Silicon Alley U

Safety School? As Stanford Says ‘See Ya!’ Bloomberg Hops in Bed with Big Red

Gleaming the cubes.

On Monday, the lobby of the Weill Cornell Medical College, which resides on a particularly gray stretch of the Upper East Side, was crawling with men and women in wooly blazers dotted with “carnelian” buttons—the technical name for the maroon hue that invariably moves Cornell students to chant some version of “Go Big Red!”

Inside the auditorium, as an assembly of press, pols, and local technorati waited for Mayor Bloomberg to appear, a giant projector flashed a mosaic of the Cornell University logo.

The news had been leaked to every major news outlet by midnight on Sunday; there was no point in being coy. Read More

Silicon Alley U

New York Times Identifies Anonymous Cornell Alum Who Donated $350 M. Towards the Tech Campus

Mr. Feeney via the Cornell Chronicle

Looks like Sandy Weill will have to be okay with having only two Cornell institutions named after him. The New York Times just outed the Big Red enthusiast responsible for a $350 million anonymous donation towards Cornell and Technion’s proposed applied sciences campus. The individual is 80-year-old Charles F. Feeney who made his billions running the Duty Free Shoppers Group. The donation was made through Atlantic Philanthropies, an organization founded by Mr. Feeney.

Well that explains the duty free joke during today’s presser announcing Cornell and Technion as the winner. Early in the presentation, Technion president Peretz Lavie said he was told on Friday afternoon to buy a ticket for New York. When Betabeat asked whether that meant the decision wasn’t made until Friday (after Stanford dropped out of the race), Mayor Bloomberg quipped: Read More

Silicon Alley U

Bloomberg Reported to Announce Cornell the Winner of the $100 M. Tech Campus Bid

via Belsky Bits

Who knew a request for proposal to build a tech campus would offer such edge-of-your-seat drama? Late Sunday night, the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Bloomberg, and the New York Times all put out stories saying that Cornell won the bid to build a tech campus on Roosevelt Island. Mayor Bloomberg will reportedly make the announcement Monday.

This latest development caps a tumultuous 72 hours in the year-long process of trying to build an engineering mecca that would transform New York into the next Silicon Valley. On Friday afternoon, Stanford–widely thought to be a front-runner and openly courted by Mayor Bloomberg–abruptly announced that it was dropping out of the race. Hours later, Cornell announced an anonymous $350 million donation towards its applied sciences campus proposal. Read More

shameless rumormongering

Rumors & Acquisitions: Reactions to Stanford Dropping Out of the Race


Stanford totally dissed New York City today by dropping its bid to build a tech campus on Roosevelt Island. What happened to all the lovey-dovey intercoastal necking that was so irritating to local contenders for the project? The city repeatedly highlighted the bid from the prestigious Stanford in speeches and press releases. But did Bloomie then say Stanford was “desperate” to build a campus in New York, during a talk at MIT? The negotiations fell apart suddenly; Stanford’s delegation was in New York and reportedly negotiating as late as yesterday. An announcement by Stanford took its competitors by surprise. Even the city did not have a statement ready, suggesting perhaps even they didn’t know. All signs point to: the city dropped the ball.

Fred Wilson was pleased; but what did the Twittersphere think? Turns out, most were sad to see Stanford go. Read More

Silicon Alley U

From Albany, With Love: Cuomo’s Council Wants to Help with Bloomberg’s Tech Campus

Cornell's rendering on Roosevelt Island.

Mayor Bloomberg isn’t the only one with a gleam in his eye when it comes to plans to build an applied sciences campus in the five boroughs. Albany wants to help the mayor get the project (a shining achievement in a troubled third-term) under way before he’s out of office.

To that end, the state economic development council Governor Cuomo put together to promote economic growth in New York City has declared the campus a “priority project.” Crain’s New York reports that the council of two dozen leaders in business, labor, and government plans on asking Albany for $40 million.

None of that money has been earmarked for the campus specifically, but the state might be able to assist in other ways. Read More

Silicon Alley U

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


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

Last, But Not Least, of the Tech Campus Proposals: Columbia Takes Manhattanville!

Northwest Corner Science and Engineering Building opened Dec. 2010, last site of Columbia's core Morningside Heights campus

Columbia narrowly snuck details about its tech campus proposal out yesterday before today’s deadline for RFPs. After which all contenders must remain silent. To make up for the procrastination, however, the university threw a quote from The Atlantic into the last slide of its executive summary. Something about human progress, social innovation yadda yadda economic growth?

Stanford and Cornell, who is partnering with Israel’s Technion, have both shown the world their specs, which take the city up on its offer to build an engineering mecca on Roosevelt Island. But like NYU, Columbia is opting for a different location, one that it’s already developing: Manhattanville. 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

Get Ready for a Tech Campus PR Blitz! Starting with Cornell and Technion’s Shmancy Net-Zero Energy Building


After months of public jockeying and lobbying strategic consulting, this Friday marks the final deadline for applications to build a tech campus that will transform New York into the next Silicon Valley. That means you can expect five days of attempts at showstopping revelations from the universities. Think of it like an Advent Calendar, except with building details instead of candies and a chance to build on city-owned land instead of the birth of baby Jesus.

Cornell is first out of gate with its announcement this morning that its proposed tech campus, which it is building in a 50/50 partnership with Israel’s Technion, will feature the “largest net-zero Energy building in eastern United States,” at least according to its PR firm, BerlinRosen. 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