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NYC Land Up for Grabs

University Business, Nov 2011

Proposals are in from institutions vying to build a tech campus in the “city that never sleeps” as part of the “Applied Sciences NYC” initiative. It’s the beginning of an effort to bring New York City to the forefront of technology start-ups and innovation. The request for proposal was announced in July by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and other members of his cabinet, and the initiative will provide a university, institution, or consortium city-owned land and up to $100 million to cover building costs.

“During the 1980s and ’90s, Silicon Valley—not New York—became the world capital of technology start-ups, and that is still true today,” Bloomberg said in a prepared statement. “But if I am right, and if we succeed in this mission, it won’t be true forever. The Applied Sciences NYC initiative will serve as a major catalyst for New York City’s local economy for decades, generating billions of dollars in economic activity through the creation of hundreds of new businesses and tens of thousands of jobs.”
Land is offered at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Roosevelt Island, or Governors Island, with the winner expected to be announced by year’s end.

When proposals were due on October 28, Cornell University and Stanford University were being touted as front runners. Cornell announced that its proposed 150,000 square-foot core academic building on Roosevelt Island would be the largest net-zero building in the eastern United States, and among the top four largest buildings of its kind in the entire country. It would house the Cornell and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology partnership and bring Cornell science and expertise into industry settings. The Cornell community is strongly backing the proposal; NYC-based alumni have gone as far as to create an online petition and a Twitter account to gain support for their alma mater’s proposal.

Stanford’s proposal is for a graduate school of science, also on Roosevelt Island. The estimated $2.5 billion project would bring a university near and dear to the Silicon Valley to the east coast.

Per the RFP, applicants were not allowed to make more intricate details of their plans available to the public.