Monday, June 24, 2013

Cornell NYC Tech Announces Forest City Ratner As Corporate Co-Location Building and Master Plan Developer For New Roosevelt Island Campus But Financial And Other Terms Not Yet Finalized - Agreement Must Still Be Reached With Roosevelt Island Operating Corp On Land Conveyance, Barging And Other Issues

Image From Cornell NYC Tech (credit Kilograph)

Received the following Press Release from Cornell NYC Tech this morning:
Cornell NYC Tech today announced a major advancement in its effort to bring industry and academia together on its Roosevelt Island campus with plans to develop its first “corporate co-location” building. This building will house a mix of companies at the heart of the campus, facilitating the interaction between academia and industry that is central to Cornell Tech’s mission. On Thursday, Cornell University’s Board of Trustees approved the plan to move forward with Forest City Ratner Companies as the developer of this building, subject to finalizing plans and terms. Forest City Ratner would also act as master developer, overseeing development of the first academic building, the open space and related infrastructure for the first phase of the campus.

“This level of private sector investment in the campus, and, upon completion of our finalizing the details, the participation of a great partner in Forest City Ratner, validates the campus’ enormous economic development potential for New York and ensures that we will have a vibrant mix of activities when the campus opens in 2017,” said Cathy Dove, Vice President of Cornell Tech. “We expect that leading-edge companies large and small will be drawn to the innovation and energy of Cornell Tech, helping to accelerate the already rapid growth of New York’s tech sector.”

“Cornell Tech is radically re-thinking how industry can collaborate with faculty, students and researchers, and corporate co-location is vital to making that a success,” said Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher. “It was so exciting to launch our academic program this year and it’s equally exciting to see the physical campus coming together in a way that will advance our mission moving forward.”

"Forest City Ratner is thrilled to partner with Cornell Tech on the creation of a world class innovative campus that will drive the growth of New York's tech sector and economic development in the city for years to come," said Forest City Ratner Companies President and CEO MaryAnne Gilmartin. "From Metro Tech to Times Square to Barclays Center and Atlantic Yards, Forest City Ratner has always bet on the growth of our great city and we couldn't be more excited to play a part in this next exciting chapter. With the corporate co-location building Cornell Tech is charting new territory, and we look forward to exceeding expectations with an iconic architectural design by WEISS/MANFREDI.”

The award-winning architecture, landscape and urbanism firm, WEISS / MANFREDI will be the architect of the co-location building, which together with Cornell Tech's flagship academic building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis, will launch the Cornell Tech campus.

“We're excited to partner with Forest City Ratner Companies and Cornell to create a new architectural paradigm that fosters innovation and collaboration,” said Marion Weiss and Michael Manfredi.

Cornell Tech offers a distinctive model of graduate tech education that fuses scientific excellence with real-world applications and entrepreneurship, rooted in the latest academic research. Students, faculty and industry experts learn and work together to develop ideas and create new ventures that have globalimpact.

The corporate co-location building will include up to 200,000 square feet of flexible office space, with a diverse mix of tenants including both start-ups and established companies. There will be a balance of incubator space, research and development labs, corporate innovation centers for bigger companies and rotating space for regional companies to spend time in New York City. The building will include flexible, open floor plans with common spaces to facilitate meetings and serendipitous, informal interactions between students and companies. Cornell Tech will also lease 50,000 square feet in the building, further cementing the connection between academics and industry on campus.

This is another major milestone for the campus. Cornell Tech’s “beta” class of computer science masters students completed its first semester in May in space donated by Google in Chelsea. Cornell Tech is rapidly rolling out new academic programs, recruiting star faculty, developing a distinctive new model of tech entrepreneurship, and designing its permanent campus on Roosevelt Island, which will break ground early next year. In April, Dr. Irwin Mark Jacobs, Founding Chairman and CEO Emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife Joan Klein Jacobs, donated a $133-million gift to Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology to create the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute (JTCII). The JTCII is a key component of Cornell Tech. The funds will help support curriculum initiatives, faculty and graduate students, and industry interactions in a two-year graduate program.

The City's Applied Sciences NYC initiative was designed to capitalize on the considerable growth presently occurring within the science, technology and research fields in New York, and builds on the Bloomberg Administration’s dedication to creating a more diversified and competitive economy for the future. In December 2011, the Cornell and Technion partnership was selected by the City as the first winner of the Applied Sciences competition. When completed, the Roosevelt Island campus will house approximately 2,000 full-time graduate students.
In response to my inquiry about the agreement between Cornell NYC Tech and Forest City Ratner (FCRC), a Cornell NYC Tech Press Spokesperson added:
Financial terms are being finalized ...

FCRC would own the corporate co-location building and be responsible for leasing the space, with Cornell committing to be an anchor tenant essentially.

On the rest of the first phase FCRC would have a fee developer relationship, overseeing development of the first academic building, open space and infrastructure.
What is not widely known about the Cornell NYC Tech project is that it is not yet a done deal. Although NYC has approved the Cornell NYC Tech ULURP application, Cornell NYC Tech must still reach an agreement with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC).  As previously reported:
... Many issues still need to be resolved before Cornell NYC Tech can take possession, begin demolition of the existing Goldwater Hospital and start construction of the new applied sciences and engineering school. Among the issues still to be negotiated with the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) are an agreement with RIOC for land controlled by RIOC that is part of the proposed Cornell campus, the use of barging and temporary concrete plant during the construction process, air and noise pollution monitoring and much more....
Below is an aerial view of the existing Goldwater Hospital campus that is scheduled to be demolished in early 2014 to make way for the Cornell NYC Tech campus. NYC controls the land that is beneath the hospital buildings and extending a perimeter of 5 feet from the buildings. RIOC controls all the other land on the Goldwater campus site between the roads on the outside of the campus (East and West Channel Roads).

Click here for a satellite view of the area.

NYC is giving away for free the land they control to Cornell NYC. RIOC, whose Board of Directors have fiduciary obligations to maintain the financial stability of Roosevelt Island, hopes to receive fair compensation for the land they control which Cornell NYC Tech desires to be part of their campus.

Roosevelt Island's NYC Council Member Jessica Lappin and Cornell NYC Tech VP Cathy Dove addressed this issue during May 8 press conference announcing Cornell's ULURP Application approval. Here's what they had to say.

RIOC has a new President, Charlene Indelicato, who has the backing of NY State Governor Cuomo. She is reportedly a tough, resourceful, experienced and competent real estate negotiator. We will soon know if Ms. Indelicato and the RIOC Board are able to protect the interests of Roosevelt Island as they negotiate with Cornell NYC Tech.