Union Supreme/Union Plaza
From Unofficial Handbook of the Virtue Universe
Union Plaza, formerly known as Astoria Plaza, is located on a small islet southeast of Talos Isand in Paragon City. The Plaza was given its new name with the coming of the group Union Supreme for use as its base of operations.
History of Union Plaza
The Astoria Plaza buildings were constructed in the late 1980’s, as a part of the real-estate boom of that period. The trio of buildings were designed as a self-contained community, consisting of a residential, commercial, and office building. This idea worked better in theory than in practice; the residential building would end up being converted into a luxury hotel. Visitors found the proximity of commercial and business buildings so close-within short walking distance-to be an attractive perk of the Plaza.
Talos Island was spared the ravages of the Rikti War, and Astoria Plaza flourished at war’s end. Indeed, it became known as a safe haven away from the turf wars between the Warriors and the Tsoo. This spooked the investors who owned the Plaza, and they sold the three buildings there back to the city. Eventually, businesses moved out of the area, and many of the offices were abandoned. The final blow came when Astoria darkened, and the Banished Pantheon began to haunt the area around the Plaza. Citizens left their condominiums, and the Plaza fell into disrepair.
This made the plaza attractive to two major groups. The City Government began to revitalize the Plaza in preparation for a special United Nations conference, and hoped to use Astoria Plaza as an example of the spirit of Paragon City. Unfortunately, what wasn’t known was that the Council had interests in the Plaza as well, and had already constructed outposts of their own in the subbasements. The two finally came in conflict when the conference was finally held in January 2009; the Council made its move to hold the attendees hostage, and only an assembly of heroes pulling off a daring rescue kept the Council from advancing its long term goals in the region.
These men and women were recognized by both the UN and the city for their bravery and heroism. The heroes chose to band together as the Union Supreme; the city rewarded them with the land and buildings, and renamed the Plaza as Union Plaza. The UN granted them peacekeeping rights throughout the world.
In order to bring the buildings up to both city building codes and to refurbish them for their new roles, two members of the Union spent a tremendous amount of income. Richard Kapetelis and Anthony Stevens combined their respective fortunes to bring the newly named Union Plaza to the forefront of the twenty-first century.
Each of the buildings was designated for specific use-and some of those uses involved bringing in the general public. Monies gained from the purchase of residential units or leases of commercial units are used in a variety of ways. A portion is given to pay the support staff of the Union, which maintains the buildings, deals with the distribution of the monies gained, and makes sure everything runs smoothly. The largest portion is divided among a very large number of charitable organizations held dear by the various members of the Union Supreme. The Union itself is a non-profit organization, and does not partake in any income gained from the buildings. They choose to maintain their original sources of income from prior to the formation of the Union.
Originally the Parker Tower Hotel, this building was named for J.R. Parker, the real estate tycoon who developed the Astoria Plaza properties in the late ‘80s. The Tower was originally envisioned as a full-time residential building; however, Parker severely overestimated the number of people willing to use the tower as a full time residence at the time, in light of the other real estate deals going on at the island. Hoping to recoup a significant amount of the cost, Parker converted the building into a well-to-do hotel.
The Parker Tower Hotel did exceptional business, throughout the nineties. During the Rikti War, Parker opened up the building for refugee housing for many residents of the shattered Baumton neighborhood. Parker himself was killed as a bystander near the end of the War; his heirs preferred to sell off his properties to the original investors in order to move to a less war-torn climate. The investment group ran the Hotel poorly; the gang war of the Tsoo and Warriors began to discourage visitors to the island, and the hotel suffered further as a result. Eventually, the investors sold the building to the city, writing it off (along with the rest of the Plaza properties).
The City Government had no desire to run a hotel business of their own, so they closed down the building. As construction crews were needed in other parts of the city (such as Overbrook), the building was left abandoned. Heroes in the city would occasionally take note of criminal gangs trying to claim space in the Tower for themselves, and regularly evicted the unwelcome inhabitants. This situation persisted until Union Supreme took ownership of the Plaza.
Today, the Parker Tower serves two purposes. The first is to offer residential housing to the members and support staff of Union Supreme. The membership who took advantage of this are not in a single area in the building, but spread throughout (for example, Anthony Stevens, one of the two major financial backers of the renovated buildings, owns a penthouse suite in the Tower). The other purpose is to provide housing for the newly growing population of Talos Island. A significant amount of units remain empty, in part because the units have not been purchased as of yet, and in part because some units have been utilized for the defensive systems of the building.
Amenities included in the tower include a daycare center, an Olympic-sized swimming pool (as well as associated “kiddy pools”), a senior center, and a fitness center. These are available to the residents of the Tower free of charge.
Because the Tower could become a magnet for villains hoping to grab convenient hostages, or for striking at the families of the Union, no expense was spared in purchasing the very best in defensive systems, from safeguarding individual units in the building, to protecting the entire building from a massive attack. The specific defenses are not open to the public, but have been approved by the City Government.
