Friday, February 24, 2012

Latest On Roosevelt Island Cornell Technion NYC Applied Sciences andEngineering School - RIOC Planning, CPB 8 Task Force Forming, CommunityBenefits Agreement Meeting - Cornell Planning Hotel/Conference Center,Geothermal Wells 300 Feet Underground and Solar Panels

Image of Proposed Roosevelt Island Cornell Campus From You Tube

What's the latest on the Roosevelt Island Cornell - Technion NYC Applied Sciences & Engineering school? Well, a Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) March 1 Board of Directors meeting Agenda Item includes this:
... Authorization to Take Planning and Related Actions in Connection with the Proposed Applied Sciences Project on Roosevelt Island(Board Action Required � Materials to Follow)...
Community Planning Board 8 (CPB 8), representing Manhattan's East Side and Roosevelt Island, is establishing a Roosevelt Island Cornell - Technion Task Force. According to Roosevelt Island resident and CPB 8 member Jeff Escobar:
... at our last Community Board 8 Full Board Meeting, during our Chair, Nick Viest's, address, our Chair announced it was his intent to convene a specific task force under Community Board No. 8 to manage the review of Cornell's ULURP application before the City. The task force would be comprised of key members from a number of our various existing subcommittees, including the Transportation, Environmental, Roosevelt Island, and Zoning and Development subcommittees.

As you may or may not be aware, one of the specific chartered obligations of the Community Boards is to review, approve and make recommendations to any significant land use proposals and applications before it proceeds to the Department of City Planning, Borough President, City Council and Mayor for review under the codified Universal Land Use Review Procedure. The Charter's intent in requiring ULURP and the Community Board's participation was to establish a standardized procedure whereby applications affecting the land use of the City would be publicly reviewed and established mandated time frames within which application review must take place.

As it relates to Cornell and ULURP, the university must submit its ULURP application by November 10, 2012 or else face a monetary penalty for each day they fail to do so. Because of the tight timeline for the ULURP process to begin, as well as the Chair and Community Board's recognition of the immensity and importance of the Project, the Chair found it fit to call for the task force's quick formation and to ensure that it is comprised of a number of subcommittee and Community Board members, not just a single group or interest. He has also called for Cornell to immediately give a presentation to the Full Board and the Roosevelt Island Community of its development programme, to be held on Roosevelt Island, which we expect to happen within the next few week or so.

As of yesterday, our Chair has asked eleven of the fifty-three Community Board members to serve on the task force, which will be co-chaired by himself and our vice-chair, Jim Clynes (who has been key in mediating as task force chair the contentious Memorial Sloan Kettering project at its 61st and First property, which is currently under review by the Board) . It appears that the chairs of the Transportation, Education, Environmental, and Zoning and Development subcommittees, and every member of the Roosevelt Island subcommittee, has been asked to serve on the task force, as well as a couple of other members who have professional expertise in architecture, real estate and development. All Community Board appointees from Roosevelt Island have been asked to serve, include myself of the Octagon, Larry Parnes of the Rivercross buildings, Ellen Polivy of the original Wire buildings, and former Roosevelt Island resident Patrick Stewart. We will begin meeting in March, with our first meeting to be held on Roosevelt Island (which are always open and welcome for the public to attend). Our Chair will be transmitting further details in the days to come.
City and State reports:
... Cornell officials are planning an April town hall meeting to present local residents their vision for the future. That vision is filled with sloped, glittery buildings, thousands of friendly geek neighbors, maybe the occasional river ferry and a less isolated community better integrated into the rest of New York.

Cathy Dove, newly named vice president of the tech campus and current associate dean of Cornell’s College of Engineering, said there was no time like the present to begin that process.

“You’re talking to the newest community member,” said Dove, who just moved to the Riverwalk building at the island’s southern end—though at first she mistakenly referred to her new home as “Rivergate.”

Dan Huttenlocher, the tech school’s new dean, said community outreach was an essential piece of the entire $2 billion development.

“Community relations is extremely important to us,” Huttenlocher said. “It’s something we view as part of our institutional DNA.”

Like all development projects big and small, the tech campus will need to traverse the city’s land-use process, where community board members and local officials will vet the project and determine its environmental impact.

Residents say they have many questions for Cornell and Technion, such as how much money the institutes are willing to spend to upgrade infrastructure and what they will do to help revitalize the island’s flagging retail sector. Most residents are excited to welcome their new neighbors but are wary about how the campus will affect their self-described “small town” community....
Click here for the entire City and State article.

I learned yesterday that Cornell is in discussions to include an approximately 200 room hotel/conference center and perhaps even a destination restaurant to their Roosevelt Island campus.

Work is progressing on developing the Silicon Island Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for Roosevelt Island organizations with Cornell Technion. As reported previously:
Community benefits agreements are private contracts between community organizations and developers, requiring that the developer take additional actions for public benefit. In theory, CBAs allow groups that are shut out of the normal planning process to make their voices heard.
... The working title for this new coalition in formation is the Silicon Island Development Coalition and will ultimately include representation from each Roosevelt Island building, RIRA, Seniors and Disabled Association, businesses and groups on the east side of Manhattan and other Roosevelt Island stakeholders....
Roosevelt Island resident Jonathan Kalkin is one of the CBA organizers and reports:
Our next meeting is Feb. 28, 2012 (7:30pm) at Westview 625. We would love anyone who has an interest in getting involved in the community benefit agreement to attend. If you represent an Island organization, please attend to get further information about how your organization can help.
It will be interesting to see how Mayor Bloomberg, Governor Cuomo, local politicians, CPB 8, Roosevelt Island Residents Association (RIRA), RIOC, Silicon Island CBA entity and Cornell - Technion manage to work together for the betterment of Roosevelt Island and its residents.

