Silicon Alley U

Does Mayor Bloomberg Hold All the Power When It Comes to Deciding Who Will Build the Tech Campus?

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Throughout the drawn-out process to build an engineering mecca to rival Silicon Valley on city-owned land, the NYC Economic Development Corporation has maintained that there was no front-runner. The reason for that, EDC president Seth Pinsky has said repeatedly, is because the committee of government officials, city elders, and entrepreneurs have yet to see the proposals.

It didn’t matter that the Mayor seemed to have a sweet spot for Stanford, because it all depends, said Mr. Pinsky, on what the schools submit to the requests for proposals (RFP).

In the New York Times today, however, the paper reports that, “the decision as to who gets to build what, and where, will ultimately rest with one man“: Mayor Bloomberg. At the half-way marker of his third term which has been marred by cutbacks and managerial missteps, the campus is a potential crown jewel for his legacy. It’s not mere conjecture, even deputy mayor Howard Wolfson tells the Times, “This is going to be a mayoral call, because this is something that is incredibly important to him.”

Betabeat talked to a source familiar with the selection process for clarification. Read More

Silicon Alley U

NYU Wants the Tech Campus to Transform Brooklyn, But Is It a Match for StanfordNYC’s $2.5 B.?

Notice the plethora of subway lines? Ahem. (via NYU)

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. Read More

Silicon Alley U

NYC Tech Campus: Stanford Adds Alumni Starpower With Larry and Sergey

Cali, Cali, is coming, coming

You knew it was coming. Stanford is bring out the big guns as the final deadline approaches for New York City’s new applied sciences campus. In a video posted to StanfordNYC.tumblr, Google’s co-founders rhapsodize about their younger days as computer science PHDs.

“Larry had this crazy idea he was going to download all the links on the web and do something with them,” says Sergey Brin. “It wasn’t entirely clear what.”

“Google is an interesting story,” continues Larry Page. “It’s a good example of the benefits of pure research. We had no idea what we wanted to do.” Read More

Silicon Alley U

Stanford’s Tech Campus Plans Are Here and They’re ‘Spectacular’!

Sorry, Jerry.

With deadlines for proposals to build a tech campus in New York getting perilously close, Stanford went into more detail than ever before at a meeting of the university’s academic senate last night. Lisa M. Krieger from The Mercury News, who attended the meeting, calls the 500-page proposal “spectacular.

The specifics disclosed both help to understand Stanford’s vision in terms of how it relates to the school’s Palo Alto campus and gives some idea of the hoops other applicants have to jump through.

Stanford anticipates three decades of construction at an estimated cost of $1 billion to $2 billion. “The project is so breathtaking in its scope that the application process alone could cost $1 million,” reports the paper. Indeed, other schools Betabeat has contacted have mentioned the cost of hiring design teams and architects to meet the RFP’s specifications. And that doesn’t include the PR firms and lobbyists (to do “consulting” work) that both Stanford and Cornell have put on retainer.

According to Stanford’s plans, by 2045, the campus, which as reported will be on the southern tip of Roosevelt Island, could be home to up to 350 professors and more than 2,000 grad students in science, engineering, and entrepreneurship. Read More

Silicon Alley U

The Political Operative Managing Stanford’s Bid for Tech Campus Also Ran Mayor Bloomberg’s Last Election [UPDATED]

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Almost immediately after hitting publish on a round-up of the latest hubbub over plans to build an engineering campus in New York,  Betabeat got an intriguing tip from an interested party. Apparently Cornell isn’t the only school tapping power players to help their campaign.

“About two weeks ago Stanford hired City Hall ‘fixer’ Bradley Tusk and his consulting firm Tusk Strategies to seal the deal on this Tech Campus bid,” wrote the source. We confirmed the tip with Tusk Strategies, but we needn’t have. The Stanford Daily actually reported the hire in a small item in late September, along with the news that the school had also signed up Edelman, the global public relations firm that also represents Wal-Mart.

