Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cornell University President David J. Skorton, and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie today formally executed a 99-year lease between the City of New York and Cornell Tech, which will pave the way for construction of the Cornell Tech campus on Roosevelt Island, exactly two years after Cornell and academic partner Technion were named the first winners of the City’s Applied Sciences NYC competition. Cornell Tech is a revolutionary model for graduate-level technology education and is establishing itself as a world-leading institution, conferring graduate degrees and conducting research that drives technology, innovation, commercialization and the creation and retention of businesses and jobs in New York City. The land transfer will allow for groundbreaking on the campus to begin in January, with the first classrooms on Roosevelt Island set to open in 2017. Cornell Tech students began classes this fall in space donated by Google at their Chelsea headquarters on Eighth Avenue. Construction of the entire 2 million square foot build-out, which will span 12 acres on Roosevelt Island and house approximately 2,000 students and nearly 280 faculty and researchers, will be completed by 2043. New details and renderings for the first phase of the full campus were also released today, revealing how the physical campus will be designed to support Cornell Tech’s focus on innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration between academia and industry.
Mayor Bloomberg and President Skorton signed the lease documents at a City Hall ceremony to finalize the official land transfer to Cornell Tech, where they were joined by President Lavie, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel, New York City Economic Development Corporation President Kyle Kimball, U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney, Council Member and Borough President-Elect Gale Brewer, Council Member Jessica Lappin, Cornell Tech Vice President Cathy Dove, Cornell Board Chair Robert Harrison, Cornell Provost Kent Fuchs, Cornell Tech Dean Daniel Hutenlocher, Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin, and Hudson Companies Principal David Kramer.
“Our goal has been to make New York City the global capital of technological innovation, and this new campus on Roosevelt Island is a central part of our strategy for achieving it,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. “It is one of the most ambitious and forward-looking economic development projects any city has ever undertaken, and it’s going to help add thousands of new jobs to our economy in the decades ahead.”
“The State was proud to work closely with the Mayor’s Office, RIOC and Cornell because we strongly believe that the path to New York State’s continued economic growth will largely be defined by partnerships that start with our State’s academic institutions,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “This project leverages two of the world’s most notable institutions in a way that will help foster technological innovation within New York State, while creating jobs and spurring business investment.”
“Cornell Tech is the proof that government and universities can work together to innovate and support economic growth, and we will be forever grateful for Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership in making this campus possible,” said Cornell University President David J. Skorton. “The Roosevelt Island campus is being built for the future, to be the place that generates the next big ideas, the new companies and extraordinary talent that will change New York and the world.”
“Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s vision, New York City is fast becoming a leading global center of innovation,” said Technion President Peretz Lavie. “Through the Joan & Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, our international partnership with Cornell Tech, we look forward to helping to further the city’s future as the technology capital of the world.”
Applied Sciences NYC was launched by Mayor Bloomberg in 2011 in an effort to capitalize on the considerable recent growth and even larger opportunity for future growth in technology-related jobs and businesses in New York City, and builds on the Bloomberg Administration’s record of creating a more diversified economy for the City’s future. In July 2011, NYCEDC issued an RFP seeking a university, institution or consortium to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for City capital, access to City-owned land and the full support and partnership of the Bloomberg Administration, and subsequently received seven responses from 17 world-class institutions from around the globe. Cornell Tech was the first of four Applied Sciences projects to be announced by the City in an effort to strengthen New York City’s global competiveness – including its growing technology sector – and ensure that the City establishes itself as a worldwide hub of science, research, innovation and urban solutions for the digital age and the information economy. Cornell Tech was selected for this initiative based on its innovative model for graduate technology education and its emphasis on the intersections between academia and industry and forward-thinking areas of study. When completed, the new Roosevelt Island campus alone will nearly double the number of full-time, graduate engineering students enrolled in leading New York City Master’s and Ph.D. programs.
