Widening Tech 'Alley' Outgrows Its Name
April 30, 2014

Greg Taubin

Among the many terms bandied about in New York's commercial real-estate world, few carry as many different connotations as Silicon Alley.

Is it a geographic place as specific as the Flatiron District? A mere metaphor for New York City's broad technology sector? A fading bit of real-estate parlance?

To some, it is a tad insulting.

The term was intended to be complimentary, but now it's not viewed as complimentary because it was created in the shadow" of California's Silicon Valley, said Alec Hartman, founder of TechDay NYC, an annual event for startup companies and investors.

Even so, the brand isn't entirely dead. A local newsletter, "This Week in Silicon Alley," tracks the sector, and earlier this week New York state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli proclaimed in a news release that "Silicon Alley now stretches from Midtown South to lower Manhattan and into Brooklyn and Queens."

That sort of definition rings true with veterans of the city's real-estate scene...

"To me, [the phrase] Silicon Alley is symbolic, and it's always been symbolic," said Wes Rudes, a principal at Cresa, a real-estate advisory firm. In the 1990s, he marketed tech buildings in the Financial District as "Silicon Alley Plaza."

With low vacancies in locations such as the Flatiron District, tech companies have spread out, said Greg Taubin, executive managing director of real-estate services firm Studley. "And downtown has been the beneficiary," he said.

Widening Tech 'Alley' Outgrows Its Name

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