Office space evaporates between Madison Square Park and Herald Square

August 10, 2011 11:22AM

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From left: the Eventi Hotel and the Ace Hotel (credit: PropertyShark)

The small, up-and-coming businesses that once thrived along the stretch between Madison Square Park and Herald Square, are becoming endangered by residential development, according to the New York Times.

Two decades ago the area was filled with vacant lots and rundown buildings. That old building stock offered start-ups, dentists, architects and other small tenants cheap rents.

But with rampant development in the area, which includs glassy condominiums, trendy hotels and razed lots readied for future construction, those small tenants fear their office space may no longer be so cheap.

Space in the area is already tight. Cushman & Wakefield data shows just 4.4 percent of Class B office space between 14th and 30th streets west of Sixth Avenue is vacant, compared to 8.3 percent for Manhattan as a whole.

“We need to have manufacturing when we can, we need to have small businesses that can’t afford Class A office space,” said Wally Rubin, district manager of the local Community Board 5. “It’s vital to the running of the city, just as residential that’s accessible to teachers and firemen is vital to the city.”

To that end, the City Planning Commission recently submitted a special zoning variance for a section of the neighborhood between 28th and 30th streets and Seventh and Eighth avenues, to strike a balance between protecting existing office space and cultivating a 24-hour neighborhood. Now, the community board wants that expanded to include more of the neighborhood. [NYT]