The four Applied Sciences NYC projects that have been announced by the Mayor include:
• Cornell Tech on Roosevelt Island
• The Center for Urban Science and Progress in Downtown Brooklyn, operated by an international consortium led by New York University
• The Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering at Columbia University
• Carnegie Mellon University’s Integrative Media Program at Steiner Studios in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Collectively, the four Applied Sciences NYC projects are expected to generate more than $33.2 billion in nominal economic activity, over 48,000 permanent and construction jobs, and approximately 1,000 spin-off companies by 2046, fulfilling the initiative’s goal of dramatically transforming the City’s economy for the 21st century. These institutions are already strengthening the City’s position as a hub of science, research, innovation and world-class urban solutions in a global economy driven by technological fluency and innovation.
“Mayor Bloomberg’s Applied Sciences initiative will transform the City’s economy, doubling the number of engineering faculty and graduate students in New York City. These are the skills we need to compete in the knowledge and information economy of the 21st Century,” said Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel. “The closing of the Cornell Tech lease is a major step toward that goal and I congratulate Presidents Skorton and Lavie on this critical moment in the arc of Cornell and the Technion’s history.”
“Over only two years, thanks to an unprecedented model of collaboration across City and State government, top academic institutions, and the private sector, we have transformed Applied Sciences NYC from a visionary idea into a physical reality that is already reshaping our City,” said NYCEDC President Kyle Kimball. “Since selecting Cornell and the Technion as our first winners, in partnership with the Health and Hospitals Corporation we have built and opened a new hospital in Harlem that is currently serving former Coler-Goldwater patients; secured all necessary approvals for the Roosevelt Island campus; selected three additional Applied Sciences winners; and launched classes. Thanks to Mayor Bloomberg’s leadership, this initiative will create jobs, businesses, and technologies, resulting in transformative economic activity that will help secure the City’s future.”
“Cornell Tech is extremely grateful for the unwavering support of the Roosevelt Island community throughout the public review process and we are committed to being great neighbors during construction and beyond,” said Cornell Tech Vice President Cathy S. Dove. “We are also fortunate to have such extraordinary development partners in Forest City Ratner and Hudson/Related to help us make this vision a reality.”
“We are thrilled to be working with Cornell and so many great partners to help create a truly extraordinary new place on Roosevelt Island,” said Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin. “Under Mayor Bloomberg’s watch the City’s tech sector has grown enormously and we are well poised as a company and as a project to continue with that growth at Cornell Tech.”
“With Mayor Bloomberg’s vision guiding the way, Cornell Tech will be at the leading edge of the next generation in tech and applied sciences,” said David Kramer, partner of The Hudson Companies. “We look forward to bringing out-of-the-box thinking to a best-in-class building on the forefront of design and sustainability.”
“I am pleased to join Mayor Bloomberg for this monumental step toward making the Cornell Tech campus a reality. I have strongly supported bringing Cornell Tech to Roosevelt Island from the very beginning of this process,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney. “The campus holds great promise for Roosevelt Island and for New York City, attracting future leaders in the technology and engineering industry. Many of the amenities included in the plans will be open and available to the public, including areas of park space. I commend Cornell for its transparency during the planning process and commitment to being a good neighbor to Island residents.”
“Cornell Tech will generate opportunities and innovations for generations to come, and today we take a step closer to our city’s future,” said Council Member Jessica Lappin.
“I applaud Mayor Bloomberg, Cornell Tech, and the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation on their historic lease signing to build a new applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island,” said Manhattan Borough President-Elect Gale A. Brewer. “This partnership will play a key role in the growth of New York City’s tech sector in the coming years, and will attract new development to Roosevelt Island. I look forward to working with all parties to ensure the success of this venture.”
Academic uses of the campus are anticipated to include classrooms, laboratories, teaming areas, and lecture halls, as well as start-up incubator/accelerator space to encourage entrepreneurship. The remainder of the space in the campus will be devoted to corporate co-location space designed to facilitate the interaction between academia and industry, residential uses, an executive education center, and ancillary uses, such as retail in support of the faculty, staff and students on the campus, as well as the creation of new open space.
While planning is underway for the opening of the permanent campus in 2017, Cornell Tech is already operating in temporary space in Manhattan. The campus master plan, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill with James Corner Field Operations, includes a number of innovative features and facilities across a river-to-river campus with expansive views, a series of green, public spaces, and a seamless integration of indoor and outdoor areas. Cornell Tech will combine cutting edge technologies to create one of the most environmentally friendly and energy-efficient campuses in the world, not only employing, but developing new environmental technology.