Here's more on Cornell's plan for the Roosevelt Island campus including geothermal wells 300 feet underground and solar panels for net zero energy usage as well as proposed curriculum for the new technology school.

You Tube Video of Science Behind Cornell Roosevelt Island Campus

Gothamist reported that Mayor Bloomberg met with Cornell President David Skorton and Technion President Peretz Lavie at City Hall yesterday though they did not take any questions

Mayor Bloomberg, Cornell President Skorton and Technion President Lavie at City Hall From Twitter

and here is February 16 Press Release from Mayor Bloomberg's office announcing:
... that Professor Daniel P. Huttenlocher, Cornell University’s Dean of Computing and Information Sciences, has been named Cornell Vice Provost and founding Dean of the university’s historic tech campus, home of the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute. Cathy Dove, currently associate dean in Cornell’s College of Engineering, will co-lead the campus as Vice President, and Technion Professor Craig Gotsman will serve as the founding director of the Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at the headquarters of Tumblr, one of the City’s fastest-growing technology companies, was joined by Tumblr CEO David Karp, Dean Huttenlocher, Cathy Dove, New York City Economic President Seth Pinsky, Chief Digital Officer Rachel Sterne, Office of Media & Entertainment Commissioner Katherine Oliver and representatives from Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, Bitly and YouTube.

“New York City is quickly becoming the center of the digital universe, and today’s announcements will help us get there,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “With this fantastic leadership team in place, the tech campus will help us attract and develop more talent to energize our growing tech sector. And our social media platforms will give New Yorkers the information they need on the channels they want to use.”

"Dan Huttenlocher and Cathy Dove employed their extensive knowledge, as well as their well-recognized leadership skills, during every step of the development of our proposal, and they are continuing to drive our effort to bring the new campus to fruition, expeditiously and expertly, for the people of New York,” said Skorton. “And the addition of Professor Craig Gotsman as director of the campus’s Techion-Cornell Innovation Institute brings added luster to this impressive team. Cornell and the city are very lucky to have such talented people leading this new – and new type of –  campus.”

Huttenlocher, Dove and Gotsman were instrumental in formulating and promoting the winning proposal and working with the city during the selection process for the new state-of-the-art graduate campus, to be operated in partnership with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. Inaugural instruction will begin in off-site locations in the city in September of this year, with groundbreaking scheduled for 2015 and on-campus operations slated to begin in 2017. Huttenlocher and Dove will oversee the formation of the environmentally sustainable campus, whose operational costs are expected to exceed $2 billion over 30 years; the building of the campus’s expert faculty, planned to be about 280 strong in 30 years; its highly selective graduate student population, targeted at about 2,500 by 2043; as well as capital construction of the 2 million square-foot campus. The campus’s innovative academic “hub” concept, which Huttenlocher helped develop, will feature curriculum and research organized across multiple disciplines and directed toward particular sectors of New York City’s economy....
Click here for entire press release.

The Cornell Daily Sun reports on some at Cornell who object to the Roosevelt Island Cornell Technion partnership. According to the February 21 Cornell Daily Sun:
Supported by several professors, a pro-Palestinian student organization is calling on the University to end its partnership with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology. The group alleges that the Technion is implicated in war crimes as a result of its involvement in Israeli military research and development.

In response to a petition started by the group online, the Cornell Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday posted a thank-you letter to University administrators for forging the partnership. The two universities will build a tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City over the next 30 years.

The petition, written by Students for Justice in Palestine, criticizes the Technion’s relationship with two of Israel’s major defense corporations, Elbit Systems and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems. It calls the Technion “a full participant in the actions carried out by the Israeli military” that oppresses Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Provost Kent Fuchs said the partnership is intended to foster academic collaboration and was not intended as a political statement in support of the Israeli government...
Click here for the entire Cornell Daily Sun article.


mogensjp said...

I hope Cornell will maintain the apparent planning for "no parking on  Campus roads" and show RIOC that it can be done.

residential said...

While I love the honor that this agreement has brought to our island, I am really worried about the lack of any mention of adding more access to mass transit. We are barely able to move the residents and workers off the island due to the sever overcrowding on the F train and tram. There is an E train tunnel directly under the Cornell campus and the plans should include adding a station to that subway line. It should also include plans for expanding Motorgate rather than building underground parking on the campus so that traffic is not increased on Main Street.

Westviewer said...

How much does it cost to build a new subway station?  I would love to see that happen, although I can't imagine that it ever will.   It would be cheaper to construct an elevator from the 59th St. bridge to the island to allow people to walk across the bridge, but how many people would actually do that?  That isn't cost-effective either. 

theohiostate said...

Maybe they'll push to bring the Water Taxi here - as planned.  They have influence and could make that happen.  Let's see.

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