Everyone thought the decision as to who would build the new applied sciences campus in the city would be made known in January. But after Stanford pulled out of the race for a grant to build a tech campus in New York City Friday afternoon, things happened fast. Shortly after Stanford’s surprise announcement, Cornell University, another top contender, announced it had received a $350 million anonymous donation earmarked for the campus. Then over the weekend, news leaked that Cornell’s proposal, submitted in conjunction with Technion, Israel’s Institute of Technology, had been chosen (in line with the affinity between the tech scenes in Israel and New York).
Cornell and Technion proposed a campus of 2.1 million square feet with classrooms, laboratories, housing, and a conference center at the city-owned Goldwater Hospital site, on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, according to the city.
“I’m thrilled that Cornell-Technion University will engineer our city’s economic future on Roosevelt Island. This is a game changer for our city. I look forward to working with Cornell-Technion University and local residents in the months ahead to build the most vibrant, successful campus possible,” City Council member Jessica Lappin said.
4:09 p.m. The press conference is over. “This really is a wonderful day for New York,” the mayor reminded everyone.
— NYC Mayor’s Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) December 19, 2011
4:07 p.m. “Is this the greatest achievement of your ten years as mayor?” Who asked that? Bloomie plant? The mayor says his two daughters are his greatest achievement, and this is a great thing for New York City but there have been other great things for New York City. Great question bro.
4:06 p.m. A reporter asks why the decision came early. Because the proposal was so strong, Mr. Pinsky said. Mr. Bloomberg noted that the mayor’s office has been looking at the proposals for months and is still in discussions with three other schools.
4:04 p.m. The check hasn’t been signed yet, but the proposal is getting the full $100 million that was offered, even though Mr. Bloomberg had said preference would be given to cheaper proposals.”We’ve committed the $100 million to this site,” Mr. Bloomberg said. 4:01 p.m. Dennis M. Walcott, Chancellor of New York City Public Schools, scoots up to the podium for a moment. “The visions of sugarplums is dancing in my head right now!” Cornell drops its press release. “MAYOR BLOOMBERG, CORNELL PRESIDENT SKORTON AND TECHNION PRESIDENT LAVIE ANNOUNCE HISTORIC PARTNERSHIP TO BUILD A NEW APPLIED SCIENCES CAMPUS ON ROOSEVELT ISLAND.”
3:59 p.m. Question about the incubator facilities. “We intend to have incubation facilities right as part of the campus complex.” Teacher training on Roosevelt Island and throughout the city for techie K-12 education.
3:56 p.m. We’re on questions. The campus would nearly double the number of engineers graduating every year, Mr. Pinsky said.
3:53 p.m. Nitasha reports from the ground that Cornell put up $1.5 billion and is planning a “pay as you go” operation, with reveue streams from tuition. LocalResponse’s Nihal Mehta is standing in the back of the room, she notes.
3:52 p.m. Seth Pinsky of EDC thanks everyone; this is an “Erie Canal moment for our city,” as in could create economic advantages for New York for “many generations to come.” Carnegie Mellon announces it will continue to work on its proposal for a tech campus in Brooklyn.
3:46 p.m. David Karp is talking.
3:44 p.m. Bloomie says the campus could have water taxis. Then Ms. Lappin takes the podium. “We’re very happy to hear you talk about water taxi service. That’s something we’ve been lobbying for a very long time,” she said.
3:42 p.m. Mr. Stringer: “We are a city on the move and I would not want to be the mayor of Silicon Valley today because here we come.”
— Technion Israel (@TechnionLive) December 19, 2011
3:39 p.m. Scott Stringer, Manhattan borough president. How many elected officials get to speak at this thing? We haven’t even gotten to City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin yet, and she led a Facebook Twitter and email campaign to bring the campus to Roosevelt Island, and hundreds of New Yorkers responded, according to a press release.
3:33 p.m. Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, of the 14th District which includes Western Queens, the East side of Manhattan and Roosevelt Island, takes the stage to say some generic boostery things. “We are the center of many areas, finance, media, healthcare… now we’re going to be the center of high tech.” Oh hey, the campus has a Twitter account! “Serkan Piantino, super early Facebook engineer is here,” reports Nitasha.
