Showing posts with label Union Square Tech Training Center. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Union Square Tech Training Center. Show all posts

Monday, February 10, 2020

Another look at the incoming tech hub



Quick update on progress at the tech hub (aka Zero Irving) on 14th Street between Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue.

Late last week workers started on the deck for the third level of what will be a 21-floor building...



Workers also completed installation of the sidewalk bridge along 14th Street to move pedestrians inside the building footprint ...



One full lane of 14th Street has now been blocked off outside the site for construction work. In July 2018, during a televised hearing, the reps for the developer promised that all demolition and construction work would be done within the bounds of the property. That obviously isn't happening.

The building, developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL Development Services, will feature 14 floors of market-rate office space as well as "a technology training center and incubator, co-working spaces, state-of-the-art event space, and street level food hall on the seven floors beneath," per the Zero Irving announcement issued last October.

The project, 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 new building, on the former site of a P.C. Richard & Son, has a completion date for the spring of 2021, per the renderings onsite.

Previously on EV Grieve:
First sign of the tech hub — aka Zero Irving — above ground on 14th Street

Monday, February 3, 2020

First sign of the tech hub — aka Zero Irving — above ground on 14th Street



Foundation work started last August here on 14th Street at Irving Place ... at the future home of the recently rebranded tech hub.

As you can see, the structure — now known as Zero Irving — is rising above the street level ...



The building, developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL Development Services, will top out at 21 floors... featuring Civic Hall, which will offer digital skills for low-income residents, as well as market-rate retail, office space and a food hall.

RAL announced the rebranding back in October. In the news release, the developers describe this as being "in the epicenter of Midtown South."

"This is exactly what we said about this plan, and what we feared — it’s intended to transform our neighborhoods into Midtown South," Andrew Berman, executive director of Village Preservation, told Curbed in a statement back in October. "The zero in 'ZERO IRVING' represents what neighbors and the public got out of this deal, while those who donated generously to the Mayor reap 100 percent of the benefits."



In recent weeks, several EVG readers have noted that the active work site — which sees a steady stream of concrete trucks running in and out of the site — has encroached further onto 14th Street...





In July 2018, during a televised hearing, the reps for the developer promised that all demolition and construction work would be done within the bounds of the property.

The project, 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.

These concerns have not abated.

Back in the fall, the city released its plan to add a requirement that new hotels in Greenwich Village and the East Village south of Union Square must receive a special permit from the City Planning Commission and City Council in order to be built. Critics of the plan reportedly contend that this may instead speed up the development of office buildings in the neighborhood. The City Planning Commission is expected to sign off on the plan in the weeks ahead before it moves to City Council.

The new building, on the former site of a P.C. Richard & Son, has a completion date for the spring of 2021, per the renderings onsite.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Excavation commences at the future tech hub; plywood renderings attract commentary



Work is in the early stages in the pit here on 14th Street at Irving Place ... at the future home of the Union Square Tech Training Center (aka tech hub).

The official renderings are now on the plywood...



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.

And the renderings, which arrived last week, have already attracted commentary from someone who is unhappy about the finances of the project...





The new building, on the former site of a P.C. Richard & Son, now has a completion date for the spring of 2021, per the plywood rendering. The official groundbreaking occurred on Aug. 5.

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

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

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

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



The former P.C. Richard and Son complex on 14th Street at Irving Place has been KO'd ...



Workers have mostly cleared the site for the eventual construction of the 22-story Union Square Tech Training Center (aka tech hub). Foundation work is expected soon.

While there's noticeable progress on this new-building front, the Village Preservation is left wondering what happened to the commitments that were made last summer as part of the tech hub approval "that have been broken or not been met."

The group recently sent a letter (copy here) to Mayor de Blasio and local City Councilmember Carlina Rivera.

Per that letter: "It is deeply disturbing to see that a full year after the approval, while the developer has moved full steam ahead with their project, there has been no movement whatsoever on any of these incredibly modest protections which were promised."

