Manhattan and Brooklyn Office Rents: The Divide Grows Big-Time

It’s become a truism that Brooklyn commercial rents are a bargain when compared to Manhattan’s. That truism is now, if you will, even truer.

A Cushman & Wakefield first-quarter survey of 82 commercial buildings in Brooklyn revealed that, between the first quarters of 2005 and 2008, the average rent per square foot in Brooklyn rose 14 percent to $31.44, while in Downtown Manhattan, the average rose an astronomical 62 percent to $50.28.

The difference between rents in the two markets was far less pronounced back in the halcyon days of 2005, when Brooklyn rents averaged $27.51 a foot, while Downtown Manhattan rents averaged $31.03.

Glenn Markman, an executive director at Cushman & Wakefield who deals in both Manhattan and Brooklyn, explained it thusly:

“There’s not a lot of supply out there on the island of Manhattan. So, it’s simple economics.”

And, as another expert pointed out, Larry Silverstein’s Seven World Trade Center — where asking rent for the top floor is $80 a square foot — really bumped up averages for Downtown Manhattan.