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Mayor de Blasio Unveils New Design and Programs Coming to Union Square Tech Hub

February 17, 2017

Hub will support over 600 jobs in tech ecosystem; provide a gateway to tech jobs for thousands of New Yorkers

Space Will Be New Home for Civic Hall, Including Digital Training Hub for 21st Century Jobs and Flexible Workspace for Growing Startups

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio met with tech workers at AppNexus today to unveil the latest designs and details for the new Union Square Tech Hub, a City-backed project to provide space for tech worker training, education, start-ups and convening.

See renderings of the new hub here:

The hub itself will generate 600 good paying jobs, and serve as a new home for Civic Hall that will include a digital job training facility for all New Yorkers, and modern, flexible workspaces designed to meet the unique needs of early-stage startups in New York’s vibrant innovation economy.

As part of his 2017 State of the City address, Mayor de Blasio is committing to spurring the creation of 100,000 good-paying jobs, including these innovation jobs, within the next decade – and including adding 40,000 jobs in the next four years.

“This new hub will be the front-door for tech in New York City. People searching for jobs, training or the resources to start a company will have a place to come to connect and get support. No other city in the nation has anything like it. It represents this City’s commitment to a strong and inclusive tech ecosystem,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“I am thrilled we're seizing this opportunity to create a new technology nexus in Manhattan," said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. "By anchoring the tech and public policy nonprofit Civic Hall, digital job training, and leasing flexible-term office space for tech startups in this project, we are creating the opportunity for the kind of cross-pollination that will produce innovation and jobs for business, government, and everyday New Yorkers-- not to mention the construction work to build it! Kudos to Mayor de Blasio for understanding the need, and filling it.”

“This project will set a new standard for the booming creative economy around Union Square,” said Robert A. Levine, President & CEO of RAL Development Services. “From the outset, we identified Civic Hall as the perfect anchor for this project, and we’ve built a comprehensive, cutting-edge program around their strong track record in the industry. So many promising young companies train their sights on the Union Square area and this project will provide them with the leg up they need to flourish in the neighborhood. At the same time, we're incorporating traditional and flexible office spaces that will provide tech companies with direct access to a steady pipeline of potential future employees. We're honored to work with the de Blasio administration and the EDC team on this important jobs initiative for New York City.”

“We are thrilled to be the anchor tenant of a project that solidifies The City of New York's commitment to making sure every New Yorker has access to 21st Century skills and jobs,” said Andrew Rasiej, Founder and CEO of Civic Hall. “When complete, the facility will not only produce thousands of new digitally trained workers to support the city’s fast growing technology ecosystem, but will also act as a model for how technology can support economic and civic renewal.”

“We’re working to ensure tech businesses can grow and create jobs, and New Yorkers can get the skills they need to access those jobs. This new innovation hub at Union Square offers both – with space for more than 600 good jobs at growing companies, and affordable job training for all New Yorkers. It will be a new beating heart for the innovation community right in the heart of our city,” said James Patchett, President and CEO of NYCEDC.

“The Union Square tech hub is another clear signal to the tech community across the country and around the world that New York City is committed to the next generation of digital and technology innovation,” said New York City Chief Digital Officer Sree Sreenivasan. “Come build here, grow here, thrive here.”

“It's exciting to see a new project along the 14th Street corridor in my Senate District that will help train New Yorkers for the technology jobs of the future and serve as an incubation space for early-stage start-ups,” said State Senator Brad Hoylman. “I'm grateful to the de Blasio Administration for creating employment opportunities and expanding NYC's competitiveness in the tech sector.”

“Look out Silicon Valley, here comes Silicon Alley, supported by a city government that is providing the funding, space, and data the tech sector needs to thrive," said Council Member Ben Kallos. “Thank you to Mayor de Blasio for this investment, and Civic Hall's Andrew Rasiej and Micah Sifry for their leadership.”

“We are glad to welcome this innovative development to our community, and we look forward to working with the administration to give our community more opportunities for jobs in the 21st century economy,” said CB3 Chair Jamie Rogers.

