Council member threatens to block $250M Union Square Tech Hub

Rosie Mendez seeks rezoning of University Place

Rosie Mendez and renderings of Union Square Tech Hub (Credit: Mayor's Office of New York City via DNAinfo)
Rosie Mendez and renderings of Union Square Tech Hub (Credit: Mayor's Office of New York City via DNAinfo)

Council member Rosie Mendez threatened to veto the planned Union Square Tech Hub building unless the surrounding neighborhood is rezoned to prevent further development.

“For years, I have advocated and requested a contextual rezoning of University Place,” Mendez told DNAinfo. “This proposed PC Richards Silicon Alley tech hub will impact residents in the area residing in the adjacent buildings, which are currently under great pressure by developers.”

RAL Development Services plans to build a 258,000-square-foot office building at 124 East 14th Street.  But the project will still have to go through the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process, meaning it requires City Council approval. The council generally defers to the local council member, so Mendez effectively has veto power over the project.

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“I do want to get additional protections on Third and Fourth avenues. I do not like this P.C. Richards site as being proposed right now and I would like to get some housing on there,” Mendez told DNAinfo. “I can make that negotiable — but University and Broadway have nothing, and I need to get that something.”

Neighborhood activists worry that the project could spark more high-rise development in the area, with office developments already sprouting at 809 Broadway, 827 Broadway as well as Billy Macklowe’s Bowlmor Lane condo conversion on University Place. “The tech hub is really going to be the do-or-die for this neighborhood,” Andrew Berman of the Greenwich Village Society of Historic Preservation told DNAinfo.

RAL first announced the $250 million project in 2016. It is set to include flexible workspace for startups and a tech training center. [DNAinfo]Konrad Putzier