Union Square's tech connection is turning the area into quite the real estate hotspot. NY1's Jill Urban filed the following report.
For years, areas like DUMBO and Madison Square Park have been the go-to districts for tech firms looking to set up shop. But now it seems Union Square is emerging as a hot destination for all things tech.
"We've seen an incredible tech surge here in the Union Square district," says Union Square Partnership Executive Director Jennifer Falk. "It started with Apple iAd followed by Net-a-Porter, Yelp. We know that First Mark Capital is coming in June and then followed by Newton and a whole host of new companies really decided to make Union Square the place you wanna be in the digital district."
In the last year alone, 200,000 square feet of office space was leased to 15 technology companies; several of which have set up shop inside 100-104 Fifth Avenue.
One tenant is Yelp with about 10,000 square feet of space and 75 employees.
"Originally Yelp wanted to move here because it’s so central," says Yelp East Coast Sales Director Kayti Sullivan. "We have a lot of people commuting from different areas of Manhattan and the different boroughs and the general vibe we were definitely very drawn to. As you know, Union Square has a lot of bustling businesses and Yelp is all about connecting with small local businesses."
Aside from the businesses, the tech firms themselves are already starting to generate energy and an overall sense of creativity. Sullivan says there is definitely a camaraderie among the various firms in the area.
Aside from the location and the vibe, another big draw to the area is, of course, the outdoor space.
"It's great to have the outdoor space in the park. We often have people having one on one meetings and taking the park almost as an extended space to the office," Sullivan adds.
With so many tech firms settling here, some are dubbing the area Silicon Square.
The Union Square area has one of the lowest office vacancy rates in the city at just under six percent. But if more start-ups start following the trend, the city could see that number shift.