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Forest City Ratner Tapped to Build Cornell Tech's Roosevelt Island Campus

By Victoria Bekiempis | June 24, 2013 9:31pm | Updated on June 25, 2013 9:06am
 The developer behind the Barclays Center and other major NYC projects will build the school's first "corporate co-location" building, officials announced Monday, June 24 2013.
Forest City Ratner Partners With Cornell Tech
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ROOSEVELT ISLAND —  A planned new graduate school campus for Cornell Universtiy, dubbed Cornell NYC Tech, will get a boost from a partnership with a well-known New York City developer, officials from the Ivy League college said Monday.

Forest City Ratner Companies, which is behind many high-profile projects, such as the Barclays Center, will develop the school's first "corporate co-location" building — which brings together different businesses "at the heart of the campus," which is expected to open in 2017, Cornell announced in a statement.

"Co-location" aims to facilitate "interaction between academia and industry," they said.

Forest City Ratner made headlines recently because of its bid for the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area. In addition to the academic partnership, the company will also be the campus's "master developer, overseeing development of the first academic building, the open space and related infrastructure for the first phase of the campus," Cornell said.

The building — slated to be designed by the "award-winning architecture, landscape and urbanism firm" Weiss/Manfredi — will feature some 200,000 square feet to be used by both start-ups and business stalwarts.

Both Cornell and Forest City are enthused about collaborating, they said.

“This level of private sector investment in the campus, and, upon completion of our finalizing the details, the participation of a great partner in Forest City Ratner, validates the campus’ enormous economic development potential for New York and ensures that we will have a vibrant mix of activities when the campus opens in 2017,” Cathy Dove, Vice President of Cornell Tech, said in a statement.

“We expect that leading-edge companies large and small will be drawn to the innovation and energy of Cornell Tech, helping to accelerate the already rapid growth of New York’s tech sector.”

Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin had similar sentiments.

"Forest City Ratner is thrilled to partner with Cornell Tech on the creation of a world class innovative campus that will drive the growth of New York's tech sector and economic development in the city for years to come," she said in a statement.

And Ashley Cotton, a spokeswoman for Ratner, added: "We're betting on the city — jobs, innovation, and the economy."

"We think this is a really game-changing project and we're happy to be a party of it," she said.

Cornell Tech's "beta" class of computer science masters students began in January 2013 — in Chelsea workspace donated by Google.

Officials expect to break ground on Tech's permanent home, on a piece of Roosevelt Island once home to the Coler-Goldwater Specialty Hospital, in early 2014.

The campus is slated to open three years later and accommodate 2,000 full-time grad students.

Cornell has long hoped that the campus will be the largest net-zero energy facility in the area — making as much energy as it uses by employing green technology, such as solar panels, officials said.