Currently the site of PC Richard & Sons Union Square, 124 East 14th Street will be transformed into a hub for civic innovation, job creation and fluid work and learning opportunities in a state-of-the-art tech-enabled facility. The 258,000 square-foot project will be developed by RAL Development Services and designed by Davis Brody Bond, and is expected to create more than 800 construction jobs. The project will be union-built and staffed, and in compliance with HireNYC guidelines.

The $250 million project on City-owned land, will bring together the best-in-class programs offering affordable digital skills training for New Yorkers seeking to join the 21st century economy – all in wired, open, and accessible workspaces. It will be anchored by Civic Hall, a collaborative work and event space advancing the use of technology for the public good. Civic Hall has grown to more than 1,000 members, including a diverse mix of community organizations, tech companies, city, state and federal agencies, and individual civic entrepreneurs. The new Civic Hall plans to include the following workforce development partners: the New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education, General Assembly, Per Scholas, FedCap, Code to Work, and Coalition for Queens.

Technology and innovation are driving an evolution to a future of work that is more dynamic, open and collaborative than ever. New York City’s tech ecosystem – which permeates a number of sectors, industries and products – is a prime environment for 21st century workspaces and a diverse 21st workforce.

The Union Square innovation hub will meet an increasing need in New York City for tech-focused infrastructure and diverse tenanting policies.

Tech-enabled companies need spaces and workers that can rapidly evolve as they grow and change. Even as co-working spaces proliferate and as older industrial spaces are re-modeled to meet growing demand, much of New York City’s existing building stock is best-suited for traditional sectors - with more siloed layouts (cubicles, corner offices), five to ten-year leases, and larger floor plates.

The Union Square innovation hub will provide 58,000 square feet of fluid space needed to attract diverse growth-stage companies– smaller floor plates, flexible expansion opportunities, and shorter lease terms ranging from 6 months to 5 years.

The Union Square innovation hub will ensure that careers of the future are accessible to New Yorkers of all backgrounds and skill levels.

The Union Square innovation hub will feature a 36,500 square foot tech training center that facilitates formal and informal learning, networking, collaboration, and real-time feedback about industry needs. The site will also provide classrooms and breakout spaces that allow on-site partners to train students; these spaces can also be used for shared programming for a wider audience, supported by a diverse network of technologists, makers and social entrepreneurs built by anchor tenant Civic Hall.

Key partners in technology workforce development - such as the New York City Foundation for Computer Science Education, General Assembly, Per Scholas, FedCap, Code to Work, and Coalition for Queens – will provide discounted training, remove barriers to tech education and foster a culture of inclusivity and opportunity. The building’s location in the Union Square neighborhood provides ample access to transit throughout the 5 boroughs, and will allow New Yorkers across the City to access programming at the building.

“The new innovation hub at Union Square will be a great new addition to support a diverse talent pool that will allow New York City companies to grow, thrive, and compete successfully in the 21st century economy,” said Kevin Ryan, Chairman and CEO, AlleyCorp.

“The launch of the new Civic Hall at Union Square is welcomed news for New York’s technology community,” said Brian O’Kelley, co-founder and CEO of AppNexus, a global internet technology company headquartered in the Flatiron district. “Investments in education and workforce development will produce more jobs and innovation, and that’s good news for everyone who shares a stake in the city’s success.”

"I applaud Mayor de Blasio and the City of New York for having the vision to recognize the need to build a new center to not only allow all New Yorkers to get digital skills training, but to provide flexible new office space to support New York’s growing technology industry,” said Fred Wilson, Partner, Union Square Ventures.

“The new innovation hub at Union Square will be a welcome addition to our growing tech industry, serving as a geographical hub and a real resource for the talent needs our companies face,” said Julie Samuels, Executive Director of tech:NYC. “This project shows a real commitment by the City of New York to further develop the tech community in NYC in substantive and lasting way.”

“As a longtime provider of Workforce Readiness opportunities, Fedcap is pleased to be part of this innovative project utilizing this newly planned innovation hub at Union Square,” said Christine McMahon, President and CEO, Fedcap.

