One of New York City’s most historic yet hippest neighborhoods, Chelsea has also come into vogue as a top business destination in recent years. Sandwiched between the booming Hudson Yards district, the Flatiron District and trendy downtown neighborhoods, Chelsea has much to offer businesses looking to relocate there. Although it has several drawbacks – namely a limited transportation network – its major selling points such as its trendy, creative appeal and diverse office inventory make it a solid deal overall for many companies.
The neighborhood is located on the west side of Manhattan, roughly bounded by 14th Street to the south, 30th Street to the north, Sixth Avenue to the east and the Hudson River to the west. Named after a colonial estate of the same name owned by retired British officer Thomas Clarke, the neighborhood began to rapidly develop in the middle of the 19th century. Its western part became a major industrial and shipping hub in the latter half of the 19th century and new immigrants from countries like Ireland poured in. The neighborhood thrived in the early 1900s but later experienced a steep decline after World War II.
In recent years, the community has undergone a dramatic renaissance as new art galleries have set up shop while the revitalized High Line draws millions of visitors from around the world. West Chelsea, due to a Blomberg-era rezoning, has also seen a massive construction boom while major companies like Google have also established their presence in the neighborhood, attesting its strong appeal.
A large neighborhood, Chelsea’s northern and eastern reaches are well served by public transit thanks to Penn Station, the new 7 train station at 34th Street-Hudson Yards and the Sixth, Seventh and Eighth Avenue subway lines. The neighborhood’s creative energy and vibrancy are virtually unmatched, making it a great deal for businesses on sectors like creative services, digital media, online marketing and technology.
It also boasts a diverse office building stock, with historic lofts and industrial buildings like Google’s New York City headquarters at 111 Eighth Avenue available as well as modern offices like the IAC Building near the High Line. The community also enjoys a rising retail and nightlife scene as well as plentiful public space, courtesy of the redeveloped High Line and the picturesque Hudson River Park.
The neighborhood has become quite expensive in recent years and also suffers from a low vacancy rate, making breaking in to the market tough, especially for startups. In addition, while the eastern part of the neighborhood and area close to Penn Station offer good transit access, vast reaches – especially in West Chelsea – are much harder to get to. The neighborhood’s relative lack of Class A office space aside from some boutique office buildings near the High Line is also an impediment to many companies, especially banks, law firms and others who require large floor plates and modern office space.
Although the relative dearth of new Class A office space and transit deserts in some parts of the neighborhood are serious drawbacks, Chelsea is still a great deal for many companies, especially those in the creative, media, tech and design sectors. Businesses looking for a trendy community with a creative vibe will find few better options in Manhattan than this neighborhood.