How much will it take to make FiDi hip?

Several increments of $250,000, the city hopes.

Companies in trendy fields such as tech or media could win up to a quarter of a million if they agree to occupy Wall Street — and stay there.

The Bloomberg administration is running a contest to bring “the best and brightest” employees to liven up the traditionally conservative neighborhood, which soon will have tons of office space at the World Trade Center complex, the World Financial Center and other buildings. Applicants must fulfill at least one of four criteria: tech-oriented, creative (such as media and design), moving from outside New York City and less than three years old.

The administration aims to lure the tech stars crowding around Midtown South, Chelsea, Soho and the Flatiron District to Lower Manhattan, which could use an injection of hipness. “There’s kind of a disconnect between people’s perception of the area — that it’s a monolithic neighborhood centered around financial services — and the reality,” Seth Pinsky, president of the city’s Economic Development Corp., told the Wall Street Journal.

Change is already percolating in Lower Manhattan, which will get a million square feet of retail in the next few years, along with the arrival of media titan Conde Nast in 2014.

However, hip firms may be wary of moving to the Financial District, given the absence of buzzy, like-minded companies in the area. Another hurdle is conservative office buildings without the sort of open layouts, exposed beams and other faux-worn, industrial touches that make techie hearts pitter-patter.

“I think it has to do with a cultural component that exists in Midtown South and the Flatiron District,” Jones Lang LaSalle broker Sean Black, who represents several tech firms, told the Wall Street Journal. “It has not been replicated anywhere else in Manhattan.”

Hey Bloomberg, we’re young, tech-oriented and the right kind of edgy: plop a reclaimed pencil factory in the middle of Broad Street, and you’ve got yourself a deal.

Developments featured in this article

More Like This

Facebook Chatter