jonathan Bowles, executive director of the Center for an Urban Future explains that “before the furor over Amazon [and Long Island City], tech’s rise had managed to stay largely beneath the radar…Tech has become a huge and crucial part of the New York City economy; I’m not sure that most New Yorkers know that right now.” (NY Times)
We love that our coworking space is in the hub of Midtown West’s tech-led renaissance. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to experience a day with Workville in “Silicon Central”.