NEW YORK CITY-Sponsored by the Steven L. Newman Real Estate Institute, the topic of a conference held at Baruch College was “Midtown West: Options For Mid-Manhattan’s Last Frontier.” The unofficial sub-theme was “Give Me Some Space.” Speakers gathered and shared their insights into the super-tight real estate market in Manhattan and their hopes for Midtown West as a means of stopping the flow of businesses across the river to New Jersey.

“Mid-town Manhattan is an area of 1.75 square miles with 240 million sf of office space,” explained Joe Rose, chairman of the New York Planing Commission. “Only 2% or 4 million of that 240 million sf has been added in the past six years. Even at a modest growth rate, we need the capacity to expand.”

“There is no question that there are places outside of Manhattan ripe for additional growth. Long Island City, Downtown Brooklyn and Flushing are three that come to mind,” Rose continued. “Global competition is oriented around the ability to partake in what the CBD of the City of New York has to offer. “Three factors are driving the office market,” said Eric Deutsch, executive director of The Group of 35. “Very low vacancy rate; growth of the economy and historically, the percentage of the overall economy that is tied to the office market has grown and will continue.”

“Beyond Midtown there is Long Island City and Downtown Brooklyn. Metro Tech has built-to-suit, class A back-office space, but not much else beyond that in terms of class B and C properties,” Deutsch explained. “The transportation now and in the future for LIC provides it with a great link to Manhattan. There is opportunity to build a great office presence that does not exist today.”

“We risk forcing companies to seek other options due to the fact that we won’t have any place for them to go,” summed up Rose. “There are serious restraints in future growth both in mid and lower Manhattan. The far west side of Manhattan is the growth corridor for the CBD.”