Just under a year ago, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (“NYCEDC”) put out a request for proposals (“RFP”) for the development of an “Urban Tech Growth Hub”. Their goal was to find a location and an operator that could work with the City to build a premier community of tech companies specifically focused on the challenges (and opportunities) of urban living. It is with great pride that we are sharing NYCEDC’s announcement of Grand Central Tech’s having won its bid.
This is a big moment for Grand Central Tech as an organization. In a little under two years we have established ourselves as a premier accelerator program; executed a verticalized real estate model that compounds the value of our community year over year while at the same time doing away with the headache of securing reasonably sized, priced, and timed (lease tenure) real estate; and demonstrated operational excellence at a level worthy of a multi-million dollar grant from the City (please pardon the minor bragging). If you were wondering why you hadn’t heard from us in a while… we’ve been hard at work.
If you’re trying to keep score at home, this means that GCT will continue to function as an accelerator program with affiliated coworking space for graduates and also operate the Urban Tech Growth Hub, which, in the interests of super straightforward branding, we’re calling the Hub@GCT.
So what exactly is going to happen at the Hub? Good question. First, we have to build it. Thanks to the ceaselessly remarkable generosity of the Milstein family, we are currently in the process of demoing and custom outfitting 50,000 square feet of space on the floor just above GCT at 335 Madison Avenue. We anticipate the space opening in June of 2016. Second, between now and then we will hire an Executive Director to run the space (and provide said ED with funding to build a staff around him/her). Third, we have to begin recruiting companies into the space.
Broadly speaking though, we intend to capitalize on the NYCEDC’s considerable support (a minimum of $2.5MM) to go above and beyond even their expectations for the program. It is our ambition to build the Hub into a true leader, both nationally and internationally, exemplifying the importance and opportunity inherent in thoughtfully considering how and where tech can improve the urban environment. We want companies increasing the efficiency and sustainability with which we build new construction or retrofit existing construction; we want companies thoughtfully considering how IoT can be capitalized upon to improve insights around city resource usage; we want companies rethinking sewage systems to help clean our waterways; we want companies rethinking education, financial services, community empowerment/advocacy for the modern urban, environment; and on and on. We are being intentionally broad. We intend to select for excellence, not some preconceived notion of what urban tech does or doesn’t mean.
If you are reading this right now and work at a company that you think falls under the umbrella of “urban tech”, or know someone who does, please sign up for our mailing list here. We anticipate creating flexible and heavily subsidized office solutions tailor-made for companies that range in size from 2 people to 75 people, so no need to limit interest based on company size.
If you are reading this right now and think you or someone you know would make an ideal candidate for our Executive Director role, please check out the job description/application here.
It is a real honor to have won this grant and to be tasked with this challenge. A big thanks is in order to all of our friends, partners, and advisors for their support throughout.
Onwards and upwards.