City Council Zoning Committee Approves ‘Union Square Tech Hub’ Without Area Protections
The controversial upzoning of a public site at 120 East 14th Street to accommodate the Union Square Tech Hub is one step closer to happening. If passed by the full City Council next week, a 23-story building dedicated to co-working space, tech training, and offices will rise atop the former P.C. Richard & Son.
However, preservationists led by the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation are crying foul at the proposal, as it does not include any zoning protections for the surrounding neighborhood. Meaning, a wall of glass – what opponents call the “Silicon Alley” – likely awaits the Union Square environs.
Below is more from the GVSHP press release:
Today the City Council’s Zoning Subcommittee voted to approve the Mayor’s proposed upzoning of a publicly-owned site at 120 East 14th Street (4th Avenue) to accommodate a planned 23-story “Tech Hub,” without the neighborhood protections which by far the majority of those who testified at the Council called for. Particularly disappointingly, Councilmember Carlina Rivera, who represents the area, voted for the rezoning, even though she publicly pledged when she ran for City Council last year that she would condition her vote for the Tech Hub on the Mayor providing such protections, as her predecessor Rosie Mendez had.
The Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation and multiple affordable housing, small business, and local community groups called for the protections for the surrounding neighborhoods as a component of the plan. Such zoning or landmark protections are necessary to ensure that out-of-character and out-of-scale commercial development are not further catalyzed in the surrounding communities by the Tech Hub, as has already been occurring since the announcement of the proposal.
The proposed rezoning for the Tech Hub still requires City Council approval. The full Council will vote on the rezoning on August 8th.
“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,” said Andrew Berman, Executive Director of the Greenwich Village Society for Historic Preservation.