New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg today (Monday, Dec. 19) named Cornell University the winner in a competition to partner with the city in building a science and technology campus in the Big Apple.
In a surprise announcement Friday, Stanford University abruptly withdrew its application to construct a 10-acre applied science and engineering campus on New York City's Roosevelt Island.
Stanford had been a top contender in the competition for city-owned land and up to $100 million in funding to spark a Silicon Valley-style tech innovation hub in New York.
Blooomberg said applications the city received from universities around the world "were much more than we had hoped for," and he expects the Cornell undertaking, in partnership with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, will be a "game changer" that will "prime the economic pump for years to come."
The mayor said he remains in talks with runners-up Columbia, Carnegie-Mellon and New York universities for ways they can collaborate on the science and technology project.
Stanford said Friday that after weeks of negotiations with New York City, university leaders -- including the board of trustees -- "have determined that it would not be in the best interests of the university to continue to pursue the opportunity."
Stanford's ambitious proposal, dubbed "StanfordNYC" involved a university commitment over 30 years of $2.5 billion to create a 1.9 million-square-foot science and engineering campus, with 100 faculty members and 2,000 masters and PhD students.
The bid has monopolized the attention of top university officials, including Stanford President John Hennessy, for much of this year. Stanford marshaled the support of former students including Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page to argue that the university fosters a unique "culture of entrepreneurship" and would be a good fit for New York.
Hennessy has said the New York City venture would be a model for the "massive transformation" that is occurring in higher education and industry, creating globally distributed institutions made possible by technology.
StanfordNYC would fill a critical need for the United States by establishing a second major science and technology innovation center, he said at the time the university's bid was submitted in October.
"Quite frankly, Silicon Valley has done terrific but if the country is going to maintain its leadership in this area it needs more than Silicon Valley," he said at the time.
But Friday Hennessy said, "... We are sorry that together we could not find a way to realize our mutual goals.
In the end, he said, the university could not be sure it could proceed in a way that ensured the success of the campus.
"I applaud the mayor's bold vision for this transformative project and wish the city well in turning that vision into reality," he said.
Hennessy said Stanford will continue to explore expansion opportunities in the future.
"Great universities need to continue to take risks, to innovate and to explore new opportunities where we can make contributions to support economic growth and expanding knowledge," he said.