Mayor Announces 2nd Tech Campus for NYC

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Mayor Michael Bloomberg is marking another milestone in the Applied Sciences NYC initiative. He announced Monday that a second proposal for a high-tech campus will go forward in downtown Brooklyn.

The Center for Urban Science and Progress will open in 2013 and is spearheaded by NYU, with numerous collaborators in academia and industry, including IBM and Cisco.

"With the addition of this new campus, Brooklyn will be one of the most dynamic environments for entrepreneurs anywhere in the country,” Mayor Bloomberg said.

Bloomberg also announced the center’s first director, Steven Koonin, a theoretical physicist who was most recently at the Institute for Defense Analysis.

“First it's about education, educating people in urban science,” Koonin said. “Then it's about all the operations of the city that touch everybody's lives: transit, health, safety, energy efficiency and so on.”

The center will first open in rented space before moving to a permanent space at 370 Jay Street in 2017. The Jay Street location was both a selling point for the project and a source of delays. The building used to be the headquarters of the MTA and is still under its long-term lease, though it has been nearly abandoned for years. The agreement announced Monday requires NYU to pay $50 million to help the MTA move equipment from the building, and an additional $10 million to move NYPD equipment from the building.

The NYU-led proposal was one of many that appeared to lose out to a proposal by Cornell University and the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, which received $100 million in public funding, in addition to land to build a campus on Roosevelt Island.

The agreement with NYU announced Monday included $15 million of public funding. Breaking down where that $15 million would come from, NYC Economic Development Corporation President Seth Pinsky said, “It’ll be a combination of abatements of amounts that they owe to the city as well as potentially discounted energy and potentially funding from EDC’s balance sheet.”

The mayor pointed out that the announcement doesn’t preclude the building of even more applied science campuses. “We’re still in active discussions with Columbia and Carnegie Mellon,” he said, “and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to find ways for them to realize their proposals, each of which envisions building campuses in other locations.”