Here's more via the Village Preservation website:

On the occasion of a year having passed since the City Planning Commission approved the upzoning for the 14th Street Tech Hub, we pointed out that the sole zoning protection for the impacted neighborhood promised by Councilmember Rivera and the City – the imposition of a requirement of a special permit for new hotels in the 3rd and 4th Avenue corridors — has not been implemented or even drafted, nor had a promised “tenant protection campaign” for area residents which was to include “community-wide forums” and “door-knocking campaigns.”

The group also took issue with the blocking of pedestrian and vehicular traffic outside the site.

We further pointed out that the developer explicitly committed that all demolition and construction work would be done within the bounds of the property and that neither the sidewalk on 14th Street nor the roadbed would be encroached upon.

Instead, with City permission, the developer has encroached upon the sidewalk and two of three lanes of eastbound traffic, forcing pedestrians waiting for the bus to stand in the street, and completely blocking the single remaining lane of eastbound traffic when MTA buses stop to pick up and let off passengers in front of the tech hub site (where a bus stop is located).



Curbed has more on the story here, including comments from Rivera's office and the Department of City Planning, who says "it is working to address neighborhood concerns raised by the Council member and is combing through what a special hotel permit would entail for the area."

A spokesperson for de Blasio told Gothamist last week that the administration was "actively working to address the concerns respect to future development as well as preservation of existing housing in the Union Square South area."

The project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL. 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 in August. A rezoning was required to build the the structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.

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

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

Report: Preservationists want probe of the tech hub deal on 14th Street

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Future tech hub demo watch



EVG regular Pinch passes along word that the former PC Richard & Son on 14th Street appears to be fully gutted ...



Per the 14th @ Irving website, here's what to expect on site this week:

[T]he team is anticipated to continue with selective hand demolition on the interior and exterior of the building ... the demolition team will start major hand demolition of the building from the east and west elevation working toward the middle of the building. This will include concrete chopping and torching the metal decks.

As you know, this is the future site of the 22-story Union Square Tech Training Center (aka tech hub) here at Irving Place. Our previous post has the back story.

Friday, May 17, 2019

Prepping the former P.C. Richard & Son for demolition on 14th Street



Workers started prepping the former P.C. Richard & Son two-story compound on 14th Street at Irving Place yesterday for demolition (thanks for the photo Pinch!) ... clearing the site for the eventual construction of the 22-story Union Square Tech Training Center (aka tech hub).

The project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL. 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.


[Image via Davis Brody Bond]

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 in August. A rezoning was required to build the the structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.

The 14th @ Irving website lists a grand opening in the fourth quarter of 2020, though that timeline is already slightly off schedule — construction was expected to start in the first quarter of this year.

The Village Preservation (GVSHP) recently called for a probe of the "sweetheart deal" that RAL Development Services, the developer of the tech hub, received here.

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

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

Report: Preservationists want probe of the tech hub deal on 14th Street

Monday, May 6, 2019

Report: Preservationists want probe of the tech hub deal on 14th Street


[Photo from Saturday]

The Village Preservation (GVSHP) is calling for a probe of the "sweetheart deal" that the developer of the tech hub received on 14th Street.

As the Daily News first reported yesterday, the GVSHP explored the paperwork behind the project, pointing out that the developer, RAL Development Services, will pay $1.6 million a year for the first five years ... then $2.3 million annually in the five years after that while the previous tenant, P.C. Richard & Son, paid $1.7 million in annual rent for the two-story building.

GVSHP Executive Director Andrew Berman told this to the News:

"It seems highly suspect that the developer of a 21-story office tower is paying barely more than the operator of a 2-story appliance and electronics store for use of this incredibly valuable land. This is and has been from the beginning a sweetheart deal for political allies of and donors to the mayor. There was absolutely no transparency to the process by which RAL were chosen to get this incredibly valuable piece of public land for a song."

And...

