Wednesday, February 20, 2013

NYU Applied-Sciences Institute Begins Work in Brooklyn

New York University and the city have struck a deal to create a new applied-sciences institute in downtown Brooklyn that will focus on technology to help cities. The NYU Center for Urban Science and Progress is part of a broader initiative to make the city more competitive as a technology hub. NYU will soon commence a 5-year renovation of the 460,000-square-foot building. at 370 Jay Street, which for many years served as the headquarters of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. While the renovation is under way, the school will lease space elsewhere Brooklyn and accept its first class this fall.

The Center for Urban Science and Progress Building (CUSP) at 370 Jay Street will be a striking new emblem for Downtown Brooklyn’s emergence as a center for innovation, and part of the borough’s “Technology Triangle.”

The institute will research and create technology to address issues including infrastructure, energy efficiency and traffic congestion. It will grant academic degrees in engineering and sciences.

NYU is teaming up with the City University of New York, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Toronto, University of Warwick and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay. Corporate partners in the institute include IBM, Cisco Systems, Siemens AG, Consolidated Edison and Xerox.

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.

NYU will receive $15 million of city benefits in the form of tax breaks and energy savings, while contributing $50 million toward the cost of relocating MTA equipment. NYU paid an additional $10 million to move the New York Police Department, which had also occupied a portion of the building. The MTA and NYPD began moving out of the last fall.

"Over the next five years, 370 Jay Street will be transformed into a cutting-edge center for research and science that will give another huge boost to our city's economy,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a statement. NYU will spend up to $750 per square foot on the renovation, and expects to complete construction by early 2017.

The deal with NYU represents a largely expected bonus to the mayor's ballyhooed tech-campus competition. After the city chose Cornell last year as the big winner to receive over $100 million in cash and prime land to build an applied sciences graduate school on Roosevelt Island, officials quickly turned their focus to NYU.

Its proposal for a campus in downtown Brooklyn fit nicely with visions by the city and borough boosters to create a thriving tech hub in the area. In the meantime, the university will lease up to 60,000 square feet of space elsewhere in downtown Brooklyn and in September 2013 will accept its first class at the new center, which it calls CUSP for short.

The school is a partnership between NYU and NYU-Poly and some of the world's leading academic institutions and private companies. It will focus on research and development of technology to address challenges facing cities, including infrastructure, tech integration, energy efficiency, traffic and public health.

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