Silicon Valley NYC One Step Closer to Reality

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Bloomberg Gates
Mayor Michael Bloomberg (r.) speaks with Microsoft Corp. Co-founder Bill Gates. Bloomberg is working to bring a tech university to New York City.

An east-coast version of Silicon Valley is on its way to New York City, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Monday that his tech dream is one step closer to being realized.

The City Economic Development Corp. has quietly worked since December to lay the groundwork for a new or expanded technology-focused university campus to break ground as soon as early next year on neglected land in one of the five boroughs.

And on Monday, Bloomberg announced that the city has received seven qualified responses to a request for proposals for the Applied Sciences NYC initiative, representing a range of ideas for ways to bring tech jobs and innovation to New York.

Universities are always a major magnet for talent -- and the world's most dynamic companies always gravitate to places where they can find the best and the brightest, Bloomberg said during a press conference Monday. Along with everything we are doing to diversify and strengthen our economy, a new applied sciences campus has the potential to be a real economic game changer that will create jobs immediately, and for generations.

Bloomberg said that he will announce which of the seven plans will be given the go-ahead in January, and that the selection process will be based on a careful consideration of how much each project would benefit the city and how few resources the city would have to commit to bring the plans to fruition.

The selected university, institution or consortium will develop and operate a new or expanded tech campus in the city, for which the city will provide free land and up to $100 million in capital spending.

Bloomberg made the announcement at the headquarters of NextJump, a 120-employee, city-based firm that develops technology for corporate loyalty and rewards programs. The location was selected to draw attention to the already-growing tech industry of New York City, which is home to hot web entities like FourSquare and Gilt.com and a wide range of first-class research facilities.

He was joined at the press conference by Deputy Mayor Robert Steel, who said the responses demonstrate New York's viability as a tech hub.

The strength of these seven proposals is the latest of evidence of confidence in New York City's future, Deputy Mayor Steel said. While there is significant work to be done to evaluate these proposals and select a winner or winners, we are humbled and pleased by the academic community's response to Applied Sciences NYC.

The seven proposals, which would create new facilities between 400,000 and two million square feet with the investment of hundreds of millions of dollars, were from the following institutions and for the following sites:

  • Amity University (Governor's Island)
  • Carnegie Mellon University/Steiner Studios (Brooklyn Navy Yard)
  • Columbia University (Manhattanville)
  • Cornell University/Technion-Israel Institute of Technology (Roosevelt Island)
  • New York University/University of Toronto/University of Warwick (UK)/The Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay/City University of New York and Carnegie Mellon (Downtown Brooklyn)
  • New York Genome Center/Mount Sinai School of Medicine/Rockefeller University/SUNY Stony Brook (Midtown Manhattan)
  • Stanford University/City College of New York (Roosevelt Island)

The proposals' focuses run the gamut of industries, from information technology to sustainable urban growth, and electrical engineering to public health.

This is another significant step in what is proving to be one of the most exciting projects the city has undertaken in the past decade, said U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer. The schools who have put in bids -- from our city and state, from across the country, and from around the world -- are the best of the best, and makes clear once again that for those who are focused on the future, New York is the place to be.

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