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New looks at Union Square’s forthcoming city-backed tech hub

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The Union Square Tech Hub will be an all-in-one center for innovation, according to the city

Renderings via NYCEDC

Say goodbye to Union Square’s old P.C. Richard & Son, and hello to the city’s next big epicenter for tech companies. Mayor de Blasio today announced more details for the Union Square Tech Hub, the 258,000-square-foot building that will eventually replace the old appliance store. “This new hub will be the front-door for tech in New York City,” De Blasio said in a statement. “People searching for jobs, training or the resources to start a company will have a place to come to connect and get support.”

Plans for a tech-focused center on this particular site have been in the works since at least 2015, when the New York City Economic Development Corporation issued an RFP for the city-owned parcel of land at 124 East 14th Street. At the end of 2016, RAL Development (which is also behind the contested housing at Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6, among other projects) won the bid to redevelop the space, and the $250 million project will be designed by Davis Brody Bond.

New renderings show what the site could look like when it’s completed: The anchor tenant will be Civic Hall, a coworking space (currently headquartered in Flatiron) that’s described as “a collaborative work and event space advancing the use of technology for the public good.” Some of the other partners that have already signed on for space within the new building include General Assembly, Code to Work, New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education, and Coalition for Queens, signaling that the hub will be a resource not just for the millennials that are typically seen as the backbone of the tech workforce, but for a wide array of New Yorkers.

Other elements of the building include flexible workspaces for smaller companies (along with shorter leases), a training center and classrooms, and a food hall. It’s expected to create around 600 jobs, not counting the construction jobs that will come from building out the new hub.

Though there are other so-called tech centers in the city right now—Brooklyn’s Dumbo Heights, developed by Kushner Cos., LIVWRK, and RFR Realty, and home to Etsy and other start-ups, is just one—the Union Square development is the first to bill itself as a true hub: a training center, coworking space, meeting point, and office, all in one. “No other city in the nation has anything like it,” De Blasio said in a statement. “It represents this City’s commitment to a strong and inclusive tech ecosystem.”