Silicon Alley U

At Bloomberg Presser, Details Emerge Re: NYU’s Applied Sciences Center in Downtown Brooklyn

The big question: Where's the money coming from?
nyucampus  At Bloomberg Presser, Details Emerge Re: NYU’s Applied Sciences Center in Downtown Brooklyn

NYU's initial proposal for a tech campus at 370 Jay St.

This morning, we reported that the second-place winner in the tech campus stakes is NYU. We’ve known since January that the university was the leading contender, but that negotiations were bogged down over financing–specifically, the uncertain costs involved with revamping the MTA-owned 370 Jay Street. But it appears the various parties have reached some sort of agreement: At 1PM, Mayor Bloomberg joins NYU President John Sexton to announce a partnership to build an “applied sciences center in Downtown Brooklyn.” We’re live-blogging that announcement below; you can also catch the livestream here.

2:15p.m. And with that, the CUSP-related portion of our program comes to a close. In the meantime, congratulations and thank-yous continue to roll forth.

State Senator Daniel Squadron released a comment:

For years we’ve pushed to put 370 Jay to use, and, since last fall, we’ve urged an agreement that would allow NYU and NYU-Poly to build a Center for Urban Science and Progress in the space.

Now, by bringing a world-class institute to Brooklyn, we’ll be able to bring Brooklyn’s dynamic talent and vibrant tech scene to the world. And by finally putting the nearly-abandoned 370 Jay to use, Downtown Brooklyn will take another huge step forward.

Council Member Stephen Levin:

The Brooklyn Tech Triangle is quickly becoming the envy of cities from here to Silicon Valley.  With DUMBO on one corner and the Brooklyn Navy Yard on another, NYU CUSP joins NYU Poly and MetroTech Center to solidify the Downtown Brooklyn corner of the Tech Triangle.

2:11p.m. Does Mayor Bloomberg hope something as revolutionary as telegraph (invented at NYU, apparently) comes through CUSP? After several jokes about his advanced age, the mayor turns the podium over to President Sexton, who promises that, “There will be a lot that will come out of this that will effect people’s lives over and above the economic impacts.”

2:07p.m. Where’s that $15 million coming from? Mr. Pinsky says its a combo of abatements, discounted energy, and potentially funding from EDC’s balance sheet.

2:05p.m. Someone asks whether this’ll help with the talent crunch. The mayor talks a bit about the nationwide lack of STEM talent, grants that the city doesn’t have enough engineers, and says that these efforts “build on each other.”

2:01p.m. Before the questions, El Bloombito makes an appearance.

2:00p.m. And here’s A VC himself, Fred Wilson. He says that, to him, the most interesting part of New York’s rise as tech center has been the corresponding rise of Brooklyn. He predicts that CUSP will be an important catalyst for the borough, adding: “It’s where all these young people who work at these startups live anyway!”

1:55p.m. Why stop with CUSP? Marty Markowitz stands up and only half-jokingly makes a pitch for NYU to locate a whole stand-alone campus in Brooklyn. After continuing the parade of thanks, he imagines a future where Brooklyn competes globally for tech talent and startups and even sneaks in a reference to Dumbo as the future Silicon Valley. (Wither Flatiron?!)

1:50p.m. Christine Quinn offers a slight dig at Cambridge, MA and at the Boston tech scene more broadly: “You’re going down.” She also adds it’s time to figure out a mascot.

1:45p.m. Seth Pinsky steps up with an update on how the applied sciences initiative — it “continues to surpass all of our expectations”–but also takes a moment to thank NYU for being good partners.

1:42p.m. We’re well into the back-slapping portion of our program.

1:38p.m. Transit president Joe Prendergast thinks that perhaps the best part of the deal is that “it’s great for everyone.” He proceeds to wax a little sentimental about letting 370 Jay Street leave the MTA family, remembering the pre-Metrocard money trains that stopped underneath. Now, he says, their priority is maximizing the office space they have, selling what they don’t need, and provide better service.

1:30p.m. The director of CUSP will be Dr. Steve Koonin, former Under Secretary of Energy for Science at the DOE and Cal Tech provost. (He’s also a Brooklyn native, Sexton proudly adds.)

1:28p.m. More detail on the consortium: It’s not just NYU and NYU Poly. Carnegie Mellon, the University of Warwich, and the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay are all partners, though the nature of that partnership isn’t entirely clear yet.

1:25p.m. With that, and after a bit of baseball-related razzing, the mayor cedes the podium to NYU president John Sexton, who is now thanking Bloomberg for his vision and offering a bit of an NYU history lesson involving the Erie Canal. Before it was a canal, it was an idea someone had to make happen.

1:24p.m. Bloomberg says they want to build more tech campuses, and they’re still in talks with other universities to see what they can make happen. CMU is also a partner in CUSP, he adds.

1:20p.m. Some numbers: The city estimates the project will create 2,000 construction jobs, then 900 permanent jobs. It’s not just open to PhDs, either–“They’ll be jobs that I can get,” he cracks, adding, “They need a mayor, don’t they?” Someone getting worried about the future? The city will be contributing “$15 million in value,” and they’ll be working with the MTA to speed the building’s transition. Estimates say the campus will spin out 200 companies over the next 30 years.

1:17p.m. Trumpeting the benefit to Brooklyn, Bloomberg offers a shout out to Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson, who is one of the 14 speakers.

1:15p.m. Bloomberg opens with the news that there are no fewer than 14 speakers, which he takes as a metric of the announcement’s importance and popularity. (No one wanted to attend the smoking ban announcement, he adds.) The announcement: Over the next 5 years, 370 Jay Street will be transformed into a “cutting-edge” center for research and science, dubbed the Center for Urban Science and Progress. He adds that they had always hoped for more than one winner.



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