City to redevelop P.C. Richard & Son store on East 14th Street as tech hub

The P.C. Richard & Son store on East 14th Street

The P.C. Richard & Son store on East 14th Street

By Maria Rocha-Buschel

The Economic Development Corporation released a request for proposals last month to redevelop the space on East 14th Street currently occupied by the P.C. Richard & Son Union Square location, to create a hub for up-and-coming technology companies.

EDC President Maria Torres-Springer said that the space was chosen so that the city could capitalize on the “academic and transit advantages” that are available in Union Square and the goal is to support the development of 21st century workforce skills that can be honed at new tech companies.

Although the computer and appliance store has occupied the spot on East 14th Street since 1996, the site is actually owned by the city. The Union Square Development Corporation leased the building from the city and then subleased the space to P.C. Richard, and the agreement is up at the end of next February around the same time that proposals are due.

EDC is soliciting the proposals from qualified developers for the project and projects would ideally include space for technology companies that have graduated from incubators or co-working spaces looking to expand, educational-based campuses with a focus on technology or other uses that would drive economic growth such as support for startups and early stage growing companies. Interested developers have been asked to specifically detail in their proposal how the commercial space addresses the needs for companies in growing industries as opposed to just a traditional office setting, and specific attention should be paid to the size, amenities and infrastructure provided in the space that would support the growing companies.

EDC also suggested that respondents should creatively incorporate the retail component of the building and the agency said that it envisions a 14 retail component similar to Chelsea Market or Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.

One idea that the request for proposals did not favor is building apartments or dorms. EDC is strongly discouraging proposals that include traditional residential or dormitory uses that are not part of a larger, integrated commercial use but will consider public spaces and community facility spaces that focus on education, technology, science or cultural uses.

EDC already has a list of more than 60 interested subcontractors and suppliers, including designer Nelligan White Architects, civil engineering firm Philip Habib and Associates, environmental firm EnTech Engineering and others.

Proposals for the project will be accepted until February 26, 2016.

2 thoughts on “City to redevelop P.C. Richard & Son store on East 14th Street as tech hub

  1. There are definite transit advantages to Union Square. Foremost, it would introduce any occupant of the space to what can go wrong with transportation in NYC:

    * The M14 bus is a frequent recipient or runner-up in the annual Pokey Awards for slowest bus in Manhattan.
    * The 4, 5, and 6 subway lines are the most crowded in the City. 24×7. These lines are also not handicap accessible because narrow platforms for the 4, 5, 6 prohibit installation of an elevtor from the Mezzanine to the platform.
    * The other subway lines to Union Square (L, N, Q, R) are handicap accessible but are at Union Square West, three blocks crosstown from the PC Richard site. Special demerits to the L for being more crowded than the 4, 5, 6 from 6th Avenue to the second stop in Brooklyn.
    * Travel from Union Square West – the other side of the Park from the proposed site –requires either crossing Broadway on the South side of 14th St or crossing 14th St at University, 4th Ave, or Irving Place. All three are notable for the number of cars turning at those same intersections which both blocks the crosswalks and obstructs vehicular traffic, including the M14 busses.

    I do adit that those problems don’t exist every day. They are far worse whenever any of the seemingly bi-weekly street fairs is held anywhere from 4th Avenue to 2nd Avenue. Or the three weekends of Summer Streets.

    So yes, EDC. Your plan to displace a thriving business that serves the community is a good one. Bring in start-ups that, if they succeed, will leave at their first opportunity. Bring in a Chelsea Market type operation to a much smaller space. One that needs longer lines than Trader Joe’s in order to survive economically. After all, the people waiting for the slow, crowded bus need someone to talk to until the bus the currently get onto arrives.

    I guess somewhere in the description this would benefit the community or the city. Or does EDC stand for Economic Disruption Conspirators?

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