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Pols Use Social Media to Push for Roosevelt Island Tech Campus

By Amy Zimmer | November 16, 2011 8:30pm
A rendering of Stanford's proposed $2.5 billion, 1.9-million-square-foot eco-friendly campus on Roosevelt Island.
A rendering of Stanford's proposed $2.5 billion, 1.9-million-square-foot eco-friendly campus on Roosevelt Island.
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Stanford University

MANHATTAN — East Side politicans have renewed their calls to bring the city's high-tech campus to Roosevelt Island, and they're embracing a high-tech campaign to get their message across.

City Councilman Jessica Lappin asked New Yorkers to use Facebook, Twitter and email to urge the Bloomberg administration to turn Roosevelt Island into the next Silicon Valley.

The city's Economic Development Corporation is reviewing seven applications from 17 heavy-hitting schools to build a new engineering and applied science campus — and get up to $100 million in city funds for start-up infrastructure development to boot.

Two main contenders — Cornell, which is partnering with Israel's Technion, and Stanford, which is partnering with CUNY — selected Roosevelt Island's 10-acre Goldwater Hospital to potentially build their massive eco-friendly campuses.

The city-owned Goldwater Hospital will close by 2014, and the 2-mile long island's 12,000 residents are looking forward to a new tenant.

"We have housing, parks, shops, and unparalleled views. Not to mention, we have a subway stop, bus lines — even a tram,"
 Lappin said in a statement. "We want Mayor Bloomberg to know we want this campus here."

She posted on the AppSciNYC Facebook page Wednesday: "Pick Roosevelt Island. I want the city to select a bidder who proposes to build this campus on RI."

She urged her constituents to do the same, or to tweet @AppSciNYC, with the hashtag #PickRI, or to email the EDC (appliedsciencesrfp@nycedc.com) with a note in support of the Roosevelt Island location.

Leslie Torres, president and CEO of Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation, embraced the idea of a campus coming to the island, saying it could generate $6 billion in economic activity over the next 35 years, along with more than 30,000 permanent and construction jobs for New Yorkers.

Torres has played up the island's track-record as a breeding ground for innovation.

The Octagon Towers residential building (built in a former insane asylum) is the first in the state to have a fuel cell, which powers its 500 units. There are underwater turbines in the East River powering a parking lot and supermarket. It has parking sensors helping residents find empty spaces and is talking about a bike share program. The island is planning on installing electric car stations, Torres said.