Mr. Tusk, the man The Observer called Bloomberg’s “secret weapon,” back in 2010, engineered the mayor’s third term reelection in 2009. Coincidentally, Mr. Tusk was also hired by Wal-Mart earlier this year to the lead the corporation’s push into New York. The New York Times reported that Mr. Tusk, “is still close to the mayor, a strong supporter of Wal-Mart’s campaign.” Read More

Silicon Alley U

Cornell Keeps Gunning for That Tech Campus. But NYU, Columbia, Carnegie Mellon and Stanford Unveil Surprise Plans

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With less than three weeks left until proposals are due to build a Stanford-like engineering mecca on the isle of Manhattan, no one is taking any chances. Rumor may have it that Stanford proper is a lock for the contract. But as Betabeat has reported, a source familiar with the decision-making process says it’s pretty much about the RFP. (Even Mayor Bloomberg’s imprimatur is merely  a “small to medium plus,” said the source.)

Cornell’s PR firm and power lobbyist, hired to help manage the school’s campaign, seem convinced that a little community spirit can’t hurt. This Saturday, October 15th, Cornell will be the only academic sponsor for Next Jump’s Silicon Alley 500 recruiting event on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, matching engineers and engineering students with hot Made in NYC startups like 10gen, Etsy, Boxee, Meetup, SecondMarket, and Tumblr.

Cornell may need the good will. Over the weekend, NYU, Carnegie Mellon, and Columbia all showed a little RFP leg–with proposals that opt for Brooklyn and Manhattanville over Roosevelt Island. And this morning Stanford just announced that it’s partnering with CUNY and City College. Read More

Silicon Alley U

Forget Silicon Alley, Politicians Want Tech Campus in the Middle of the East River to Become ‘Silicon Island’

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Thus far the anticipation index over Michael Bloomberg’s big plan to bring an engineering campus to New York has centered around which university will win the bid. (The mayor’s rather sweet on Stanford, but Cornell is doing a full court press.) While those two duke it out, jockeying for position has swung back over to where, exactly, this campus will be located. NYC EDC has offered up three city-owned plots of land: the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Governors Island, or the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island. And the latter has come out swinging.

At a press conference earlier this week, Councilwoman Jessica Lappin (D-Manhattan) told reporters, “We want Roosevelt Island to be Silicon Island.” But as Capital writer Dan Rosenblum points out, the pitch wasn’t held on the would-be developer mecca, but rather a Manhattan plaza at the end of the Roosevelt Island Aerial Tramway, “the gondola that for many years was the only public transportation available to the island from Manhattan without going through Queens.” (You can now get there via the F train.) A spokeswoman for Ms. Lappin told Capital said they wanted to host the press conference “on the quieter island, but said that they also wanted to make sure reporters would come.” Read More

Silicon Alley U

Stanford Students Don’t Want a New York Campus

Big Mach on Campus

The city will be revealing the RFP tomorrow for its new engineering campus, and if history is any guide the mayor will name drop Stanford at some point during the proceedings. The world’s best known computer science university has been playing public footsy with New York during the ongoing bidding process to build a huge new outpost in the Big Apple. But it seems like Stanford’s student body has other ideas. “West Coast, best coast,” writes Kristi, a sophmore who loves hi-tech, swing dancing and walking backwards talking loudly about how great Stanford is to a bunch of sweaty overweight strangers (ahhh, the student tour guide type).

Yes, admits Kristi, New York is a center for finance, media and fashion, but Stanford epitomizes California’s natural beauty and entrepreneurial spirit. “Why mess with that?” asks Kristi incisively. “Were money, time, and resources no object, this might represent an interesting academic experiment.  However, in my opinion this is an unnecessary venture that is at best an altruistic publicity stunt and at worst an expensive and distracting dilution of the international prestige of our wonderful University.” Read More

Silicon Alley U

Rumors: Stanford, Cornell and Technion Frontrunner for NYC Engineering Campus

The city is set to release it official RFP next week that will shed some more light on the bid to build a new engineering campus in New York. While a winner hasn’t been selected yet, Betabeat has heard that Stanford, who has been playing public footsy with the mayor for some time, is one of the frontrunners. The other two top contenders are Cornell and Technion, the Israel Institute of Technology. Read More