Berman pointed to a lack of any documented evaluations of bids on the development deal, which is supported by the results of Freedom of Information requests made by his group to the city’s Economic Development Corporation. In response to a request for notes, ratings or a scoring sheet regarding the selection of RAL over several other applicants, EDC responded that it located "no responsive records."

The GVSHP also found through campaign finance records that Andrew Rasiej, CEO of Civic Hall — RAL’s partner in the development — donated at least $8,000 to Mayor de Blasio since 2004. Meanwhile, RAL was also supportive of de Blasio's now-defunct nonprofit Campaign for One New York, giving at least $10,000 in 2015, as the News reported.

And the city's response? "The best applicant was chosen," Jane Meyer, a spokesperson for the Mayor, told the News, adding that the donations had nothing to do with RAL's selection.

As for more background, it took nearly nine months for the proposed tech hub — now called the Union Square Tech Training Center — to wind through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, culminating with the City Council's OK last August. (A rezoning was required to build the the 22-story structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.)

The Department of Buildings approved the permits for the new structure on Feb. 26, just three months after they were first filed.

Construction work was expected to start in this first quarter of 2019, per the 14th @ Irving website. But first, the former P.C. Richard & Son outpost was to be demolished. (The 14th @ Irving website now states that "site mobilization and protection" will start today.)

The project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL. 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.

Mayor de Blasio first unveiled the renderings publicly in February 2017.

I asked Berman what he hopes the next steps are after the disclosure in the News yesterday.

"My hope is that there would be some sort of review of the process by which this bidder was chosen, whether or not it was based on the merits and in the best interests of the people of the City of New York," he said in an email.

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

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

1st signs for the future tech hub arrive on 14th Street; more details emerge about 14th @ Irving

New building permits pre-filed for the (slightly larger) tech hub on Union Square

City OKs new building permits for mayor's tech hub on 14th Street

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

City OKs new building permits for mayor's tech hub on 14th Street


[EVG photo from last month]

It took nearly nine months for the proposed tech hub — now called the Union Square Tech Training Center — on 14th Street at Irving Place to wind through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure, culminating with the City Council's OK last August. (A rezoning was required to build the the 22-story structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.)

And it took far less time for the Department of Building's (DOB) to approve the new building permits for the 22-floor building. DOB records show that the city signed off on the project yesterday.



The new building permits were just filed this past Nov. 19. (For a comparison, new building permits for the 9-story development planned for the former Sunshine Cinema on East Houston are still waiting for approval. Permits were first filed in March 2018, per city records.)

Work is expected to start in this first quarter of 2019, per the 14th @ Irving website. But first, the former P.C. Richard & Son outpost needs to be demolished.

As previously reported, 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.

Mayor de Blasio first unveiled the renderings publicly in February 2017.


[Image via Davis Brody Bond]

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

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

1st signs for the future tech hub arrive on 14th Street; more details emerge about 14th @ Irving

New building permits pre-filed for the (slightly larger) tech hub on Union Square

Monday, January 14, 2019

Permits filed to demolish former P.C. Richard & Son property to make way for the tech hub



Reps for RAL Development Services filed permits with the city back on Friday to demolish the former P.C. Richard & Son store on 14th Street at Irving Place.

This is just a formality as work is expected to start in the first quarter of 2019 on the tech hub, aka 14th @ Irving. (The new building permits were filed in November. That is still awaiting approval.)

As previously reported, the project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and RAL Development Services. The 240,000-square-foot building includes Civic Hall, which will offer tech training for low-income residents, as well as market-rate retail, office space and a food hall.

The hub, 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 in August. A rezoning was required to build the the 21-story (or 22?) structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.


[Image via Davis Brody Bond]

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

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

1st signs for the future tech hub arrive on 14th Street; more details emerge about 14th @ Irving

New building permits pre-filed for the (slightly larger) tech hub on Union Square

Monday, November 19, 2018

New building permits pre-filed for the (slightly larger) tech hub on Union Square



The first permit was filed last Thursday for the new building that will house the Union Square Tech Training Center (aka the tech hub and 14th @ Irving).

