When Facebook was looking for another New York office that could accommodate up to 6,000 people, more than twice the number currently in the city, there was great demand: space was urgently needed.
After the company settled in Hudson Yards, the huge mini-city that formed in Manhattan's Far West Side, existing tenants were told to move and a small army of construction workers quickly began renovating the building even before one Lease contract had been signed.
Facebook's urge to do justice to its booming operations is part of a rush of West Coast technology giants to expand in New York City. The rapid growth is transforming much of Manhattan into one of the most dynamic tech corridors in the world.
Four companies – Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google – already have large offices along the Hudson River, from Midtown to Lower Manhattan, or have been looking for new ones in recent months that often compete for the same space.
In total, the companies are expected to employ around 20,000 people in New York by 2022.
Cities in the United States and around the world have long tried to establish themselves as worthy rivals for Silicon Valley. New York City is certainly not close to overtaking the Bay Area as the country's technology leader, but it is increasingly competing for technology companies and talent.
New York's rise as a technology center is due to the fact that industries that have long dominated the city's economic landscape are being changed by technology and are increasingly dependent on software engineers and other highly skilled workers.
The growth in New York is largely without major economic incentives from the city and state governments. Officials are aware of the outrage Amazon offered last year to build a corporate campus in Queens for at least $ 3 billion in public grants.
The retail giant that got stung by the backlash abruptly canceled his plans in February. Jobs will continue to be created in the city, albeit more slowly.
However, Amazon's announcement last month that it would lease 1,500 employees in Midtown sparked a debate about whether incentives should be used to lure large technology companies to New York.
Opponents of the previous deal, including MP Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat from Queens, said Amazon's decision to expand in Manhattan showed that New York City was so attractive that tax breaks were unnecessary.
Others replied that the Hudson Yards room that the company rented had faded away from the campus that was for Long Island City, Queens, and the 25,000 people Amazon had agreed to employ.
Tech companies choose New York to leverage the extensive and skilled pool of talent and to recruit people who prefer the city's diverse economy to technology-dominated west coast hubs. New York is also closer to Europe, an important market.
"For a long time, when you lived in the broader technology sector, it was an indolence that took you to Silicon Valley," said Julie Samuels, general manager of Tech: NYC, a nonprofit industry group. "So many people wanted to live and move here, but the jobs weren't here. Now the jobs are there."
Google has grown so quickly and has become so small in space that it temporarily rents two buildings until a much larger building in Manhattan near the Holland Tunnel, the St. John's Terminal, is completed by 2022.
The big technology companies started out in New York with small outposts. Google's first employee in New York, a sales representative, came in 2000 and worked at a Starbucks in Manhattan. It was the company's first office outside of California.
The technology industry's offices used to be primarily staffed with sales and marketing people who needed to be closer to their customers and to industries like fashion, finance, media and real estate that were driving the city's economy.
Over the past five years, however, the composition of the New York-based workforce has evolved into a West Coast version: a mix of engineers and others involved in software development.
Google's office in New York has more highly qualified employees than sales and marketing colleagues. Of Almost 800 vacancies at Amazon in the city, more than half of them for developers, engineers and data scientists.
"Every industry and platform is fairly well represented," said William Floyd, director of external affairs at Google in New York, the company's largest office, except for Mountain View, Calif. "Not everyone wants to be in California."
Oren Michels, a technology consultant and investor who sold San Francisco-based Mashery to Intel in 2013, said New York has become a haven for techs who don't just want to be surrounded by industry employees.
"You have younger engineers and people who honestly want to live in New York City because it's a more interesting and fun place to live," he said. "San Francisco is transforming into a corporate city and the company is a technical company both professionally and personally."
Mr. Michels said his family bought a Manhattan house in 2014 to spread their time between San Francisco and New York. They soon decided to live full time in New York, where Mr. Michels is on the boards of four technology companies.
The number of technical jobs in New York City has risen by 80 percent to 142,600 in the past ten years, from 79,400 in 2009. according to the New York State Comptroller. (The corporate services industry, which includes accountants and lawyers and is the largest private sector, employed 762,000 people in 2018, according to the auditor's office.)
