Bloomberg News

New York May Host Multiple New Science Campuses, Mayor Says

October 27, 2011

(Updates with comment from nonprofit president in fourth paragraph.)

Oct. 27 (Bloomberg) -- New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the city may select multiple universities as winners in his competition to open new engineering campuses to create jobs.

“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you could have more than one?” Bloomberg said today at a press conference in Manhattan. “First thing is to get one but it would be wonderful if you could get lots of universities to come here.”

Stanford, Cornell, Columbia and New York University are among the institutions bidding for the right to open a campus for technology and applied science. The project may create as many as 400 companies and more than 22,000 jobs in its first 30 years, Bloomberg said when he announced the competition in July. Naming several winners will help spur job creation, said Robert Yaro, president of the Regional Plan Association, a nonprofit organization that advocates for New York’s growth.

“I’m very pleased to hear the mayor is thinking that,” Yaro said in an interview. “The whole idea is to create a new industry cluster around science and engineering. Having more than one institution multiplies the number of people who can generate new ideas and spin off companies.”

The proposals are due tomorrow with results to be announced in January. The mayor of the largest U.S. city invited proposals from universities in July, offering land and as much as $100 million in infrastructure improvements in exchange for a “world-class” science and engineering campus.

‘Off the Charts’

“The interest is off the charts,” Bloomberg said today. “We are just blessed. Think about it, you have the major universities around this country or around the world, many of them fighting to open a campus in New York City.”

Feniosky Pena-Mora, dean of Columbia University’s Fu Foundation School of Engineering and Applied Science, said he welcomes the possibility of multiple winners because it would improve the chances of the project creating successful companies. It might benefit one of New York’s existing institutions, which are competing against schools new to the city, he said.

‘Old and Proven’

“Some people say we have a home-court disadvantage,” Pena-Mora said in an interview. “Some people think bringing something new and shiny is more exciting than something that’s old and proven.”

Columbia is planning an engineering “campus within a campus” at the $7 billion Manhattanville expansion the university is constructing in West Harlem, Pena-Mora said. In 20 years, the university would devote three buildings with 1.1 million square feet and 167 professors to the city project.

“We believe our proposal provides the city with the greatest return on investment in the shortest period of time with the greatest security of delivery,” Pena-Mora said.

Stanford University near Palo Alto, California, would invest $200 million of institutional money for a campus on Roosevelt Island, one of the sites identified by the city. The college would ultimately build out a $2.5 billion project in 30 years for more than 200 faculty members and 2,000 graduate students, according to a letter sent yesterday from Stanford President John Hennessy. Stanford partnered with City College of New York, which would host classes beginning in 2013 as construction began.

Cornell Partner

Cornell University, based in Ithaca, New York, is teaming with Technion in Haifa, Israel. They propose to begin classes in 2012 and expand to 2 million square feet for almost 2,000 students, also on Roosevelt Island, according to an Oct. 18 statement from Cornell.

New York University is leading a group of institutions including Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, the University of Toronto and the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay. They are proposing to create the Center for Urban Science and Research in downtown Brooklyn for more than 500 graduate students, said John Beckman, spokesman for the university.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

--Editors: Donna Alvarado, John Lear

To contact the reporter on this story: Oliver Staley in New York at ostaley@bloomberg.net and Esme E. Deprez in New York at deprez@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jonathan Kaufman at jkaufman17@bloomberg.net


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