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New Developments, Union Square

Zero Irving, 124 East 14th Street, Union Square, Union Square Tech Hub, GVSHP

Renderings courtesy of RAL Development Services

The vision for a contested tech hub currently underway at 124 East 14th Street—the site of the former P.C. Richard & Son building—is coming into sharper focus. RAL Development Services released a new batch of renderings and rebranded the project with a new name, Zero Irving, presumably a nod to neighboring Irving Place. The 21-story building will include office space, a technology training center and incubator, co-working spaces, an event space, and a street-level food hall. The project broke ground over the summer and is slated for completion toward the end of 2020.

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Restaurants, Union Square

Map data © 2019 Google

As it approaches its 29th anniversary, Union Square-area favorite City Bakery may soon close its doors for good. The bakery and cafe opened in 1990 at 22 West 17th Street (it moved to its current 3 West 18th Street location in 2001) and has become well known over the years for its pretzel croissants, chocolate chip cookies, and decadent hot chocolate that comes with the option to add a massive, homemade marshmallow for $2, as well as the hot chocolate festival it hosted every February. However, as the Post first spotted, a two-part Instagram post last week explains that the bakery is in some serious financial trouble. “We have too much debt, debt which is like quicksand,” they wrote.

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Features, GVSHP, History, Union Square

Photo by Beyond My Ken / Wiki Commons

The area south of Union Square, on the border between Greenwich Village and the East Village, is changing. The approval of the new 14th Street Tech Hub south of Union Square combined with an explosion of tech-related development in the area has resulted in the demolition of mid-19th-century hotels and Beaux-Arts style tenements, with new office towers like 809 Broadway taking their place.

Aside from being rich in 19th- and early-20th-century architecture, this area is overflowing with history connected to many of the great American artists, writers, musicians, publishers, activists, innovators and artisans of the last century and a half. As part of Village Preservation’s work to document and bring to light some of that often forgotten history, we wrote this piece last year exploring the connections to Mark Twain and Walt Whitman, Alexander Graham Bell and Leroi Jones (among many others). Now, we’ve uncovered even more history-making people and events connected to this area and its buildings, from Hammacher Schlemmer (NYC’s first hardware store) to a slew of influential publishing houses (including that which published the first U.S. edition of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”) to the Women’s Suffrage League headquarters.

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Behind the Scenes, Features, Union Square

All photos by James and Karla Murray exclusively for 6sqft.

When the Union Square Greenmarket opened in 1976 as GrowNYC’s second-ever market, there were only seven farmers set up. At the time, the area was quite empty and crime-ridden, but the market, along with the opening of Danny Meyer’s Union Square Cafe and a major renovation by the city in the ’80s, is credited with turning Union Square into the vibrant hub that we now know.

Today, there can be as many as 140 vendors, selling everything from produce to fish to meat to cheese to lavender, as well as 60,000 shoppers (and local chefs!) on a given day. And though every season is beautiful and fruitful at the market, fall is perhaps the most colorful, which is why photographers James and Karla Murray thought it would be the perfect time to capture the essence of the market and get to know some of the vendors personally.

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Restaurants, Union Square

Via alphabetjenn on Flickr

Last fall 6sqft reported rumors that late-night Union Square model-spotting icon The Coffee Shop would be replaced with three new restaurants and possibly a Chase Bank. In June, Jeremiah’s Vanishing New York confirmed the rumors after learning that an application by the bank to open a branch on the 16th Street and Union Square West corner was approved by the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Now, Gothamist tells us that the bank will be joined by fast-casual vegan spot by CHLOE, shooting down rumors that an Outback Steakhouse was moving in. The two spots are planning to open in December.

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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Union Square

Image via Wiki Commons

Following a City Council Land Use Committee vote on Monday that confirmed the landmark designation of The Strand, store owner Nancy Bass Wyden said she will sue the city. Wyden has been staunchly opposed to the designation since the building at 826 Broadway was first calendered, citing concerns about costly construction and renovation work that could force her out of the business her grandfather started 92 years ago. Wyden will sue the Landmarks Preservation Commission in Manhattan Federal Court “to start,” according to the Daily News, who spoke with her lawyer, Alex Urbelis. Politicians “picked the wrong bookstore and they certainly picked the wrong woman,” Urbelis said.

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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Union Square

Via Wikimedia

The Landmarks Preservation Commission voted on Tuesday to designate The Strand bookstore as an individual landmark, despite opposition from the store’s owner and local community members. Nancy Bass Wyden, who owns the Strand building, did not support designation because she worried that restrictions placed on landmarked buildings would prevent timely construction or renovation of the store in the future. While more than 11,000 people signed a petition opposing the designation, according to Wyden’s attorney, the commission voted unanimously in favor of landmarking. “Although this is not the outcome we hoped for, we’ll continue to serve our customers as we have done robustly for 92 years,” the Strand wrote in a tweet Tuesday.

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New Developments, Policy, Union Square

124 East 14th Street, union square, tech hub, GVHPS, preservationists

Rendering via NYCEDC

The city’s plans to create a tech hub at 124 East 14th Street near Union Square have been embroiled in a preservation battle since they were first announced. Community organizations like the Cooper Square Committee and Village Preservation have advocated for the past year that any rezoning should come with protections for the adjacent neighborhood, which is largely residential. As the Daily News reported, Village Preservation recently criticized the city for its lack of transparency in the development process, while claiming that it gave out a “sweetheart deal” based on political alliances and campaign donations.

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Landmarks Preservation Commission, Policy, Union Square

Photo via Wiki Commons

In a heated second hearing before the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the owner of the iconic Strand Bookstore, Nancy Bass Wyden, continued her fight to keep the famed bookseller’s building from being designated a city landmark along with seven buildings on Broadway between East 12th and 14th Streets. Instead, Wyden is offering to put in place a historic preservation easement on the storefront, Gothamist reports. The easement would be the result of an agreement between the property’s owner and a nonprofit group that would serve as a steward for the building’s preservation, ensuring that, in this case the building’s facade, would be properly preserved. At a previous LPC hearing The Strand’s owner voiced strong concerns that a historic designation would place crippling restrictions on the scrappy business and potentially threaten its future.

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Construction Update, Union Square

44 Union Square East, Tammany Hall, BKSK Architects

Construction progressing on site; photo via 44 Union Square on Instagram with permission and Newmark Knight Frank

Construction of the glassy turtle shell-shaped dome on top of Union Square’s landmarked Tammany Hall building is officially underway. The building at 44 Union Square, formerly home to NYC’s Democratic party machine, is being transformed into modern office and retail space. New construction photos provided to 6sqft show the start of the unconventional dome’s installation, with the diagonally intersecting glass and steel now visible from the street.

Construction shots this way

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