“Companies of all sizes and in every industry will be able to benefit from the activities of the new innovation hub at Union Square,” said General Assembly CEO  & Co-Founder Jake Schwartz. “General Assembly is not only excited to be included as part of this planned facility but also proud to offer even more options for individuals in NYC to access and acquire tech and digital training.”

"We are excited for Civic Hall and Mayor de Blasio to make this transformative investment in New York City and are proud to be a supporter,” said Jukay Hsu, Founder and CEO of Coalition for Queens (C4Q). “This new innovation center will be a hub for worldwide civic tech innovation and will become a center for ensuring all of our communities have access to the skills training, resources, and networks to fully participate in the innovation economy."

"Code to Work is very excited to be part of the newly planned Union Square innovation hub,” said Melinda Chang, CEO of Code to Work. “As a technology workforce intermediary, our work revolves around increased collaboration in the NYC tech ecosystem.  A critical step towards this is the creation of a centralized hub where educators, employers, jobseekers and policymakers can come together and create meaningful impact for workforce development in NYC.”  

“The New York Foundation for Computer Science Education (CSNYC) is thrilled to be included in this new planned Union Square innovation hub where we hope to build the city's future workforce through K-12 computer science education,” said Michael Preston, Executive Director of CSNYC. "We particularly look forward to collaborating with our peer organizations and the City of New York to support teacher education and equip our students with the analytic, problem-solving and creative skills of the 21st century.”

“Per Scholas is thrilled be part of the new innovation hub at Union Square,” said Angie Karmath, Executive Vice President, Per Scholas. “Our employers, students, and alumni will be able to use state of the art facilities to teach, learn, and upgrade their tech skills in one of the city's most accessible locations. As we all contemplate how automation and the new industrial revolution 4.0 is impacting our current and future workforce, we are thrilled to work alongside some of the City's best technology education thinkers to equip New Yorkers with the skills to succeed.”

“Today’s announcement further solidifies Union Square’s position as the epicenter of New York’s growing tech scene with our area’s unrivaled transportation access, wide range of amenities surrounding Union Square Park, and our world-class Greenmarket,” said Jennifer Falk, Executive Director of the Union Square Partnership. “The Union Square Partnership is thrilled that NYCEDC is developing 124 East 14th Street into a hub for tech and innovation in Union Square. Today’s announcement by Mayor de Blasio is a true win-win for all involved that will drive job creation for New Yorkers of all backgrounds. We at the Partnership look forward to welcoming 14th @ Irving to the Union Square district and look forward to many years of success.”

“The new innovation hub at Union Square will serve as an important catalyst in the continued growth of technology workforce development in New York City,” said Jessica Lawrence, CEO of NY Tech Alliance. “It will enable more New Yorkers to participate in and benefit from the city's thriving technology ecosystem.”

“Now more than ever, closing the gender gap in technology is at a critical junction,” said Reshma Saujani, Founder and CEO of Girls Who Code. “It will take the continued work of organizations committed to affecting change through innovation - like Civic Hall - to ensure that young women succeed in this field.”

Over the last decade, the City has rapidly become one of the most innovative technology centers in the world. New York City companies received $4.6 billion in venture capital funding in 2014, up from $2.4 billion in 2011—a 91% increase that has contributed to the growth of the City’s $125 billion technology economy. The innovation economy is comprised of a variety of fast growing industry sectors, such as engineering, advertising and design that have greatly outpaced more traditional sectors in employment.

The City has played an active role in efforts to foster the growth of the innovation economy. Since launching in 2009, the City’s incubator network has provided over 170,000 square feet of affordable real estate to approximately 1,000 startup businesses, which in turn have raised more than $180 million in venture funding.

In May 2016, the City announced new commitments and expanded training programs designed to equip New Yorkers with 21st century skills and connections to employment as part of the administration’s NYC Tech Talent Pipeline initiative. In September 2015, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Computer Science For All (CS4All), a new 10-year initiative to bring meaningful, high-quality computer science education to all public schools by 2025.

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