Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Roosevelt Island Another Step Closer To Becoming Silicon Island - Mayor Bloomberg Releases Applied Sciences RFP Seeking A World Class Science and Engineering University For New York City

 Image From NYC EDC Applied Sciences RFP

Reported earlier this week that Roosevelt Island may be one step closer to becoming Silicon Island and the potential home of the next Google, Facebook or Foursquare with the upcoming release of New York City's Request For Proposals (RFP) for a new high-tech, state-of-the-art Applied Sciences and Engineering University

Today at a Crains New York Business Conference on the Future of New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced:
... This morning, we released a Request for Proposals to universities near and far. Our offer is straightforward: We will provide prime New York City real estate - at virtually no cost, plus up to $100 million in infrastructure upgrades, in exchange for a university's commitment to build or expand a world-class science and engineering campus here in our city. We are offering sites at three possible locations, all of them under-utilized, and all of them overflowing with potential: Governors Island; the Navy Yard; and Roosevelt Island.

"This is not the first time government has offered land and funding in exchange for university development. Governments around the world are not only offering American universities land - they are offering to pick up all capital and operating costs associated with an expansion on their soil. They recognize how important universities are to economic growth - because they have seen it happen here in America.

"In 1862, the U.S. government created a land grant program for the creation of new universities. President Lincoln and Congress sought to promote innovation and expertise in agriculture and engineering - because they knew those fields were critical to the nation's economic growth. And how right they were. Cornell, MIT, Cal-Berkeley, the University of Michigan, and so many major universities grew out of that land grant program, and along with them came pioneering discoveries that helped America become the world's largest economy....
Mayor Bloomberg's full prepared remarks for the Crains Conference are here.

Stanford University, one of the interested schools, has already made it clear that they want to develop a world class science and engineering campus right here on Roosevelt Island.

Image of Stanford's Proposed Roosevelt Island Site Plan From Stanford's You Tube Presentation

Here's a video of Stanford's Plan for a Roosevelt Island Campus. Why does Stanford like Roosevelt Island as a site for it's New York City Campus?
... Vice President for Land, Buildings, Real Estate Robert Reidy offered a more detailed view of how a campus in New York might actually look. First, he briefly outlined why Stanford preferred a Roosevelt Island out of four possible sites: Staten Island, Governors Island, Brooklyn Naval Yard, and Roosevelt Island. Staten Island was remote, Governors Island has bad infrastructure, and the Brooklyn site was industrial zoned, but the Roosevelt site worked well, since it was close to both Manhattan (center of NYC) and Queens (place for cheap expansion and start-ups).

Roosevelt Island would have a 10 acre site in close proximity to Manhattan, with the Queensboro Bridge going over it. It has good subway connection and an interesting tram system, but poor car access...
An excerpt from New York City's press release on today's Applied Sciences RFP:
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert K. Steel and New York City Economic Development Corporation President Seth W. Pinsky today announced the City has issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Applied Sciences NYC, the City’s initiative to build or expand a state-of-the-art engineering and applied sciences campus in New York City. The RFP is the next step in the initiative – unveiled in December 2010 – that seeks a university, institution or consortium to develop and operate a new or expanded campus in the City in exchange for access to City-owned land – at the Navy Hospital Campus at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the Goldwater Hospital Campus on Roosevelt Island, or on Governors Island – and the full support and partnership of the Bloomberg Administration. The City is also prepared to make a significant investment in site infrastructure, offering up to $100 million in a competitive process designed to select the proposal that yields the most benefit to the City for the lowest commitment of City resources. The City expects that any public contribution will be matched several times over by resources raised by the winner or winners themselves.

Applied Sciences NYC will be a critical driver of the further diversification of New York City’s economy, generating billions of dollars in economic activity, spinning off hundreds of new companies, and creating nearly 30,000 jobs, according to an economic impact analysis. Responses to the RFP will be due in the fall and a winner will be selected by the end of 2011. The opening of the first phase of the project is anticipated for 2015. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement today in a keynote address at the Crain’s New York Business 2011 Future of New York City conference in Manhattan.

“New York City has a history of planning for and investing in its future to ensure it will be brighter than its past. Today, we are looking far into the future once again, and launching one of most promising economic development initiatives in the City’s long history,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “During the 1980s and 90s, Silicon Valley – not New York – became the world capital of technology start-ups, and that is still true today. But if I am right – and if we succeed in this mission – it won’t be true forever. The Applied Sciences NYC initiative will serve as a major catalyst for New York City’s local economy for decades, generating billions of dollars in economic activity through the creation of hundreds of new businesses and tens of thousands jobs for New Yorkers.”...

... The Applied Sciences NYC initiative was launched at the end of 2010, with the issuance by NYCEDC of a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) that received 18 responses from 27 top-tier institutions around the world. The RFEI responses contained proposals for hundreds of millions of dollars in private investment and significant increases to the number of applied sciences and engineering graduate students expected to be produced in New York City. They also included a variety of ideas about what types of science the City should be focusing on, ranging from environmental sciences to nano-engineering. Many of the proposals included wet and dry labs as well as space for teaching, housing, and recreation. The proposals indicated primary interest in the Brooklyn Navy Yard site, the Roosevelt Island site, and the site on Governors Island, as well as a number of privately-owned sites.
Here is the full press release and entire copy of the Applied Sciences NYC Request For Proposals. The section of the RFP describing the Roosevelt Island Goldwater Hospital site begins on page 50.

Image of Goldwater Site From NYC EDC RFP Page 56

Can you imagine how Stanford, or any other University's presence might change Roosevelt Island?

More information available from previous posts.