A sustainable and innovative academic building will be designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis Architects and, in a significant departure from traditional academic facilities, take its cue from the tech world by offering open-plan space and extensive collaborative workspaces. The phase one academic building, if completed today, would be the largest net-zero energy building in eastern United States, with all of its power generated on campus.
A corporate co-location building, designed by Weiss/Manfredi and developed by Forest City Ratner Companies, will bring together corporate innovators, world-class researchers and energetic start-ups under one roof, a concrete reflection of the campus’ mission of fusing academia and industry to encourage innovation for the public good. Cornell Tech will be an anchor tenant. Renderings of this building and the academic building were released today, and are available at tech.cornell.edu/press/.
Ensuring that the campus is active 24/7, a residential building, designed by Handel Architects and developed by Hudson and Related Companies, will be built to provide convenient and affordable campus housing for students, faculty and staff. It will rely on passive sustainable design features to reduce energy usage and further advance the campus’ sustainability goals.
Plans are also under underway for an Executive Education Center and Hotel, which will help ensure that Cornell Tech is a magnet in New York City for innovation by providing conference, executive program and academic workshop space along with a hotel and destination restaurant.
The 12-acre footprint of the Cornell Tech campus includes the site of the former Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility, which has been replaced by the new state-of-the art, 365-bed, $300 million Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital in Harlem, built by NYCEDC, which is operated by the NYC Health and Hospitals Corporation and provides world-class medical care for New Yorkers in need of highly specialized, complex treatment. Former Goldwater patients were relocated to the new hospital last month. The campus footprint also includes property formerly controlled by the Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation. Cornell Tech has spent the past year working with the Roosevelt Island community on plans to minimize the impact of construction on residents, including deployment of the largest barging program in New York City to remove demolition materials from the site.
Cornell Tech classes began earlier this year in space donated by Google in Chelsea. The school now includes masters and Ph.D. students, world-class faculty and established collaborations with dozens of industry-leading organizations contributing to graduate study in areas such as Computer Science, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Information Science, Operations Research and Business. Cornell Tech also launched its commitment to partnership with New York City’s public school students earlier this year, working with numerous organizations to bring tech education to a diverse audience. A director of K-12 education for Cornell Tech will be announced early in 2014.
Beginning in January, the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute at Cornell Tech will welcome a number of postdoctoral students to the current campus. Later in 2014, the Jacobs Institute will launch a master’s degree program in Connective Media designed to educate the entrepreneurial engineers and technologists needed in the media sector to steward the continuing digital transformation of the industry. Students in this two-year program will receive degrees from both Technion and Cornell. Also in 2014, Cornell Tech will launch a Johnson MBA that will combine business, technology, innovation and entrepreneurship in a fast-paced, hands-on learning environment.
Cornell Tech will host entrepreneurs-in-residence, organize business competitions, provide legal support for startups, reach out to existing companies to form research partnerships and sponsor research, and establish a pre-seed financing program to support promising research. In addition, the campus will structure its on-site tech transfer office to facilitate startup formation and technology licensing. Cornell Tech will also invest $150 million that will be solely devoted to start-up businesses in the City.
In keeping with the focus on community involvement contained in the RFP, the Cornell Tech proposal outlined a number of areas in which the universities will touch the lives of New Yorkers — the type of involvement to which both schools have been committed for many years in their primary campus communities. Plans for community involvement in New York City include the creation of education enhancement programs that will impact a minimum of 10,000 New York City students and 200 New York City teachers per year. Cornell Tech also intends to work closely with PS/IS 217 on Roosevelt Island to enrich their curricula and participate in STEM-oriented programming. They will also work to meet the goals of the City’s HireNYC employment program and develop partnerships for job placement and training. In furtherance of its community outreach goals, Cornell Tech will offer significant programming on and off its campus designed to engage with residents of Roosevelt Island and the larger City. Cornell’s campus plan will further create new public open space on the campus.