“The ability to socialize and collaborate is one of the founding blocks of creating a tech community,” writes Ashkán Zandieh, director of the creative and start-up advisory division at ABS Partners Real Estate, in the latest edition of his quarter TechStarter report. Mr. Zandieh has been involved with the technology sector for seven years. He created and sold a start-up, has advised several fledgling companies and tracked the field’s real estate activity for the past year. From ABS Partner’s Union Square area office, Mr. Zandieh is well-positioned to observe and dissect the red hot Midtown South tech real estate market and, if he looks south, the growth of the Financial District as a tech and new media contender.
Mr Zandieh spoke by phone with The Commercial Observer.
The Commercial Observer: How is the tech-fueled Midtown South commercial real estate market holding up?
Mr. Zandieh: The average asking rental price per square foot increased from an estimated $38 per-square-foot in 2011 and 2012 to nearly $60 per square foot for Class B buildings in Midtown South in the first quarter of 2013. What’s pretty interesting is that we’re seeing a Class B transition–there’s a fuzzy line between Class B and Class C.
So young companies are still drawn to, and able to afford, the neighborhood?
A lot of the start-ups I’m working with now are down in Soho and expanding by 20 or 30 employees. They’re moving out of Soho and to NoMad, where they can get larger floor plates. By NoMad, I mean 23rd Street to 28th Street between Park and Seventh Avenues.
Image-licensing company Shutterstock is relocating to the Empire State Building, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The tech startup signed a lease for more than 80,000 square feet on two whole floors of the building, leaving behind 60 Broad Street after the addition of 50 employees following its public offering in October maxed out that space.
“We’ve been growing, and what we want is a more collaborative, open environment,” Shutterstock CEO Jon Oringer told the Journal. “We were looking for really big floor plates, but if you want to go around there [in Midtown], you’d have to look at three or four floors to get the same amount of space.”
When Marissa Mayer, the chief executive of Yahoo, announced last month the abolishment of the internet pioneer’s work-from-home policy, the move was seen as a referendum not only on the company’s current struggle to stay relevant but also on the very idea of telecommuting.
Founded in 1995, Yahoo played a role in the rise of working remotely, a trend that certain exaggerated reports argued could lead to the abandonment of traditional headquarters altogether. Ms. Mayer, who came to Yahoo last year from Google, cited the importance of face-to-face collaboration as a promoter of innovation, but implicit in the announcement was the feeling that Yahoo needed a morale boost and a stronger brand identity that could not be achieved from workers’ living rooms.
At his press conference this afternoon, Mayor Michael Bloomberg was asked about his thoughts on the “Twitter universe” in light of a recent scandal involving an EMS lieutenant who was suspended after the New York Post revealed a series of racist statements he made on the social media site. Mayor Bloomberg described it as evidence people need to be far more careful about what they post online and suggested he’d even warned one of his fellow media moguls, Rupert Murdoch, to stay away from Twitter.
“Everything you send out is going to be retweeted, re-Facebooked, re this, re that and … if you write it down, some day somebody’s going to FOIL it or get it based on a judge’s order,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “You should write down, number one, only things you believe and, number two, then think about how it would look if somebody else sees it.”
eye in the sky
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he has concerns about controversial drones watching the city’s population, but he simply sees them as an inevitability.
“We’re just going into a different world, uncharted,” he said during his weekly WOR radio program, pointing to ubiquitous cameras on the outside of buildings. “Like it or not, what people can do–or governments can do–is different and you can to some extent control [it], but you can’t keep the tides from coming in. We’re going to have more visibility and less privacy. I don’t see how you stop that. It’s not a question whether I think it’s good or bad, I just don’t see how you can stop that because we’re going to have them.”
Have you tried reading The Awl this afternoon? How about The Hairpin, The Billfold, Splitsider or The Wirecutter? Instead of blog posts and videos, a warning appears. ”Google Chrome has blocked access to theawl.com for now,” the website currently read. “Even if you have visted this website safely in the past, visiting it now is likely to infect your Mac with malware.”
Prior to launching his mayoral bid, Republican former MTA chairman Joe Lhota was an extremely prolific Twitter user. Since hitting the campaign trail, Mr. Lhota has made far fewer posts on the social media site and stopped tweeting the witticisms he was previously known for. When Politicker saw Mr. Lhota at lunch yesterday, we asked him why he reduced his Twitter presence. Mr. Lhota attributed his lower Twitter profile to instructions from his campaign press team, specifically, his spokeswoman Susan Del Percio.
“I eventually will get back. You know I get handled by my press people,” said Mr. Lhota. “Susan, she threatened me, so I have to be careful.”
Alloy Digital has signed a six-year, 29,416-square-foot sublease with Liquidnet Holdings Inc. at 498 Seventh Avenue in Times Square South, The Commercial Observer has learned.
The expanding digital media firm will occupy the entire 19th floor in the 880,000-square-foot, Class A building owned by George Comfort & Sons Inc. and located between West 36th and West 37th streets. The firm is relocating from 151 West 26th Street in West Chelsea.
“Alloy Digital is one the many tech firms that have relocated to the submarket from Chelsea Market, and other areas of the city,” said Jones Lang LaSalle’s Alexander Chudnoff, who represented Alloy Digital with Dan Turkewitz.
Yesterday we shed some doubt over whether social media satirist Nimrod Kamer’s “finger hashtag” story for Wired.uk was for real. Today, we got our answer.
Update: Or not!
Today’s big “So dumb I can’t believe it’s a real trend” trend comes courtesy of Wired’s U.K. website, in an article called “Brace yourselves for the proliferation of the ‘finger hashtag.’”
According to the piece’s author, who also provided seven pieces of photographic evidence, this new “trend” involves people “actually making the hashtag sign with their hands (using the index and middle fingers from both laid over each other) rather than saying ‘hashtag.’”
Which would be semi-outrageous (no more so than planking, surely) and sort of makes you hope that the people currently using this gesture are “killed in a fire,” as the story goes, except for one thing. This trend story is most likely a fake.