3:30 p.m. Showing a video of aerial renderings. “Wowwwwwwwww,” reports Betabeat’s Nitasha Tiku over Gchat. “Video looks very cool. It’s like a scene from AI. The Spielberg movie.” The video plays; dramatic music. Reporter flashbulbs. “The idea is to set up the opportunity for spontaneous interaction between people, between organizations both academic and corporate, and make it a living laboratory,” Mr. Skorton said, likely a reference to the oft-lauded “serendipity” that happens in Silicon Valley (guy behind you at the bike store is a Googler, taxi driver has a startup, etc.).
3:26 p.m. The campus will offer masters degrees from its “hubs” as well as dual PhD from Cornell and Technion, Mr. Lavie said. “We decided to go away from the traditional structure of a university,” he said. “Instead of having faculties we are going to have hubs, and the hubs will be flexible. You can see now the first three hubs we have envisioned on Roosevelt life, the healthier life hub, the connective media hub, and the built environment hub.”
3:24 p.m. Mr. Skorton talking about attracting talent now. “Very importantly, we need to retain them in New York City, as many as possible for as long as possible,” he said. There are 4,654 views on the Cornell livestream of the presser.
3:20 p.m. Mr. Skorton again and Mr. Lavie presenting infographics to illustrate the synergy between the two institutions. “We envision a ring of companies around the campus,” said Mr. Lavie, in order to mentor and employ students.
3:16 p.m. Technion president Peretz Lavie found out he got the job on Friday, when he got a call saying he needed to come to the event. “We are not going to have an extension of the Technion or the Cornell, we are going to have something new,” he said.
3:13 p.m. Obligatory joke about hiring Bloomberg after his term is up. Thanks, Cornell president David Skorton. “This is not a time for a touchdown dance for Cornell or Technion. This is a time for a touchdown dance for New York City.” Let’s see one!
3:10 p.m. “Incredibly aggressive schedule;” first programs will be running in a few months in 2012. The city is also still negotiating with NYU, Columbia and Carnegie Mellon, to help them realize their proposals in some way, Mr. Bloomberg said.
3:08 p.m. Still the mayor, although he’s handing it over to the schools soon. Talked about Cornell’s history of entrepreneurship and Technion’s presence in New York City, including 5,000 employees mostly at its medical center. “The Technion brings international star power… which is fitting because we are the most international city.”
3:06 Part of the proposal includes a $150 million fund for startups that stay in New York for three years.
3:04 p.m. The tech campus will generate more than $23 billion in economic activity over next three decades, the mayor said, as well as generate 20,000 construction jobs and 8,000 permanent jobs. He says the campus will spin out naturally into Long Island City and Queens. Talking about how Cornell and Technion proposal was the best, “boldest.”
3:01 p.m. David Karp, Alan Patricof and Sandy Weill are in attendance.
3:00 p.m. 10,000 pages if you added up all the proposals from all schools, says Mr. Bloomberg. Official award to “two world-class institutions,” Cornell and Technion.
2:57 p.m. The mayor takes the podium. Over the past ten years, the mayor’s office has worked hard to diversify the economy. The press’s eyes glaze over every time they heard about the five borough economic diversification plan but it was not a joke, it is something that has really happened. Long windup here, Bloomie. Quotes recently-disproven statistic that NYC has surpassed Boston in VC investment.
2:41 p.m. The presser hasn’t started yet. Betabeat’s Nitasha Tiku reports Julie Wood, deputy press secretary, is wearing a
red dress [Press Secretary Stu Loeser writes in with a correction: the dress was orange, and not an homage to Big Red. Apparently we were blinded by all the carnelian]; Cornell president is wearing a gold Apple pin “People are lined up against the walls to the side and back. Cornell sent a bus, an Ithaca campus-to-campus bus.” Leslie Torries President of the Roosevelt Island Operating Coorporation is present. There is an Israeli flag next to the American flag. Technion says, on Twitter, “Hello America! :-) We have our Nobel Laureate Dan Sheechtman here. – ##cornellalumni live on http://livestream.com/cornellalumni.”