Renderings for the tech hub arrived at the former P.C. Richard & Son property on 14th Street at Irving Place earlier this month. Previous reports on the building, including the city's own news release, listed the 258,000 square-foot project at 21 floors.

However, the permit on file with the DOB lists 22 floors and 309,000 square feet...



Not sure what accounts for the discrepancy. The Schedule A on the permit shows that the 22nd floor is for elevator machinery rooms, the boiler room and the generator switchboard room.

Meanwhile, there's nothing on file yet with the DOB about demolishing the existing building.

As previously reported, the project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and developer RAL Development Service. The building includes Civic Hall, which will offer tech training for low-income residents, as well as market-rate retail, office space and a food hall.


[Image via Davis Brody Bond]

The hub, initially announced in early 2017, passed through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) earlier this year, capped off by a unanimous City Council vote in August. A rezoning was required to build the the 2122-story structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.

For months, some residents, activists, small-business owners and community groups expressed concern that the rezoning necessary for the project would spur out-of-scale development on surrounding blocks. (You can read more about what transpired in the links below.)

The 14th @ Irving website states that construction will start in the first quarter of 2019, with the building opening in the fourth quarter of 2020.

Construction on an already-congested thoroughfare will coincide with the L-train closure starting in April 2019, when 14th Street is expected to serve as a (mostly) car free busway for displaced subway commuters.

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

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

1st signs for the future tech hub arrive on 14th Street; more details emerge about 14th @ Irving

Monday, November 5, 2018

1st signs for the future tech hub arrive on 14th Street; more details emerge about 14th @ Irving



Renderings for the incoming Union Square Tech Training Center now adorn the former P.C. Richard & Son property on 14th Street at Irving Place, site of the mayor's so-called tech hub.



The renderings here show that the 21-story building — "a community and collaborative work and event center" — is going by 14th @ Irving, a name that was first introduced in December 2016 though not always mentioned in more recent news accounts on the project.





The 14th @ Irving website has details on what to expect here, like the Food Hall:

The Food Hall will enhance the street life and activate the mid-block area on 14th Street between 3rd and 4th avenues. Food and other vendors will provide amenities to the local community and the building tenants. 25% of all booths will be reserved for first time, local entrepreneurs and new businesses. The event space within the building will also provide catering opportunities to help support these new businesses while the digital skills training center will provide access to training to both vendors and employees.

As previously reported, the project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and developer RAL Development Service. The 240,000-square-foot building includes Civic Hall, which will offer tech training for low-income residents, as well as market-rate retail and office space.



The hub, initially announced in early 2017, passed through the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Process (ULURP) earlier this year, capped off by a unanimous City Council vote in August. A rezoning was required to build the the 21-story structure, which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows.

For months, some residents, activists, small-business owners and community groups expressed concern that the rezoning necessary for the project would spur out-of-scale development on surrounding blocks. (You can read more about what transpired in the links below.)

The 14th @ Irving website states that construction will start in the first quarter of 2019, with the building opening in the fourth quarter of 2020. To date, there aren't any permits filed for the address at the DOB website.


[Image via Davis Brody Bond]

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

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

Thursday, August 16, 2018

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


[Rendering via NYCEDC]

The conversation/fallout continues from last week's City Council approval of the the mayor's plan for the Union Square Tech Training Center (aka tech hub) at the former P.C. Richard site on 14th Street at Irving Place.

The unanimous approval includes the rezoning required to build the the 21-story tech hub — which is larger than what current commercial zoning allows. For months, some residents, activists, small-business owners and community groups expressed concern that the rezoning necessary for the project would spur out-of-scale development on surrounding blocks.

The project is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and developer RAL Development Service. The 240,000-square-foot building includes Civic Hall, which will offer tech training for low-income residents, as well as market-rate retail and office space.

The support of local District 2 City Council member Carlina Rivera was key to making the tech hub a go, as Crain's other other media outlets noted.

