PROGRESS REPORT: Looking up: From tech to Tammany, park to poké

Jennifer Falk, left, with Borough President Gale Brewer at last year’s Harvest in the Square food-tasting fundraiser for Union Square Park.
Jennifer Falk, left, with Borough President Gale Brewer at last year’s Harvest in the Square food-tasting fundraiser for Union Square Park.

BY JENNIFER E. FALK | A strong city needs vibrant, active communities — and that is what we continue to foster in Union Square. We are proud of the progress we have made over the past four decades, and 2017 is poised to bring about even more progress. TAMI (technology, advertising, media and information) companies are continuing to flock to Union Square. Facebook has moved into its 200,000-square-foot space at 225 Park Ave. South — the same property that houses Buzzfeed. Compass expanded its footprint at 90 Fifth Ave., where it now occupies 115,000 square feet. WeWork leased two locations at 88 University Place and 33 Irving Place, not far from its headquarters at 115 W. 18th St.

In February, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed the city’s plans for a new $250 million hub at 124 E. 14th St. Its arrival further solidifies Union Square’s position at the heart of the city’s growing tech scene, and we are confident that it will help drive job creation for all New Yorkers. The historic restoration and modernization of Tammany Hall, which recently secured a $57.5 million loan for construction, will transform more than 75,000 square feet of retail and office space, revitalizing this beloved landmark.

With a wide variety of innovative fitness studios, “athleisure” boutiques, beauty retailers and healthy eateries, Union Square remains the city’s epicenter of health and wellness. The Union Square Partnership highlights this market trend each year with our highly successful, weeklong winter celebration, Union Square Sweat Fest.

Union Square’s growing work force, anchored by our tech community, has brought tremendous growth to our district’s casual-dining scene. Danny Meyer recently launched a new coffee shop and bakery concept, Daily Provisions, next door to Union Square Cafe’s new location on E. 19th St. At lunchtime, crowds are lining up for new grab-and-go spots, like Cava Grill, Make Sandwich, sweetgreen, plus poké shops, such as The Poké Spot and Pokéworks.

To help ensure the safety of bicyclists, U.S.P. worked with the city’s Department of Transportation to implement a number of extensions, upgrades and safety measures to our bike network.

Last year, U.S.P. raised more than $1.5 million, its highest fundraising total to date, that along with our annual assessment of $2.4 million, allowed us to make even more investments throughout the district, in our public plazas and within Union Square Park.

We are gearing up for “Summer in the Square,” our nine-week free entertainment series, returning June 15.

Falk is executive director, Union Square Partnership business improvement district