Since 2016, the number of vacancies in the city's technology industry has increased by 38 percent. This was the result of an analysis for The Times on the job website Glassdoor. In November, New York had the third highest number of tech openings among cities in the United States, at 26,843, just behind San Francisco and Seattle.
It's not just the largest technology companies that are growing in New York. From 2018 to the third quarter of 2019, investors invested more than $ 27 billion in startups in the New York City region MoneyTree report from PwC-CB Insights. (Nearly $ 100 billion was invested in startups in Silicon Valley during this period.)
Industries like finance, retail, and healthcare offer more jobs, but the technology sector is one of the main drivers of the New York economy with an average salary of $ 153,000.
This has raised concerns as to whether the industry is aggravating income inequality and making New York unaffordable for more people.
The four major tech companies "attract thousands of people with advanced degrees and work experience, and unprecedented increases in luxury rents, rental migrations, and the overthrow of buildings and homes," said Kiana Davis, a political analyst at the city justice center.
"It should go without saying," she added, "that middle-income, low-wage, poor and unemployed people in these cities have neither access to the luxury property market nor to rising rents, and as a result have been driven out of their communities." , "
Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel, a property valuation company, said the Manhattan housing market was strong in areas where technology companies had grown.
"I speak to brokerage groups twice a week and the conversation is always peppered with questions about the technology area," said Miller. "Adding 20,000 high-earners can have a significant impact."
Large technology companies are expected to be among the largest private tenants in New York in the coming years and to compete with long-time leaders such as JPMorgan Chase.
Google, Facebook and Facebook are the largest tenants among companies in the technology, advertising, media and information industries and, according to The Times real estate company, beat older companies such as Condé Nast, News Corp. and Warner Media Cushman & Wakefield.
Facebook has 2,900 employees in New York and recently signed the 1.5 million square meter lease in three buildings at Hudson Yards. In addition to providing space for 6,000 employees, the deal also gives the company the opportunity to develop a further several hundred thousand square meters.
Facebook managers first looked at a marquee building on Madison Avenue in the Flatiron district, not far from the company's existing offices, as one person is familiar with Facebook's plans.
But then Facebook managers toured Hudson Yards and were impressed with the amenities, including shops and restaurants, and the short walk to the main subway lines.
A contract was signed in November, but Facebook stipulated that two buildings, 30 and 55 Hudson Yards, would soon have around 300,000 square meters of space.
The workers were immediately called in to start preparing the room and move out the existing tenants.
Two blocks east, Facebook is about to sign a lease for around 700,000 square meters in The 107-year-old James A. Farley Building across from Pennsylvania Station is, according to three people familiar with the business. The property, also known as the Farley Post Office, is being renovated by its affiliates and another developer, the Vornado Realty Trust.
More than 2,500 employees could work there at some point. (The Wall Street Journal first reported on the potential lease.)
"It is difficult to predict future growth, but we believe New York is a vibrant market with a huge pool of talent," said a Facebook spokeswoman, Jamila Reeves. She declined to comment on the company's specific plans.
North of the Farley Building, Amazon The company recently announced that it had signed a 350,000 square meter lease in a building on 10th Avenue near Hudson Yards that could accommodate 1,500 employees. The social media company LinkedIn, whose offices in New York are not far away, recently announced in the Empire State Building that it is to be expanded to four more floors in the listed building.
The technology titan, whose intentions are probably the least known in New York, is Apple.
Executives from the company, which had an office in the Flatiron area, have visited buildings in the area and Hudson Yards area, but a contract has not yet been signed. Apple asked whether much less space could be rented than other large technology companies, namely around 50,000 square meters.
Apple declined to comment.
For every West Coast expanding company with a well-known name in New York, there are many large but less well-known companies headquartered in the city.
First, Datadog, which offers cloud-based software for businesses, went public in September and is valued at $ 10.5 billion. The company has 480 employees in its New York offices, compared to 125 three years ago.