The future looks bright for Hudson Square


BY Jason D. Pizer

We have weathered the harshest impact of the economic storm and the signs from our vantage point today point toward a more stable and prosperous tomorrow. I am encouraged by the resilience of the Hudson Square neighborhood, which continues to draw new businesses and residents. Tenants are returning to the market. Space tours are increasing. The pace of deals has quickened. While we set conservative leasing goals for 2010, we have already exceeded them.

Trinity Real Estate completed more than a half a million square feet of new leases, expansions, renewals and extensions across our portfolio in 2010, retaining and attracting a diverse range of tenants, particularly from “creative-collar” industries like fashion, art, film, publishing and advertising. Media strategy and buying firm Horizon Media, for example, relocated its 400 New York City-based employees from several different Midtown locations to One Hudson Square. The firm signed a long-term commitment for 115,000 square feet, establishing a new headquarters and joining an extensive roster of media-related tenants who have chosen to make Hudson Square their home including Viacom, New York Magazine, CBS Radio East and WNYC Public Radio.

Hudson Square’s creative spirit and strong sense of community, which have lured venerable philanthropic and cultural organizations such as Atlantic Philanthropies, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and the Guggenheim Foundation, also appealed to the renowned Children’s Museum of the Arts New York. Earlier this year, the celebrated museum signed a 20-year lease at 345 Hudson Street, and will be relocating from 182 Lafayette Street in SoHo where it has been since its inception in 1988. The Children’s Museum of the Arts will not only be a destination for area residents, families and tourists, its founders are also passionate partners who are committed to seeing Hudson Square achieve its full potential as a strong 24/7 community.

This year, we were also proud to salute the first graduates of the small business incubator at 160 Varick Street, a partnership between the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Trinity Real Estate, which contributed the space. The incubator houses an eclectic group of 35 start-up firms, offering them an opportunity to establish a foothold in the marketplace by providing high-quality, technologically-advanced yet affordable office space. The incubator is already achieving its goal of supporting the growth of these small businesses.

Collectively, the tenants have created more than 100 permanent jobs and hired more than 200 additional freelancers and interns, contributing to the overall strength of the local and citywide economy. Pixable, one of the first companies to graduate from or “outgrow” the incubator space, has chosen to stay in Hudson Square. The company, which allows users to turn Facebook, Flickr, and Picasa photos into home-delivered printed memorabilia, signed a two-year lease for approximately 2,700 square feet on the sixth floor of our property at 137 Varick Street. We are currently in discussions with several other prospective graduates about their future spaces needs as well. Hudson Square, with its dynamic mix of creative companies, is clearly the right place for the incubator, and an attractive location for its graduates as they continue to grow and become established in the marketplace.

Hudson Square has also benefitted, as has Lower Manhattan overall, during the past year from the migration of traditional Midtown office tenants seeking large blocks of high-quality space at more competitive rents. At the same time, many of Trinity’s current tenants are also growing or are poised for growth as the economy recovers. They are planning for expansion now by taking advantage of favorable market conditions. Based on recent activity and several significant deals that are in the final stages of negotiation, we are optimistic about prospects in the coming year. If current indications prove accurate, we anticipate that in 2011 we will exceed the occupancy rate that we achieved at the height of the real estate boom.

These are gratifying, exciting and challenging times. It is a compelling moment to be president of Trinity Real Estate. I have been privileged, during my 11 years with the organization, to witness and assist with the transformation of Hudson Square from its printing and light industrial past to the multi-faceted live/work/play neighborhood emerging today. Bordered by several of the most sought-after areas in the city—the West Village, TriBeCa and SoHo—Hudson Square is ideally positioned to continue on its path of diversification. By employing intelligent neighborhood strategies, we have created a welcoming and dynamic environment that fosters opportunity and growth for a creative mix of tenants. The future looks bright.

Jason D. Pizer is President of Trinity Real Estate.