Rivera had reportedly promised to seek a separate rezoning for the surrounding area during her campaign last year to establish height limits and, in some cases, cap commercial square footage in exchange for her support of the hub.

In voting yes on the project, Rivera said the tech hub would bring "true community benefits, tech education, and workforce development services that will finally give women, people of color, and low-income New Yorkers access to an industry that has unfairly kept them out for far too long."

This link goes to the letter that Rivera shared following the vote.

Meanwhile, the Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation (GVSHP), which had lobbied for protections for the surrounding neighborhood as a component of the tech-hub plan, released this statement from executive director Andrew Berman critical of Rivera's yes vote without any substantial zoning limitations.

The GVSHP and other critics (the Met Council on Housing, the Historic Districts Council, the Lower East Side Preservation Initiative, the Bowery Alliance of Neighbors and the East Village Community Coalition were among the groups to express concern during the approval process) have said that the tech hub will provide important and valuable training services for low-income residents and small businesses starting out. However, Berman has pointed out that the training facilities could have fit in a smaller building on the site, which wouldn't require any commercial upzoning that only serves the mayor's real-estate interests.

On Monday, Rivera released a letter to Marisa Lago, the director of NYC's Department of Planning, calling on that agency to establish a special permit for hotel developments south of Union Square from Third Avenue to University Place. The permit would require an additional site-specific review process for extra time to evaluate a given project's impact on the local community, as Patch reported. (The Villager published a copy of Rivera's letter here.)

Berman quickly issued a rebuttal, stating, in part:

The requirement of a special permit for hotels will have little to no effect on the development problems the Tech Hub will exacerbate. First, any hotel can still be built with the approval of the City Council. Second, this really only applies to a portion of the affected area, since the zoning for about half the area already prohibits or restricts hotels. Third, hotels are only one of many forms of bad development this area is experiencing which this measure will not address, such as office buildings and high-rise condos, as well as doing nothing about affordable housing which the community rezoning plan Rivera promised to hold out for would have.

The GVSHP also created a table, comparing the neighborhood protections that were promised to accompany the tech hub, and those that were actually delivered. (For more detailed analysis, follow this link.)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

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



City Council yesterday unanimously approved the mayor's plan for the 21-story Union Square Tech Training Center at the former P.C. Richard site on 14th Street at Irving Place.

This was the last stop in the approval process for the project, which is being developed jointly by the city’s Economic Development Corp. and developer RAL Development Service. The 240,000-square-foot building will feature Civic Hall, which will offer tech training for low-income residents, as well as market-rate retail and office space. (Last week, Microsoft reportedly provided a $100,000 grant for the planning and development of the Tech Training Center.)

The de Blasio administration proposed the so-called tech hub as part of the mayor's "New York Works" initiative, which they believe will create up to 600 jobs.

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

District 2 City Council member Carlina Rivera emerged as a pivotal player in the tech-hub drama. As Crain's reported yesterday:

During her campaign, Rivera had promised to seek a separate rezoning for the surrounding neighborhood to establish height limits and, in some cases, cap commercial square footage in exchange for her support of the hub. The administration had balked at the idea of curtailing office space, and a compromise was expected to take the form of landmarking some buildings and requiring special permits for new hotel development.

In a statement to amNY, Rivera said: "I am voting yes today for a tech hub that will bring true community benefits, tech education, and workforce development services that will finally give women, people of color, and low-income New Yorkers access to an industry that has unfairly kept them out for far too long." (See below for a statement that Rivera sent her constituents yesterday afternoon.)

