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As Deadline Looms, Bloomberg Considers Two Tech Campus Winners

By Amy Zimmer | October 28, 2011 2:24pm
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 — The city may consider selecting more than one winning bid to develop a major engineering and applied science campus.

It’s not off the table, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose call for submissions has sparked interest far and wide from universities across the globe, touching off a high-profile battle between heavyweights Stanford and Cornell.

"We'll see," the mayor told reporters at an unrelated press conference Thursday. "Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could do more than one?"

The Bloomberg administration’s call for the submissions due Friday came with the offer to build the campus on one of three city-owned spots: Roosevelt Island’s soon-to-be abandoned Goldwater Hospital, the favored spot for Cornell and Stanford; the long abandoned Navy Hospital at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, where Carnegie Mellon is interested; and at the redeveloping Governors Island.

It also came with the promise of up to $100 million in public funding for infrastructure. It was unclear how that money would be split if more than one proposal is selected.

Bloomberg, who said he's been “blown away” by the interest from the schools, noted that there was only a limited amount of money up for grabs, so the city would likely start with just one project, he said.

Stanford and Cornell have proposed building big eco-friendly campuses of roughly 2 million square feet, with 200 faculty members and 2,500 students on the southern end of Roosevelt Island. They have touted their ability to foster tech startups.

Stanford’s proposal would cost $2.5 billion. Cornell, which is partnering with Israel’s Technion, has only said it would cost more than $1 billion.

Meanwhile, some homegrown schools have been planning smaller-scale projects, hoping to build in areas where they’ve already been expanding in the city.

Columbia submitted a bid for its Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, to be built as part of the university's $6 billion Manhattanville campus currently rising on 17 acres in an industrial pocket of West Harlem. The institute would occupy three buildings, and over 20 years grow to more than 1.1 million square feet, supporting 167 faculty members and more than 2,500 grad students.

NYU would build its Center for Urban Science and Progress in Downtown Brooklyn’s One Metrotech Center, a 60,000 square foot space that would open as early as 2013. It would also expand by 2016 into 370 Jay St., a city-owned building presently leased to the MTA. It would serve 50 researchers and faculty and more than 500 graduate students.

NYU’s program would focus on how cities can improve energy efficiency, reduce congestion and pollution, use data to more effectively inform citizens, enhance security and ensure a high quality of life, school officials said. 

The school would team up with Carnegie Mellon, CUNY, the University of Toronto, the University of Warwick and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay and with corporate partners, including IBM, Cisco Systems, Siemens AG.

With additional reporting by Jill Colvin.