By Adam E. John

A Cornell University and Technion Israel Institute of Technology Consortium have been selected to build an 11-acre state-of-the-art tech campus on Roosevelt Island in New York City. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Cornell University President David J. Skorton, and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology President Peretz Lavie announced the partnership to build the two-million-square-foot applied science and engineering campus.

In addition to the Roosevelt Island site, the City will also provide $100 million in City capital to assist with site infrastructure, construction, and related costs. This is the first selection announcement for the Applied Sciences NYC initiative. Productive discussions are ongoing with other respondents — Carnegie Mellon, Columbia and a New York University-led consortium — and the possibility of additional science and engineering partnerships in the City is still open.

Cornell/Technion has laid out an aggressive plan for the project, which will ultimately culminate in the completion of a 2 million square foot build-out housing for up to 2,500 students and nearly 280 faculty members by 2043. When completed, the new Roosevelt Island campus will result in an increase in the number of full-time, graduate engineering students enrolled in leading New York City Master’s and Ph.D. programs by approximately 70 per cent.

Prior to commencement of construction on Roosevelt Island, Cornell/Technionplans to open in an off-site location in 2012, with the first phase of their permanent Roosevelt Island home expected to open by no later than 2017. By 2027 the campus will have expanded to over 1.3 million square feet. Cornell/Technion has agreed to a 99-year lease for the Roosevelt Island site, with an option to purchase the land at the end of the term for $1. Cornell will develop and own the campus itself, and will assume financial responsibility for its establishment and operations.

According to a new analysis, the NYC Tech Campus will generate an even greater economic impact than was initially projected when the City released the Request for Proposals earlier this year. The new economic impact analysis, which was completed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, projects that the new campus will generate more than $7.5 billion (NPV) and more than $23 billion (nominal) in overall economic activity over the course of the next three decades, as well as $1.4 billion (nominal) in total tax revenue.

It is expected that the campus alone will help create up to 20,000 construction jobs and up to 8,000 permanent jobs. The campus is also expected to generate nearly 600 spin-off companies over the projection period — projected to create up to an additional 30,000 permanent jobs. The NYC Tech Campus will also establish a $150 million revolving financing fund that will be solely devoted to start-up businesses in the City.

With the selection of Cornell/Technion now complete, the project is scheduled to move into the environmental and land use review process, including the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Process, with all review expected to be completed by the fall of 2013.

Groundbreaking on the first phase of the Roosevelt Island campus is expected by the beginning of 2015.