The Greenwich Village Society for Historical Preservation, which had lobbied for protections for the surrounding neighborhood as a component of the tech-hub plan, released this statement from executive director Andrew Berman:

The City Council's deal approves the Mayor’s Tech Hub with just a fraction of a fraction of the protections the surrounding neighborhood needs and called for, and which Council member Rivera promised to condition her vote upon. The approval of the Tech Hub will accelerate the transformation of the adjacent Greenwich Village and East Village neighborhoods into an extension of ‘Midtown South’ and ‘Silicon Alley,’ which many developers and real estate interests have already begun to call them. It’s a shame that the Mayor is so invested in protecting his real-estate donor friends that he would not consider real but reasonable zoning protections for the area that would have prevented this kind of unnecessary development, and encouraged residential development that includes affordable housing.

Here's reaction to the vote via Twitter...







And ...






And here's Rivera's letter — this link goes to the full version, which outlines her rationale for the yes vote...


Meanwhile, an EVG reader shared this photo from Tuesday... the reader reported that several of these flyers were posted near the 6 stop at Astor Place...

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

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Report: Proposed tech hub appears 'in question' without zoning protections

A number of organizations and local residents both for and against the proposed tech hub on 14th Street made their case earlier today during an hours-long public hearing in front of a City Council subcommittee.

You can find nice recaps at The Lo-Down ... Curbed ... and amNY.

There's support for the hub's training facility that would provide skills to local low-income residents. However, some local residents and preservation groups have called for a larger rezoning of the area to ensure that the proposed 21-story Union Square Tech Training Center doesn’t prompt massive development on Third Avenue and Fourth Avenue that would potentially displace tenants and small businesses.

District 2 City Council member Carlina Rivera holds the crucial vote for the zoning changes to make the project a go at the site of the former PC Richard complex on 14th Street at Irving Place. During her election campaign last year she indicated that she'd sign off on the tech hub only if the city agreed to downzone the surrounding area.

As the Lo-Down reported, Rivera said in her introductory remarks that she considers it part of her mission to create good jobs for residents in her district. However: "the vision for this area must include protections from continued out-of-scale and financially out-of-reach development."

And later...


The final City Council vote will be later this summer.

Updated 7/11

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

We’re pleased to continue through the ULURP process with the broad support of the community and elected officials. We are committed to making the 124 East 14th Street Tech Training Center a reality; an innovative and inclusive project that will stimulate local business growth and community interaction, and promote the next generation of companies, not for profit organizations, and industries. We will continue to work with community representatives and local officials in making sure the project responds to the community’s needs and look forward to the Tech Training Center’s addition to the iconic Lower Manhattan area.

Image via @GVSHP

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

Monday, July 9, 2018

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

Tomorrow morning at 9:30, City Council is holding its only public hearing on the rezoning for Mayor de Blasio's proposed 14th Street Tech Hub.

The upzoning is necessary to allow for a 21-floor building — called the Union Square Tech Training Center — to rise on the current site of the former PC Richard complex on 14th Street at Irving Place.

The approval process tour — the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) — has already received endorsements from the City Planning Commission, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and Community Board 3, who included an amendment in their resolution calling for zoning protection. (Note: Brewer’s recommendation also comes with a set of conditions. Read her report here.)

As previously reported, that zoning protection is the key for some concerned area residents and preservationists, who fear overdevelopment south of Union Square along Broadway, University Place and Fourth Avenue.

District 2 City Council member Carlina Rivera said during her election campaign last year that she'd sign off on the project only if the city agrees to downzone the surrounding area. As Crain's noted: "Because the council traditionally defers to the wishes of local members, her vote is crucial."

And more from Crain's, in an article published Friday:

"[Rivera] has been negotiating with the mayor's office throughout the process," a spokesman said. "She's going to be working on securing zoning protections that preserve affordable housing and the character of the neighborhood."

And...

"Our conversation with council member Rivera has been productive," an EDC spokesman said in a statement. "We look forward to continuing to gather feedback from her, community stakeholders, and the City Council subcommittee as we present on this important project that seeks to diversify the city's tech sector."

Plans for the 240,000-square-foot Tech Training Center include educational facilities, market-rate office space and a food hall. Read more about the project via the city's Economic Development Corporation here.

Meanwhile, the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation makes their case for zoning protections here.

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