Earlier today, Governor Kathy Hochul announced the completion of the $700 million Taystee Lab Building, an 11-story, 350,000 square feet mixed-use development located in West Harlem’s Manhattanville Factory District. The former Taystee Bakery site has been repurposed and reimagined as the Taystee Lab Building, a brand-new, Class-A, LEED-certified life sciences building. More information is available here.
VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.
AUDIO of the Governor’s remarks is available here.
PHOTOS of the event are available on the Governor’s Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
Good morning, Harlem. Oh yes, I feel the energy and how sweet it is to be at the site of a former bakery. Jerry, first of all, yes, I remember the ribbon cutting or I’m sorry, the groundbreaking, among the 55,000 I did, I think in six years. And it was great. And I had a chance to hang out with the young, energetic superstar of Harlem, the brand new, Senator Brian Benjamin, at the time. And the other leaders you mentioned, Mark Levine and people who are here.
I’m sure Gale Brewer was there as Borough President. I guarantee Big Gale was there because Gale is everywhere. And if you ever talked to Gale’s husband, he would say the only difference between my wife, Gale, and God is that God is everywhere. Gale is everywhere, but home. So, she’s been incredible. I’ve so enjoyed working with her.
And to Jerry, thank you for being the visionary that this community needed. It was about 12 years ago when the opportunity came for bids from Empire State Development, and a lot of people applied and had different ideas about housing, et cetera. But you and your partners at Janice, had a different dream for this community. And you wanted to harken back to the legacy of entrepreneurialship and small businesses and the whole culture that had been part of this community, Manhattanville, for such a long, long time.
And because of that vision, you said, this is a place that had a great past in factories and in building and innovation. You wanted to build the factories of the future right here. And that is what life sciences are. We’re building the building blocks of innovation and jobs and creation right here. So Jerry, to you and your partners at Janice, I want to thank you, for just having the guts and the tenacity to say that this community deserves better than staring at an abandoned bakery.
Once the sight of jobs and opportunity for people that was really mocking this neighborhood since the seventies. It became rundown. And it was just a visual reminder of the glory days of the past. And that’s why today is so significant. This is not 100 years ago at a time when this was a bustling neighborhood, but also at time, 100 years ago when they were just emerging from a pandemic as well. Think about that.
And we have an opportunity here to leave a mark on places like Harlem and other parts of our city and our state in this post pandemic world. And that’s why this is such an exciting time for all of us. So I want to thank you for being one of the leaders, the people who before had a vision for this area that is being realized literally as we’re coming through the final, hopefully weeks, of this pandemic. So Jerry to you and your partners, I say, thank you.
Hope Knight, our President and CEO of Empire State Development. Another Harlem native. Is that correct? I got my Lieutenant governor, my head of Empire State Development, please don’t tell everybody else. It’s a lot of focus on this community because this is an energetic place. We all know that.
I also want to acknowledge some of our other elected officials, I mentioned Gale Brewer is here. I think Inez Dickens is here, I don’t have my glasses – Inez? I’m sure she’s on her way. Cordell Cleare is here, our new Senator. Mark Levine, I believe, is on his way as well. Must be a lot of traffic out there today.
Oh Mark’s here, okay. And I came down from Albany in less time than it takes you to go a few blocks over. I just want to say I was up at the crack of dawn so I would not be late for this event, but that alright, I’m not going to judge anybody.
And Felix Matos Rodriguez, our CUNY Chancellor, I mean what an honor it is to have you here. You and I are going to be continuing our collaboration to make sure that there are jobs and skills being taught for all of our young people, so they can leave walking the streets of this neighborhood and actually come in here and be part of this ecosystem. 440 people will be able to find a new future right here, so thank you.
And Kathy Wylde, our President and CEO of the Partnership for New York City. I mean she is at every single significant event because the partnership has been driving this and I want to thank her for her work on the Regional Economic Development Council with me for these many, many years. And I also see former Member of the Assembly Keith Wright is here. Thank you, Keith, for joining us.
So yes, it was two years ago. It was a lovely Mayday and we gathered outside and I remember reflecting on what this really meant to this neighborhood and I spoke about it just briefly, but I want to go a little bit deeper. I wanted this building, this site to be a place where children who grew up here, who did not think they had a better future, to imagine themselves being inside here. What it would be like if I somehow could be part of that, that dynamic place, where people are innovating and coming up with cures for the next pandemic and talking about how we can think about life sciences in a way that creates an economy. Yes, of course creates good jobs, but also, as we saw during this pandemic, how much we rely on the brilliance of doctors and researchers and scientists coming together to help us get through a pandemic that took down so many of our friends and neighbors. That is the importance of the work that will go on here.
And I want every child born in Harlem, in our neighboring communities, to see this building as a place of opportunity for them. That’s what this is about, this is not about the adults in this room today. This is about the next generation of kids who are going to walk by – their mom is going to push them by in a stroller and they’re going to see this when they’re in kindergarten, they’re going to see this when they’re in high school and say, I want to be part of that.
That’s what excites me about projects like these, that I want to have all over the state of New York. And neighborhoods like this that are so beautifully diverse, and have a sense of history and culture and a very cool vibe – I want people to know that you do not leave this neighborhood, you leave your talents here. Bring your talents and your optimism and that sense of confidence and the swagger we have when you grew up in a place as cool as Harlem. I want that to be harnessed in buildings like this and in this community.
So I’m going to continue our state investments in this. And this is an 11-story, 350,000 square foot, $700 million – that wasn’t all state dollars – $700 million LEAD certified building, built specifically to support the growth of the life sciences sector. And I was proud that we invested $10 million from Our Regional Economic Development Council from the very beginning.
We’re going to be manufacturing and coming up with ideas and commercializing, as well as embedding the educational users right here. And we have tremendous, tremendous possibility here with the people we’re working with. And I want to mention, you know, Columbia University, the business school, the science center, the med school, all right here, part of this system. New York Structural Biology Center, the City College of New York and CUNY Center for Discovery and Innovation and our advanced science research center.
It’s all happening right here. I mean, this is incredible. You think about every one of these powerful institutions all coming together right here. That is another unique, faster, this, and it’s happening here as a model for other communities and other parts of our state. And that is what is so special about this.
We’re going to continue being laser focused on creating the STEM jobs, the opportunities, the education, starting at the youngest age. And there’s programs like Girls Who Code, where I see that program, I’ve been to more graduations, I still don’t understand what they’re doing, but they look really smart when they’re all done with their training.
And that is what I think is so special about this, that little girls growing up here can someday, perhaps walk through here wearing a lab coat and a name tag and being part of a system that is solving the future challenges in healthcare. That’s what this is all about. So, no student in the State of New York should miss out on these opportunities and they’re certainly not going to miss out on it when we see this here.
So, we’re going to continue focusing on workforce development, the training, working with our educational partners, working with our private sector partners and my friends, the future is unfolding right here before eyes. And you’re going to look back, many years from now and say, yep, my grandparents, someone’s grandparents, had to live through this building when it was vacant and it was abandoned. It was mocking this neighborhood for far too long. Fast forward to the future, the children born here today are going to assume that this place has always been so vibrant.
And to everyone here who made this happen, thank you for giving this community hope and I thank you for being part of this.