Monday, October 31, 2011

City receives 7 proposals for local tech campus

Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday that, in addition to previously publicized bids, the city also received proposals from India-based Amity University and a consortium led by the New York Genome Center. 

By Daniel Massey

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the city received seven qualifying responses from 17 institutions before last Friday's deadline for proposals to build a tech campus in the city and that there were “no immediate frontrunners” in the competition.

In addition to previously publicized bids from Carnegie Mellon University, Columbia University, Cornell University/Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, New York University and Stanford University, the city received proposals from India-based Amity University and a consortium led by the New York Genome Center.

Amity put in a proposal for Governor's Island, while the Genome Center, which partnered with Mount Sinai School of Medicine, Rockefeller University and SUNY Stony Brook, submitted a proposal for an undisclosed site in midtown Manhattan.

“The proposals are all attractive,” Mr. Bloomberg said at a press conference at the offices of Next Jump, a tech company that moved to the city in 1999. “This has the potential to be a game changer for our city.”

The proposals contain plans for new facilities ranging from 400,000 square feet to more than 2 million and for private expenditures ranging from $800 million to more than $2.5 billion.

Based on an early reading of the proposals over the weekend, Mr. Bloomberg said the city had underestimated the potential economic impact of the project.

“The proposals we received on Friday suggest our estimate might be conservative,” the mayor said. Based on earlier expressions of interest in the project, the city had estimated the project would generate $6 billion in overall economic activity across the five boroughs over 35 years, plus more than 30,000 permanent and construction jobs.

The high quality of the proposals has put pressure on the mayor to try to figure out how to choose more than one winner. But the city has set aside just $100 million for infrastructure upgrades and that could pose challenges to a multiple-winner scenario.

“I think it would be great if all seven could come,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “There are lots of different possibilities. We'll go back and talk to each one and see what their appetite is for change.”
The mayor said the city was unlikely to pony up more than the $100 million. He also said that “down the road, as we negotiate,” different scenarios could play out.

“The business community regards this project as the single most important action the city could take to ensure New York's continued leadership in the innovation economy,” said Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City, and a member of the 12-member advisory board that will help city officials sort through the applications.


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