How Much for a Killer View?

For most people, a killer view means looking at the water. You’d think in Manhattan, a killer view would be equated with overlooking the Hudson, but interestingly, a killer view here in New York City means a view of Central Park. The largest green space in Manhattan commands the highest prices around, even higher than those situated by the water. Tourists may hunt for a view of the skyline, and house hunters may look for a view of the river, but when it comes to commercial real estate, the most expensive view around is that of Central Park. Looking at the green will cost you green!

9 West 57th Street, which overlooks the south side of Central Park, is regarded as having the best view in Manhattan. 9 West sits right behind the Plaza Hotel, which only stretches 19 stories into the sky and thus opens up unobstructed views of Central Park, as far as the eye can see on all the north facing upper floors.

Generally speaking, the higher the floor, the more rent you pay. At a place like 9 West 57th, where you’re paying for a view of the park, you’re looking at around $70/square foot on the 15th floor, and double that on the 40th floor. The same building doesn’t mean the same rents all around; on the contrary, the higher the floor and the better the view, the more you’ll pay.

In lower Manhattan, where rents are cheaper, you’re looking at a 30-50% increase in rent from the lower floors to the higher floors. There are spectacular views of the river and the ocean downtown, but office space is still much cheaper than that in Midtown. If you’re willing to look at the river and the ocean instead of Central Park, your rent will be much cheaper. Midtown is generally thought of as more desirable than downtown from a real estate perspective, and so even buildings without great views of the park will be more expensive than buildings downtown.

Such is also the case in Rockefeller Center, which has great views. The offices that face the skating rink pay more than those that face 5th Avenue, or those that face the side streets. In short, you’re always going to have an increase in price if you’re looking for a view, but a view of Central Park is by far and away the most expensive view you can get.