This takes its name for one of the main investors in the Astoria Plaza project, Christina Martin, the owner of the national grocery chain Mighty Mart, famous for its all-natural health food (“Non-genetic” is proclaimed in their ads). Her influence guided the development of this building, originally envisioned as a center of commerce for Talos Island-and for Astoria Plaza. Her brother, Dennis Martin-the President of Mighty Mart-was responsible for bringing in many businesses to purchase space in the Hall, which at the time was colloquially known as “The Mall at the Plaza”.
Everything from clothing, to electronics, to jewelry, to home improvement found a place at the hall-including Martin’s primary competitors at Mega Mart. The Mall at the Plaza thrived until the beginning of the Rikti War. During the months of the war, most of the businesses found themselves far too short of customers-and thus, income-to maintain a presence at the Mall. Only the grocery chains in the building were able to hang on, solely because of the needs of the refugees in the Parker Tower. By war’s end, with the refugees relocating elsewhere, the last of the chains pulled out; the Martins could no longer justify the expense of even keeping their own business in the Mall, and voted with the other investors to sell the properties back to the city.
In mid 2008, the United Nations requested a reasonably secluded area for a secret conference from the City Government-which chose to utilize Martin Hall, and led to the situation with the Council and the nascent Union Supreme.
With the coming of the Union Supreme, Martin Hall has been redeveloped into their public face. Martin Hall is in part museum of the history of these heroes; replicas of exotic devices taken are on display, including non-functional copies of the Cosmotron and the Wheel of Destruction. The Union holds the occasional press conference in this building, with rooms set aside and wired for easy media access.
Martin Hall also retains some of its consumerist past, as the Union welcomed back some commercial chains to serve the residents of Parker Tower-including Mighty Mart. The chains are vetted before being leased a space in the Hall, to ensure that no villainous organization uses the Hall as a front for their activities, and that the chains adhere to honorable business practices. Each business also signs a waiver with the understanding that they are, after all, on a supergroup’s property which means bad things will occasionally happen. The businesses who are represented in the Hall have signed gladly-the ability to say that they operate in Union Plaza is fast becoming an attractive advertising point. Unsurprisingly, the Union complies completely with non-discriminatory leasing practices.
In addition to the businesses, the Hall also is the home to a number of charitable organizations-something the members of the Union guaranteed when renovating the Hall. One unit is apparently left empty, but with a proper entry “key” offers access to the Tavern on the Edge, a well-known restaurant/bar which caters to the superhuman community. Several units on the upper floors are reserved as conference rooms, where high-level meetings can take place-and where the participants can be assured of the high security that goes with it.
The Hall has been similarly equipped as Parker Tower has with defenses that will prevent widescale damage to the building and those who work there. Martin Hall remains a shining example of the Union’s dedication not just to the world, but to Paragon City.
The Kent Building was the office area for Astoria Plaza, and was a key demand to gain the backing of investor Herbert Kent, the founder and CEO of the law firm Kent and Sons. Kent and Sons had gained their fortune and reputation by taking on the big names in the Family in civil court, when criminal court couldn’t convict. Herbert Kent was often compared to the television character of Perry Mason, and rarely lost a case.
The office space in the Kent Building housed a variety of corporations. Some corporations with stores in Martin Hall had their corporate headquarters in the Kent Building. Other corporations had no presence other than their offices here on the Plaza, but found the location suitable for their business. A number of Information Technology firms set up shop in the Kent Building, followed closely by law offices and government contractors.
When the Rikti War began, the Kent Building became the first casualty in the Plaza. Businesses chose to hunker down, closing any external offices-including the ones at the Kent Building. Herbert Kent himself and most of his team were killed in the opening moments of the War, when the wreckage of a Mother Ship destroyed by Statesman came down on top of the building they were in, before the hero recognized the collateral damage being done by his initial defense. As people became more concerned with survival than with work, the offices closed down, one by one.
The Kent Building never recovered. The investment group owning the property originally planned on selling the Kent Building to the city by itself, but as the other buildings on the Plaza continued to develop their own problems, the investors decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and sold all three as a lot, and the Plaza land as well, back to Paragon City.
Upon receiving the properties from the City Government, the leaders of the Union decided that the Kent Building would be where the heroes did their work.
Of all three buildings, the Kent Building underwent the most changes. The structure was reinforced to withstand the potential release of the awesome powers available to the Union if the worst came to pass. Supercomputers were installed into the building, as well as energy generating devices. Some of the capacity of these systems runs not just the Kent Building, but also Parker Tower and Martin Hall (although each building has its own backup power/control supply in case the unthinkable happens).
High technology is not the only attractive feature of the Kent Building to the heroes. The three buildings are aligned with a mystical ley line, giving wielders of magical energy increased strength-if they can tap into it. Magical laboratories and libraries of tomes are available to the more mystically inclined members of the Union.
Training areas for heroes of all stripes are available, too. Whether a hero needs to practice target shooting with a bow and arrow, or to lift weights greater than a ton, or to simply spar, the various training areas are set up to test and improve a hero’s abilities and powers, to better deal with the dangers the world has to offer.
The defenses of the Kent Building are both more and less than those of the other two buildings on the Plaza. While the defenses against massive attack are in place, the defenses within the building are substantially less robust. On the other hand, the argument is that the presence of the Union in the Kent Building is as mighty a defense as one could ask for!