As his last days at City Hall wind down, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg moved to solidify his regime's legacy in technology, entrepreneurship, education, and job creation. In a Thursday ceremony, Bloomberg signed over 12 acres of city land to Cornell University to build a 2 million square-foot graduate engineering campus with a 99-year lease.
Cornell Tech will build the sprawling campus on the East River's Roosevelt Island. According to the mayor's office, the facility will focus on computer science, information technology, and entrepreneurship, doubling the number of New York City's full-time graduate engineering students once it opens. Ground will break in January 2014 and the first classrooms will be completed in 2017. The full project, being constructed by multiple architecture firms, is not expected to be completed until 2043.
In a statement, Bloomberg said the campus is "one of the most ambitious and forward-looking economic development projects any city has ever undertaken, and it's going to help add thousands of new jobs to our economy in the decades ahead."
Cornell Tech students already began classes this fall in Google's offices in Manhattan. The "master plan" campus will include classrooms, laboratories, group work spaces, lecture halls, and a startup incubator. The remaining space will be home to corporate office space, a 350-unit residential high rise, an executive education center, and 2.5 acres of public space dubbed the "Tech Walk." The entire campus will be net-zero energy efficient.
Cornell Tech is one of four applied science colleges Bloomberg has brought to the city in an effort to attract engineers and tech jobs. Cornell Tech, NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress, Columbia University's Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering, and Carnegie Mellon University's Integrative Media Program will collectively generate $33.2 billion in economic activity, bring more than 48,000 jobs, and create about 1,000 spinoff companies by 2046, according to the mayor's office.