Local tech company to occupy historic Union Square post office

On October 25, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

Participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony on Tuesday: (L to R) Tom Galligani, Director of Economic Development, City of Somerville; Liz Barno, Community Director, Greentown Labs; Courtney O’Keefe, Executive Director, Somerville Local First; Don Law, Union Square Partners, LLC; Mayor Joe Curtatone; Nadia Cheng, Head of Operations, RightHand Robotics; Esther Hanig, Executive Director, Union Square Main Streets; Greg Karczewski, President, Union Square Station Associates (US2).

By Somerville Times Staff

The former Union Square Post Office building will soon be home to RightHand Robotics, a local technology company that grew out of a team of researchers from Harvard, Yale and MIT.

RightHand Robotics is a leader in end-to-end solutions that reduce the cost of e-commerce order-fulfillment across industries, bringing the latest technological developments from the lab to the warehousing industry.

The company has seen incredible growth in the past two years, and has outgrown its space in local cleantech incubator Greentown Labs. The Post Office building will be an interim home for RightHand Robotics while it continues to grow and as Union Square Partners, LLC progresses in its ambitious plans to transform the building into a mixed-use development.

The move marks the first new commercial tenant to sign space in Union Square as plans for revitalization across the square get underway. RightHand Robotics’ 30 employees will add day-time workers to the neighborhood which has seen an influx of energy in the retail sector recently.

The historic Post Office Building is just steps from recently opened NU Cafe and Juice Bar, Field and Vine and reopened The Independent. Around the corner, Bow Market will open in 2018 with dozens of new food, art and retail options.

Mayor Curtatone addressed the attendees at the future home of RightHand Robotics

“The SomerVision plan is a promise to invest in the growth of a resilient economic base and create job opportunities within our community,” said Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “RightHand Robotics’ move to this landmark building points to the progress we’re making in turning Union Square into an employment center that creates local jobs, expands our tax base and supports local business growth.”

“It’s an exciting time to be living and working in Union Square. As we continue to grow we’re committed to staying in the neighborhood that we’ve come to call home,” said Nadia Cheng, head of operations at RightHand Robotics. “This location is especially important for attracting and retaining talent, and we’re excited to be part of the growth we’re witnessing throughout the square.”

On the western side of Union Square the largest cleantech incubator in the United States, Greentown Labs is also expanding from 40,000 square feet to 97,000 square feet. “We are very excited for RightHand Robotics to be able to continue to grow locally after having been at Greentown Labs for two years,” said Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs.

“It’s clear that the team behind RightHand Robotics has an abundance of talent and passion,” said Don Law of Union Square Partners, LLC. “We’re pleased that we can provide the company with an interim space to experiment and grow in Union Square. It’s a great solution for everyone. RightHand can continue its work in the square and activate the building while we continue our ambitious plans to ultimately transform the building into a dynamic space including a performance space, marketplace and shared office space.”

“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with Don Law and Union Square Partners and are excited to be able to provide the space for Righthand Robotics to grow right here in the neighborhood they love, Union Square,” said Greg Karczewski, president of Union Square master developer Union Square Station Associates (US2), which plans to develop Union Square into a 2.3 million-square-foot employment center that includes open space, new work spaces and housing. “This is another great step moving Union Square forward as a thriving destination for employers and workers with a vibrant mixture of uses that meet the needs of the community.”

The Union Square Post Office was bought in 2014 by Union Square Partners LLC, which is run by Don Law, president of Live Nation New England. A designated Local Historic District, the building is a protected landmark dating from 1935 and is listed on the National Historic Register.

RightHand Robotics (RHR) is a leader in providing end-to-end solutions that reduce the cost of e-commerce order-fulfillment of electronics, apparel, grocery, pharmaceuticals, and countless other industries. RHR grew out of a team of researchers from Harvard Biorobotics Lab, the Yale Grab Lab, and MIT leading groundbreaking research in grasping systems, intelligent hardware sensors, computer vision, and applied machine learning. Each had robotics experience and recognized that their research collectively had the potential to radically transform the supply-chain industry. RHR was formed to bring these latest technological developments from the lab to the warehousing industry.


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