Public Approval Process Underway for New Union Square Tech Training Center
City review and public discussion surrounding the $250 million development of the 240,000 square-foot Union Square Tech Training Center project at 120 East 14th Street has officially begun. Earlier this month, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), RAL, and Civic Hall announced the start of the Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) process, which allows key participants to publicly review changes to the property’s specifications, zoning, and permitting. Community Board 3 recently unanimously approved the proposed zoning amendments at a Full Board meeting held on February 27. For full details and to view a recording of the meeting, visit Community Board 3's website.
Announced by Mayor de Blasio last year, the 21-story Tech Training Center will bring together a technology training center, classrooms, offices, start-up co-working spaces, ground-floor retail and food hall, and a civic innovation center all under one roof. Projected to attract 600 high-wage jobs in the technology and digital media fields, the Tech Training Center will enable New Yorkers to affordably gain digital skills training to enter the 21st century workforce, potentially even earning jobs from businesses housed in the Tech Training Center.
In growing the city’s economy, James Patchett, President and CEO of NYCEDC, said “This project will connect young people in surrounding communities with the skills they need to participate in the modern economy. We are excited to begin the public approval process and look forward to finding even more ways for community members to benefit from this great project."
Civic Hall, an innovation center for the tech industry in New York City and one of the Tech Training Center’s development partners, plans to create an inclusive space servicing a diverse range of constituents and New Yorkers. Civic Hall has established partnerships with several NYC organizations, including Per Scholas, Education Alliance, FEDCAP, the Computer Science Foundation of New York, AccessCode, MOUSE.org, and General Assembly. They plan to offer scholarships for digital training to develop and grow the abilities of young adults, innovators, and civic leaders across New York City. Additionally, any for-profit workforce development partners will need to provide scholarships for a minimum of 20% of their enrollment.
Alan van Capelle, President and CEO of Educational Alliance, stated that “Business and tech industries have long struggled to align their workforces with the demographics of the cities where they’re headquartered. Now, it’s time for us to take action and to do that, we need to pair industry interventions with community-driven solutions.”
To support the wider community surrounding the Tech Training Center, Civic Hall agreed to host at least 32 events annually at significantly reduced rates where community groups and tech professionals can network, meet, and connect to collaboratively develop creative solutions for public interest issues and the civic realm. Additionally, 25% of booths in the food hall will be reserved for first-time, local food entrepreneurs. With emphasis on new and start-up businesses, tenants of the retail space cannot have another location within 0.5 mile of the Tech Training Center and retail tenants cannot have more than five existing locations in Manhattan.
"The Union Square Partnership looks forward to the continued development of the tech job training center," said Jennifer E. Falk, Executive Director of the Union Square Partnership. "Union Square serves as the epicenter of New York's growing tech scene, and we are proud to support this inclusive center that will create a multi-level ecosystem and connect New Yorkers to jobs with growing organizations."
With Community Board 3's approval, the tech training center zoning resolution will now go before the Manhattan Borough President, City Planning Commission, and ultimately City Council for additional approvals as part of the ULURP process. Union Square Partnership will continue to share updates on the Tech Training Center project and the ULURP process as it moves forward in the coming months.