Friday, August 3, 2018

Report: City Council committee approves tech hub for Union Square; no zoning protections for now

[Tech hub endering via RAL Development]

The City Council Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises yesterday unanimously approved the mayor's proposed 21-story tech hub for the former P.C. Richard property on 14th Street at Irving Place, according to published reports.

This was the second-to-last stop in the months-long approval process tour — the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) — for the Union Square Tech Training Center, which would include educational facilities, with scholarships "to make the tech industry more accessible to a wide range of New Yorkers."

The 240,000-square-foot building would also include space for fledgling companies, market-rate offices "to attract established, industry-leading corporations to the ecosystem" and a food hall, per a release from the city's Economic Development Corporation, which is lobbying for the tech hub

As previously reported, a number of residents, activists, small-business owners and community groups are concerned that the rezoning necessary for the project would spur out-of-scale development on surrounding blocks.

District 2 City Council member Carlina Rivera, who holds the crucial vote for the zoning changes to make the project a go, has said that she'd sign off on the tech hub only if the city agreed to downzone the surrounding area. (She threatened a no vote during a Council subcommittee hearing last month, as the Lo-Down reported.)

However, yesterday, Rivera voted for the rezoning without any protections.

According to Crain's:

Rivera indicated that while she voted yes at the committee level, she is still working on securing some sort of rezoning or study for the surrounding neighborhood.

"I am doing this so that I can continue negotiations with the mayor's office toward the possibility of reaching a deal that would satisfy all impacted communities," she said before giving the thumbs up. Her district includes the project site, so she expects her colleagues to follow her lead, per council tradition.

Her move disappointed and angered some local residents, who shared their thoughts on Twitter...

There were positive reactions as well...

Meanwhile, here's more reaction from yesterday's vote. From Andrew Berman, executive director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation:

It is deeply disappointing that the Council would approve this rezoning without anything even remotely resembling the protections for the surrounding neighborhood that had been under discussion. This will turn Greenwich Village and the East Village into extensions of Silicon Alley and Midtown South, with more out-of-scale and out-of-character tech office buildings and condo high-rises going up in the area.

Councilmember Rivera publicly pledged during her campaign that she would not vote for the Tech Hub without the comprehensive neighborhood protections which have been under discussion for more than two years. This falls very far short of that pledge she made to her constituents.

RAL Development Services, who's partnering with the city on the project, released this statement:

[Yesterday's] vote is an important step forward for the innovative and inclusive Tech Training Center at 124 East 14th Street. We are dedicated to developing a new property model for inclusive community and economic impact, embracing and interacting with its local community and in permanent support of emerging and existing local entrepreneurs and industries.

We look forward to continuing our dialog with the community and local officials, working together to make sure the Tech Training Center responds to the community’s needs and becomes a vibrant addition to the iconic Union Square area in Lower Manhattan.

The final City Council vote will take place on Wednesday.

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

Preservationists: City schedules next public hearing on tech hub without any public notice

City Council's lone public hearing on the 14th Street tech hub is tomorrow


fierce prey said...

Someone got to her $$$$$$$$$$$$$

Respect Brooklyn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.

The construction will pair well with the L train shutdown.

DrGecko said...

Let's give the other side everything they want so we can continue to negotiate.

The national Democrats are like that. I expected better from Carlina Rivera, but f&ck me.

cmarrtyy said...

The reason why the city is being ripped apart by the real estate industry is ONE PARTY RULE. There is little or no effective opposition coming from people in power. Political outsiders have little or no chance to affect change/policy. And we have even less of a chance when we are betrayed by our local elected reps. CARLINA RIVERA is a traitor. She was elected by the EV but she works for the real estate industry and Mayor Bill.

Someone posted that the voters will remember next election. No they won't. No they won't. Let's get rid of her now. RECALL! RECALL!! RECALL!!!

dmbream said...

There are currently 208 co-working spaces in the greater NYC area per:

Map features 206 spaces — Last updated July 29, 2018

And just noticed that list does not include dozens more Regus offices in the area.

What need does this serve? The map is a little bare in the E 14th St corridor, fine, but that's because it is (or was...) predominantly a residential area. People can't walk to work in Union Square?