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.