Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Reminders: CB3 committees to hear more about the Union Square tech hub tonight

[Rendering via RAL Development]

As noted back on Jan. 25, CB3's Joint Economic Development Committee and Land Use, Zoning, Public & Private Housing Committee will hear more about the Mayor's proposed 20-story tech hub on 14th Street during its meeting tonight. (It takes place at 6:30 at the Henry Street Settlement, Youth Services Gymnasium, 301 Henry St.)

Mayor de Blasio is proposing to turning the city-owned P.C. Richard site on 14th Street at Irving Place into a "workforce development and digital skills training center," among other things.

Here's more about the proposed 240,000 square-foot facility via Crain's:

Civic Hall, a nonprofit that promotes collaboration to solve civic problems with technology, would operate six floors of the building. Half the space would be used for co-working and meetings for the city’s philanthropy, business and tech sectors. The other half is slated to be occupied by five organizations offering tech training. General Assembly, for example, hosts intense coding courses. Per Scholas, a national nonprofit, offers its free tech training to underserved populations that, on average, make less than $20,000 per year before enrolling in and roughly double that income after graduating.

To make this happen, the site/area needs to be upzoned. This zoning change is of particular concern to some area residents and preservationists, who have stressed that the fabric of the neighborhood could be lost with a rash of new developments south of Union Square along Broadway, University Place and Fourth Avenue. (The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation has been leading the efforts behind a rezoning of the area to enforce some height restrictions and affordable housing requirements. The group makes their case here.)

On Jan. 29, the Economic Development Corporation, the city agency overseeing the hub's development, presented the proposal to the Planning Commission, the first step in the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP), as Curbed reported.

The tech-hub project will eventually need Planning Commission and City Council approval. The public-review process is expected to take about around seven months. Crain's lays out here why the hub faces "a thorny approval process."

Previously on EV Grieve:
Behold Civic Hall, the high-tech future of Union Square — and NYC

Speaking out against a 'Silicon Alley' in this neighborhood

P.C. Richard puts up the moving signs on 14th Street; more Tech Hub debate to come


Anonymous said...

This is so, so, so dumb. The whole point of tech is that it does not need a "hub." By the time this monstrosity is built, it will be obsolete but will also have spread destruction into three distinct neighborhoods.

Also, if I never hear the word "coworking." again it will not be too soon.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a possibly well-meaning but massively over-reaching project. IMO the city should stay in its lane and focus more on infrastructure and quality of life issues and leave this type of capitalist-minded shit to private enterprise.

Anonymous said...

So this will be a building full of co-working space & (basically) a vocational school? Wrong idea, wrong place.

This will be an albatross by the time it's done, but of course by then De Blahsio will be long gone from City Hall. Each mayor seems to need to leave some kind of horrible mess behind for us to live with. This is particularly egregious.

Donnie Moder said...

"Free tech training to undeserved population." Ok, why not put it in The Bronx at Hostos or Lehman? That is where the undeserved are located. So many educational institutions in this area, NYU, SVA, Baruch, New School, Cooper Union, Chelsea Tech. It is oversaturated.

Anonymous said...

Underserved. Not undeserved.

Anonymous said...

De Blasio needs to focus on affordable housing. He's using our neighborhood as a dumping ground. Shame on him.

MrNiceGuy said...

Other than the PC Richards that occupies the first floor (whose day is due, sadly. The bell tolls for all retailers, especially those in electronics), what are we losing here exactly? A large portion of the space will be used for philanthropic endeavors, great! There is a want and need for vocational training, especially in technology. Union Square is one of the most accessible areas of the entire city, so this can bring in people from all areas who want to start a career in tech. Who loses??

I'll gladly take this instead of yet-another-condoplex on 14th St. It's good for the city, and it doesn't hurt the neighborhood in any way.

Anonymous said...

Its a misuse of space and opportunity. Total waste of money too. WTF.

Anonymous said...

MrNice Guy - the economic overflow from students arriving each day (they eat, buy things, etc) would be better served spread out in our City, instead of being concentrated in an overvalued space like Union Square.

Anonymous said...

Agreed MrNiceGuy.

Anonymous said...

Hey Donnie Moder,

The Bronx is convenient for Bronx residents and Manhattan residents above 96th Street but totally, utterly inconvenient for residents of Staten Island, Queens, Brooklyn, and the rest of Manhattan.

Anonymous said...

I think the word that Donnie was looking for is undeserving.

Anonymous said...

Crazy giveaway of public land to one of deblasio's donor friends, with some gauze of "community benefits" that will expire if ever even realized and prime real estate and office market rents will exacerbate what is already happening without de Blasio's push for it. Mr affordable housing didn't see this public land as worthy of that? With a school on the ground floors, would have been great.