NYC Architects | Cetra Ruddy

The design district? More than 100 architecture, engineering firms relocated to Lower Manhattan

In the past decade, many firms left pricey Midtown South

From left: Lower Manhattan, Bjarke Ingels, Nancy Ruddy, Stephen Hill and David Childs

After more than 30 years in Soho, CetraRuddy — the architecture firm behind luxury condominium One Madison — decided to head south.

By the end of the year, the firm plans to move to Rudin Management and Allianz Real Estate of America’s One Battery Park Plaza — just about as far south in Manhattan as a company can go without hitting the water. Nancy Ruddy, co-founding principal of the firm, noted that Soho has dramatically changed from an “industrial area with cost-effective rents.” She said the “nexus is shifting” to Lower Manhattan for many creative companies.

“For us, choosing Lower Manhattan allowed us to relocate to a space that creates the best working environment for our team: A light-filled environment where every person has a water view,” she said.

CetraRuddy joins more than 100 architecture and engineering firms that plan to or already have migrated to Lower Manhattan over the last few years, according to the Downtown Alliance, based on data compiled by Cushman & Wakefield, CoStar and CBRE. Since 2005, 42 architecture and engineer firms have decided to relocate downtown, including AECOM, Skidmore Owings and Merrill, Thornton Thomasetti, Morris Adjmi and Handel Architects.

Many of these firms fled climbing rents in Midtown South, including Goldstein Hill & West, now known as Hill West Architects. The firm left its space at 31 West 27th Street in 2012, inking a 10-year lease at 11 Broadway. Stephen Hill said the firm was “priced out” of Midtown South and found a space where they could expand their operations over the years.

“We were a little ahead of the curve on our move downtown, but in the last few years many architecture and…

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