Fintech firms are gobbling up Manhattan office space

Leasing activity’s nearly tripled since 2014

Jeff Bezos with 5 Manhattan West and David Levinson with 150 Fifth Avenue
Jeff Bezos with 5 Manhattan West and David Levinson with 150 Fifth Avenue

Big financial firms, banks and tech startups are driving demand for financial technology office space.

Fintech firms and units of larger companies accounted for roughly 877,000 square feet of Manhattan office leasing last year, according to JLL data reported by the Wall Street Journal. That’s almost triple the sector’s total for 2014.

Mature firms like Alphabet’s Google, Facebook and Amazon are growing larger in the city, and so are outposts of Silicon Valley-based companies.

“They are tapping into the acumen of the financial services sector here and the acumen we have built around the technology sector,” said JLL director of research Sean Coghlan.

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Mastercard, for example, signed a lease last year for all 212,500 square feet at L&L Holding’s 150 Fifth Avenue, almost tripling the size of its current Midtown South technology hub at L&L’s 114 Fifth Avenue.

“With fintech, it’s the tech part of that that is affecting everybody and everything,” said L&L’s David Levinson. “Everybody is trying to figure out how to get ahead of this so they don’t get blindsided by something that a competitor is doing.”

Venture capital funding for fintech firms has roughly doubled from 2014 to $2.2 billion in 2017, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers.

And the city is increasingly becoming a destination for the young workers these firms want to hire. An estimated 36.4 percent of Manhattan’s population is millennials, compared to 28.5 percent nationwide, according to Cushman & Wakefield. [WSJ]Rich Bockmann