Midtown South's Moment has Arrived
January 21, 2011
By: Marnie Cole

Two years ago, Rockrose Development shelved plans to turn 300 Park Ave. South into a hotel and instead poured $5 million into a renovation designed to lure some of the creative companies streaming into the area and into midtown south in general.

The move paid off. In just the past six months, Leo Burnett and the Whitney Museum of American Art took two floors each at the 195,000-square-foot, century-old building at the corner of East 22nd Street. Meanwhile, agency Wilhelmina Models and book publisher Rizzoli International Publications renewed their leases there. ...

...The market, which spans a number of neighborhoods and runs from 41st street down to Canal Street and from river to river, has established itself as something of the market of the moment. Its mix of smaller floor plates, lower rents, a more human scale and a top-notch list of trendy attractions have combined to make it a favorite among more creative types—and employers who want to attract and retain them. ...

...That looser style is attractive to younger, more creative companies and their employees, as are all the trendy hotels, restaurants and bars flourishing in commercial Manhattan's midsection. The Gansevoort Park Avenue NYC hotel opened its doors in the summer. The Hurricane Club, a Polynesian restaurant and tiki bar, opened in September at Park Avenue South and East 26th Street. There's also Mario Batali's wildly popular 5-month-old Eataly, just down the street from Madison Square Park and the city's original Shake Shack.

Parks and cultural attractions are sprouting as well. The Whitney is planning to build a museum in the meatpacking district, across from the hugely popular 18-month-old High Line, which will open its second leg in the spring.

“All these amenities are very appealing to employees,” said Daniel Horowitz, executive managing director at Studley. “Historically, tenants moved to midtown south for lower rents. but it has been in constant evolution.”

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