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Nine Ways Lower Manhattan Has Evolved In The Past Decade

There is no denying that New York City has experienced considerable change in the past decade. Arguably, some of the biggest changes have taken place below Chambers Street in Lower Manhattan.

Once mainly known as the center of the City’s financial services industry, this area has more recently transformed into a vibrant residential area that more than 60,000 people now call home.

A Wider Range of Industries

1. More overall businesses: Since 2006, the total number of Lower Manhattan firms has grown from 8,000 to 8,500.

2. Increase in industry diversity: Lower Manhattan has diversified to make a home for other industries. Since 2004, more than 30% of relocations to the area have come from the Tech/Media/Creative field. Thanks to grants from Take the H.E.L.M., a NYCEDC program that encourages companies to lease space south of Chambers Street, major tech, creative, and media companies like Refinery 29, Paperless Post, and The Flatiron School are now in the area.


3. Growth in creative and professional workers: The area within a 30-minute commute of Lower Manhattan was the only part of the New York City Metropolitan region to grow its share of workers in creative and professional fields over the last decade.

A Flourishing Residential Population

4. More people are putting down roots: Today, an estimated 60,000 people reside south of Chambers Street, with about 2,000 more expected in the coming year. This reflects a 162% growth in the number of residents since 2000.


5. Homeownership is on the rise: Since 2007, ownership is up from 40% to 47% reflecting a stronger commitment to the area by residents.

6. Greater number of places to live: The housing inventory has doubled from 15,000 units in 2001 to 30,500 units in 2013.

A Higher Quality of Life

7. More schools: With more people to serve, more amenities are available. Before 2001, there were 17 Pre-K, grade schools, and higher education schools in Lower Manhattan. Today, there are 45.

8. New hotels: Home to the Statute of Liberty and the New York Stock Exchange, Lower Manhattan has always been a must-see destination for tourists. Last year it registered 11.5 million tourist visits. To accommodate the growing number of visitors, the number of hotels since 2004 has doubled with 12 hotels currently under construction.


9. Greater access to parks and waterfronts: One of the top reasons residents choose to live in Lower Manhattan is its access to parks and the waterfront. From 2004 to 2009, the percentage of Lower Manhattan residents citing park and waterfront access as a reason to live in the neighborhood grew from 54% to 75%.

Today: Lower Manhattan Continues To Evolve

With $5.1 billion in annual buying power, Lower Manhattan continues to develop with more retail openings.

Looking ahead, three major new projects will grace the downtown landscape within the next year:

Brookfield Place: Includes 40 high-end fashion shops, 15 fast casual establishments, and 6 signature restaurants.

World Trade Center Site: Houses 150 leading global brands and over 2.6 million square feet of space for commercial offices and retail locations.

Fulton Center: A transportation hub that connects 11 subway lines with shopping, dining, and office space.

The recent kickoff of Launch LM, a new initiative that helps grow and support the tech community in the central business district, is just another indicator of Lower Manhattan’s industry diversification and continued evolution.

Research was provided by the Downtown Alliance, which provides service, advocacy, research, and information to advance Lower Manhattan as a global model of a 21st century business district for businesses, residents, and visitors. Special thanks to Jarrod Grim, research analyst at Downtown Alliance, for his thorough review and fact-checking. For more information on Lower Manhattan’s growth, please visit the Downtown Alliance website.

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