Tech start-ups still flocking to Union Square

With the recent arrival of Apple and the impending addition of Yelp in September spurring desire for the area, start-up technology firms continue to set up shop all over Union Square, the Wall Street Journal reported, despite rents in the area remaining significantly higher than in the Financial District.

Almost a dozen technology firms signed leases this year for a combined 135,000 square feet of office space in Union Square, according to the Union Square Partnership.

The average asking rent in the Financial District is currently $39 per square foot compared to $46 per square foot for Union Square, according to CBRE Research, but that doesn’t seem to matter much to the firms.

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“It was such a morale drain,” Joe Essenfeld, CEO of JIBE, a service that helps match people with jobs through Facebook and Linkedin, said of working in the Financial District.

Companies are drawn to the easy subway and PATH train access at Union Square as well as buildings with open loft-style spaces, said Michael Kaufman, a broker with the Kaufman Organization.

“It has more of a creative vibe — the high ceilings,” Kaufman said.

Venture capital firm Union Square Ventures may also have had a role in putting Union Square on the technology map. The firm moved to the area in 2003. [WSJ]