Kelly Faircloth is a guest blogger for Betabeat.
Realtors tell NY1 that the boom of startups, the wave of IPOs, and the plans for a new tech campus are already coming together to begin affecting rent prices. And it’s not exactly going to make them cheaper. Says one Doug Perlson, CEO of RealDirect: “What we are seeing is that the business of business is now technology and more and more companies are hiring tech workers. These people need a place to live.”
The Third Degree
Dumbo—the quasi-acronym for “Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass”—is the former manufacturing neighborhood in Brooklyn that’s recently taken on the nickname “Silicon Beach,” and it continues to rack up digital cred. Despite slim pickings for good restaurants and coffee shops, the sleepy neighborhood is looking more and more like a sliver of the Bay Area nestled within the better borough. Trailblazers Etsy, Huge LLC and Wireless Generation have expanded their leases and new tenants are signing on, including Armchair Studio, LLC, a graphic design, communications and computer programming company and Type/Code LLC, an interaction design and development company.
Dumbo-based startup Headliner.fm was already a few months into its partnership with SoundCloud, the white-hot Berlin-based music storage startup, when Tumblr decided to jump on the SoundCloud love train apparently rolling through New York. But at the SF Music Summit today, Headliner.fm co-founder Mike More announced he was sweetening the deal on his app, currently one of the most popular offerings in SoundCloud’s App Gallery.
For the uninitiated, Headliner.fm is a social media recommendation tool that helps acts like Diddy, Akon, and Maroon 5, all of which have signed up for its service, to connect to new fans with a simple proposition: letting one artist recommend another to its fans on Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace (yeah, yeah, we know, but music was the only thing it was ever good for).
“We couldn’t be any more technologically obsolete and incompetant, but we’re glad there are lots of people out there that are not that way,” real estate developer Jed Walentas told Betabeat this morning by phone. He and his father, who own 13 buildings in the neighborhood under Two Trees Management, are widely credited for the waterfront neighborhood’s transition to a younger but slightly upscale mixed-use community by encouraging small, fast-growing companies to move in and providing funding for the arts and now tech communities.
Tech and the City
Dumbo, the quiet neighborhood rather painfully nicknamed “Silicon Beach” that reminds some techies of San Francisco, is getting an incubator/co-working space in the vein of the NYU-Poly incubator on Varick St. in Soho. The city is investing $250,000 into a space for 30 desks for tech companies and freelancers, provided at subsidy by neighborhood developer Two Trees–who also sponsored that free wifi that you now see popping up on the Manhattan Bridge. NYU-Poly will manage the space, selecting tenants and lining up workshops, speakers, and networking sessions.
Free wifi is now available Down Under the Manhattan Bridge. Sometimes known as Silicon Beach, sometimes known as the headquarters of Etsy–one of New York’s highest profile start-ups and a revenue-generating business–the neighborhood is arguably the first in New York City to offer free internet access in streets, parks and plazas. “For the first time in New York City, an entire area has become a hot spot–a haven for bloggers, Tweeters, emailers, Facebookers and everyone else who thrives on the internet,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz in a press release. “One day, mark my words, this area will rival Silicon Valley in terms of high tech ingenuity – so it’s only natural that DUMBO is the first neighborhood to be truly connected 24/7.”