Saturday, October 8, 2011

Five Universities Propose New Campuses In NYC; To Open By Fall 2013

Cornell, Stanford, NYU, Columbia and Carnegie Mellon Universities have each submitted proposals in the citywide competition to build tech campuses for the fall 2013 semester.

The two engineering powerhouses, Cornell and Stanford, have proposed Roosevelt Island campuses. But three other bids—led by New York University, Columbia University and Carnegie Mellon University— have proposed other sites which are strong contenders to be chosen in the multiple winner competition.

New York University is teaming up with Verizon and Apple Computer in their proposal for a downtown Brooklyn campus centered on science and technology. It wants to build an 450,000-square-foot campus at 370 Jay St., a city-owned building that is leased to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. The city’s Economic Development Corp. and the MTA are putting together a request seeking proposals for the site, which currently houses equipment and about 240 MTA employees.

NYU is teaming up with the City University of New York and Carnegie Mellon (which is also the lead on a separate proposal). Corporate partners will be a big piece of the proposal, with IBM serving as a key member of the bid. Cisco Systems, Siemens AG, and Consolidated Edison will also play roles and talks are underway with Xerox and other firms.

The campus, which would be in the shadows of Polytechnic Institute of New York, would initially include about 600 masters and up to 100 Ph.D. students, about 60 faculty and 30 visiting scientists from the industry partners. Students would be admitted for the fall 2013 semester and will expand in future phases via the use of air rights that NYU has in the area. Students at the new campus will use Polytech’s science and engineering labs.

Columbia, which had initially planned to partner with the City University of New York, is flying solo on its proposal. The school is proposing a one-million-square-foot data science institute on its new Manhattanville campus, north of West 130th Street between 12th Avenue and Broadway. Two new buildings would be constructed and an old auto factory would be refurbished.

The new multi-building complex - which is not part of the original Columbia University expansion program announced in 2007 - would focus on new media, smart cities, cyber security, health analytics and finance. It would involve the university’s business, journalism, engineering, international and business schools.

The first phase of the project would include about 100 new faculty members and 1,000 postgraduate students for the fall 2013 semester. The university already has all the permits that would be needed for the construction and that most infrastructure costs have already been built into its Manhattanville expansion plans, meaning Columbia will ask for less than the $100 million the city is making available for infrastructure upgrades.

Carnegie Mellon’s proposal is altogether different. The Pittsburgh-based university is partnering with Steiner Studios to propose an entertainment technology center adjacent to Steiner’s home at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. The site is one of three the city had suggested to prospective applicants in its request for proposals. The school and studio have long had a relationship, with Carnegie Mellon students doing internships at Steiner.

A spokesman for Carnegie Mellon confirmed the university has submitted its bid, but declined to offer details. Douglas Steiner, chairman of Steiner Studios, said the proposal calls for an entertainment technology center like ones Carnegie Mellon created in Pittsburgh with Disney and Google. The initial phase calls for about 450 students in two existing historic buildings, totaling about 150,000 square feet. Additional buildings would be added over time.

“It think it’s a really good fit, considering all the mayor has done in growing the production business in New York City,” Mr. Steiner said. “If we can bring Carnegie Mellon … I think we forever change the relative weight of New York in the production business. The media capital of the world in terms of headquarters is New York, but not production.”

The deadline for submissions to the EDC is Oct. 28. City officials with $100 million in infrastructure money earmarked for the project.