New Cornell technology campus on Roosevelt Island is a feather in city's cap

One of the great success stories in New York City has been the growth of our academic institutions.  They are an important economic engine of New York City, generating jobs, talent and tax revenue to pay for vital government services.

Promoting their growth has been a hallmark of the Bloomberg administration.  In the last decade, the Bloomberg administration and City Council signed off on long-term expansion plans for Columbia, Fordham and New York Universities. Now, another NYC campus expansion project is in the works.

Recently, new plans were released to begin the public comment and review process for Roosevelt Island to be the future campus for a new Cornell University graduate school for technology.  This campus is expected to attract the best and brightest in technology, immerse them into an entrepreneurial culture with deep ties to the local business community, as well as spur the creation of new companies and new industries in our great city.

This project was the brainchild of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his economic development team, particularly Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Steel and NYC Economic Development President Seth Pinsky and enjoys widespread political support from area local elected officials like United States Representatives Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Micah Kellner, City Council Member Jessica Lappin and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. The Real Estate Board of New York commends all for their efforts to expand this great institution to Roosevelt Island.

The new campus, located at the southern end of Roosevelt Island, will sit on a 12-acre site and be built in two phases over two decades.  The master plan is being designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, LLP, a REBNY member, with the goal of connecting the city with Roosevelt Island, welcoming the public through a new north-south pedestrian spine that opens onto a series of central open spaces- all while capturing breathtaking views of the Manhattan and Queens skylines.

The first phase, to be completed by 2017, is expected to include the first academic building, a corporate co-location building, an executive education center with hotel facilities, a residential building for faculty and students and 125,000 square feet of open space. The second phase will comprise of several more buildings, aligned along a central walk down the island’s spine and be completed by 2037. When finished, the campus will include up to 2.1 million square feet of development, housing approximately 2,000 full-time graduate students.

The plan hopes to achieve net-zero energy for the academic building from a rooftop photovoltaic canopy that will generate much of the energy needed to make it one of the largest energy-neutral buildings in the U.S. 

In December 2011, Mayor Bloomberg selected Cornell University, with its academic partner the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, to build the applied science and engineering campus. 

Cornell University is responsible for construction, and it plans to have private developers for the buildings. The city has provided 10 acres of land and pledged up to $100 million for improvements to the island’s infrastructure. Last year, Charles F. Feeney, a Cornell alumnus, donated $350 million to the project through the group Atlantic Philanthropies.

The new Cornell University graduate school for technology campus on Roosevelt Island is a welcomed addition to NYC and we look forward to seeing its progress.

In other REBNY News:


Alan Leventhal, Chairman & CEO of Beacon Capital Partners, will be the guest speaker at REBNY’s Holiday Luncheon from Noon to 2 pm on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012 in the Vanderbilt Room at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. Cost is $95 per person with a limit of 250 people. Only members may purchase tickets. The event is sponsored by The New York Times and Avison Young, Intelligent Real Estate Solutions. Register at

You can donate through two funds created for victims of Hurricane Sandy. The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City set up a donation page for Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts. Checks can be made out to: Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, 253 Broadway, 8th Floor, NYC, NY 10007. For more information, call 212-788-7794.

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo created the Empire State Relief Fund, aimed at rebuilding and restoring damaged homes from Hurricane Sandy. To donate visit or text “RELIEF” to 80000 to make a $10 donation.