The Urban Justice Center (UJC), one of the oldest and most prominent legal organizations, unveiled its new headquarters in lower Manhattan at 40 Rector Street yesterday, with the help of Sen. Cory Booker and other New York elected officials, including Manhattan Borough president Gale Brewer.
The Urban Justice Center has served NYC’s most vulnerable residents through direct legal service, systemic advocacy, community education, and political organizing for 30 years.
Designed by A+I architects, the new space occupies approximately 32,000 square feet on the 9th floor of the building with incredible views of the Hudson River. As the staff continues to grow, the headquarters will provide room to accommodate over 100 staff members and interns, and has breakout rooms for legal training and private client sessions that will be named after prominent civil rights leaders.
Thanks to a $5 million capital grant from the New York City Council, UJC was able to purchase the new space. This means by owning, rather than renting, the UJC will save over $800,000 a year on space costs meaning more money will be able to go towards meeting the needs of low- and no-income New Yorkers.
The new headquarters also will allow for a cooperative work environment, thanks to the new, open office design inspired by tech companies. It will integrate the work of the organization’s various legal projects and strikes a balance between interaction and confidentiality. The space will allow for interactive work across all divisions while still leaving ample space for private sessions with clients. It is also flexible, with the movement of the walls and glass panels, allowing for multiple uses and group sizes. A single space can be either a conference room, a social gathering space, or a large, light-filled presentation area.
The UJC has now grown to encompass 10 legal projects, over 120 staff members and offices throughout the five boroughs. In 2014, the UJC closed over 11,000 cases benefitting 19,000 people; the new headquarters will allow the organization to increase its staff, services and overall impact in the coming years.
Check out the slideshow below from the unveiling!
-by Jackie Hart