As we expected, with RFPs due tomorrow, this week has turned into something of a PR blitzkrieg to win a chance to build on an applied sciences mecca on city-owned land. After all, once the proposals are in, the competing schools are forbidden to speak publicly about their proposals. Until when? we asked Cornell’s PR wrangler Dan Levitan. “Forever!” he said ominously.
Hence yesterday afternoon brought some specs from “StanfordNYC” and NYU’s plan transform the MTA’s former headquarters at 370 Jay St. into a Center for Urban Science and Progress that will “make Brooklyn the urban center of the universe,” as NYU senior vice provost for research Paul Horn told the Daily News.
NYU’s proposal, which the Brooklyn Eagle says is separate from the Brooklyn-based NYU-Poly, calls for center where scientists and engineers would address global urban issues like energy efficiency and traffic congestion–problems New York is contending with regardless of Mayor Bloomberg’s recently-rediscovered love for all things tech. As for picking downtown Brooklyn over Roosevelt Island, Mr. Horn says, “There are a lot of advantages to being there as opposed to isolated somewhere.”
Mr. Horn says NYU could build the center with $20 to $25 million of the $100 million the city has pledged towards the project. That money would cover infrastructure improvements and moving out old MTA equipment. Then NYU plans on spending $450 million on the 200,000 sq. ft. space. Classes would launch at nearby MetroTech in 2013 and then move once the overhaul is complete. 50 faculty from electrical and mechanical engineering to computer science would teach 400 masters students and 100 Phds at CUSP.
The scale of Stanford’s proposal, however, dwarfs NYU’s. The final specs are even bigger than what was reported earlier this month.
According to the press release:
“Stanford’s response to the New York City Economic Development Corp.’s request for proposals calls for the 30-year development of a $2.5 billion, 1.9-million-square-foot campus on Roosevelt Island focusing on graduate-level teaching and research in engineering, technology and entrepreneurship, with an emphasis on transferring discoveries to the marketplace.”
The campus is expected to be home to more than 200 faculty members and 2,000 students. If selected, Stanford will launch a $1.5 billion 10-year fundraising campaign to finance the space, and commit an addition $200 million “that will include a combination of startup costs and an initial endowment to support research on the campus.”
But Bloomberg’s hint that the city might consider picking more than one winner means the selection process might be less of a knock-down, drag-out, and more of a win-win:
“My view is that it doesn’t have to be a competition between them and us. It would not be very costly for the city to figure out what it’s going to do on Roosevelt Island between Stanford and Cornell, and then at 370 Jay, we’ll be fixing up a site they wanted to fix up anyway,” Horn said.
Of course, contenders who are eying the same piece of land on Roosevelt Island still have to Thunderdome it out.