Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tech hub officially breaks ground on 14th Street

[Photo via @VladeckRA]

A handful of local elected officials and other community stakeholders gathered yesterday morning for the official groundbreaking at the future home of the Union Square Tech Training Center (aka tech hub) on 14th Street at Irving Plaza.

"The new Tech Training Center will be a hub for local residents to gain new skills, network and plug into the City's thriving tech scene," Vicki Been, deputy mayor for housing and economic development, said in prepared remarks. "We are proud to support this new institution and its goal of helping to create the most dynamic and diverse tech ecosystem in the country."

The project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL Development Services. The Union Square Tech Training Center includes Civic Hall, which will offer digital skills for low-income residents, as well as market-rate retail, office space and a food hall.

The hub, championed by Mayor de Blasio and initially announced in early 2017, passed through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process earlier in 2018, capped off by a unanimous City Council vote — led by local Councilmember Carlina Rivera — in August 2018. A rezoning was required to build the the structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.

The approval came despite the pleas of some residents, activists, small-business owners and community groups who had long expressed concern that the rezoning necessary for the project would spur out-of-scale development on surrounding blocks.

The Village Preservation, who was against the rezoning without stricter zoning protections for the immediate area, used the groundbreaking ceremony to help amplify their ongoing concerns. Nearly a dozen protestors gathered outside the private ceremony.

Here's part of a statement the Village Preservation issued yesterday:

"Rather than a cause for celebration, the groundbreaking ceremony for the 14th Street Tech Hub calls for serious examination of the corrupt process which led to its approval and the sweetheart deal it gave to several donors to the Mayor. The majority of this project is purely for-profit commercial office space being built on highly valuable public land for a song, when other bidders on the project would have included more public space and benefits and not required the commercial upzoning so opposed by the neighborhood. This sad saga is rife with broken commitments and promises made by both the Mayor and Councilmember Carlina Rivera regarding protections and mitigations for the surrounding neighborhood."

You can read their full report here.

The new building, on the former site of a P.C. Richard & Son, has an optimistic grand opening set for the fourth quarter of 2020, per the 14th @ Irving site.

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

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

City Council unanimously approves tech hub; some disappointment in lack of zoning protections

The conversation continues on the now-approved tech hub for 14th Street

P.C. Richard is gone on 14th Street; preservationists want answers about tech-hub commitments


Gojira said...

Well look at who's smack dab in the middle of the photo there! Why, it's none other than Benedict Rivera! #shameless #traitor

Anonymous said...

Wow, Just read the linked report. What a corrupt deal. The original proposal was smaller and did not need a rezoning and had more Civic space and none of the market rate office floors. And many other people presented proposals, like the New School and the Y ( and Kushner- blech). But RAL and Suffolk who donate to the Mayor before and after his presidential campaign are the ones who got the deal, and they only pay a little more for 21 floors than P.C. Richards paid for two floors. And the EDC have no paperwork to back up that selection! It needs to be investigated.

cmarrtyy said...

What a surprise that Death-of-the-City de Blasio and ReZone-Rivera broke their promise to the community. ONE PARTY RULE. ONE PARTY RULE.

Will said...

I can't believe the GVSHP is still fighting the Tech Hub, and with such a ridiculous argument. The community board asked for a job training center and the administration delivered––there's no conspiracy afoot. But next time, I hope they argue for their downzonings on the merits instead of needlessly holding community spaces hostage.

Anonymous said...

All the traitors lined up in one photo, proudly smiling over how happy they are to have a LOT of money as a result of them selling out our neighborhood. A pox on all their houses.

KT said...

On what planet is this a good deal? Reminder, that this is city owned land so in addition to absurdly low rent on a 21 story building, the developer won't have to pay property taxes.

"P.C. Richard and Sons paid $1.7 million a year in rent for a two-story building, while RAL would pay about $1.6 million annually for the first three years (and $2.3 million per year on the following five years) for the 21-story building."

Anonymous said...

@2:09pm: Oh, there's plenty of skulduggery and conspiracy afoot; you just are not privy to the details of the insider "deals" that were made, nor to the bank accounts of most of the participants.

If you think this "tech hub" happened out of the purity of intention and clean hearts of De Blasio, Rivera, and the rest of the "gang," then you must also believe the earth is flat. It's pretty clear to me that this "hub" is a dirty sweetheart deal through and through.

And unless you're one of the developers on this, you'll find that the cost of it comes out of your own pocket - as it will out of all of the taxpayers' pockets.

The only voices of sanity here - the only heroes - are the people protesting, and yes, that includes GVSHP!

Anonymous said...

LOL... #RezoneRivera! Up there with #MoscowMitch


The GVSHP report is scandalous! Each of those campaign contributions to Mayor de Blunt should be investigated.

Anonymous said...

People can say whatever they want and love the Tech Hub or not. But read the report, it is pretty clear. The proposal the donors submitted to the city is not the project that was approved. And there is less class training whatever space than was originally proposed. And it went up 7 stotys with pure market rate rentals. They will make 100s of millions of dollars. And why not pick any of the other very credible proposals? Did Carlina know any of this?

John Thacker said...

And it went up 7 stotys with pure market rate rentals. They will make 100s of millions of dollars. And why not pick any of the other very credible proposals

Seven stories of market rate rentals is seven stories of people finding a place to live and not driving up the prices elsewhere. When developers make money, they at least are building places for people to live. That's much better than people who make money by keeping tight zoning around and watch the values of their brownstones increase.

Calling people "traitors" and hating on people who want to move here, saying that the place is "full" -- those are the kind of comments that are Trump-like. By contrast, building a lot of housing and making 100s of millions of dollars are not things that Trump actually does, though he pretends to.

Anonymous said...

@10:09am: You are delusional - AND, I'd wager, you're also likely a developer!

Anonymous said...

Hey cmarrtyy think again if you think this deal doesn't go down in a Republican-ruled NYC.

So you're a Trumpster - figures.

Scuba Diva said...

At 5:25 PM, Anonymous said:

LOL... #RezoneRivera! Up there with #MoscowMitch

I don't know why, but I always had a bad feeling about this woman.

And I've also been told she "tried" to retain the vanished stops from the M14A and D bus routes, but just couldn't. #voteherout