Stanford a top contender for New York campus

Hennessey updates faculty on billion-dollar plan for 'seamless' New York City campus

A Stanford campus in New York City campus would help the country, enhance the university's influence and promote technology innovation, Stanford President John Hennessy told the Faculty Senate.

Hennessy updated faculty members Thursday (Oct. 13) on Stanford's competitive bid to develop a science and engineering research center in New York. The proposal is in response to more than $400 million in economic incentives, including land, from the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

Stanford and Cornell University have emerged as top contenders among nearly 20 institutions that indicated preliminary interest, the New York Times reported, adding that both universities hired political and public relations consultants to woo city officials and New York media.

The deadline for proposals is Oct. 28 and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he'll pick a winner, or winners, by the end of the year.

"We know how to get young people involved in start-ups," the Times quoted Hennessy as saying. "Cornell's disadvantage is all its start-ups put together are smaller than Google."

Hennessy envisions a 10-acre Stanford campus on Roosevelt Island, a narrow island on the East River that is a two-minute subway ride from Manhattan.

The $1 billion to $2 billion construction costs would fund housing, classrooms, labs, offices, business incubator space, fitness centers, shops and restaurants, he said.

The campus would grow in phases, from 2016 to 2038, eventually accommodating 100 faculty members and 2,000 masters and PhD students. When built out, it would have 1.1 million square feet of academic space; 575,000 square feet of housing; 175,000 square feet of amenities and 50,000 square feet of business incubator space.

A Stanford campus in New York would fill a critical need for the United States by establishing a second major science and technology innovation center, Hennessy told the faculty.

"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.

Electrical Engineering Professor Bernd Girod told the faculty Stanford would become "two campuses, one university," with "seamless extensions of existing departments that are involved in fields that will be present in New York City." The effect would be achieved through extensive use of telepresence technologies, he said.

Hennessy said the project will involve a significant amount of fundraising, most of it to be done in New York City.

To get a head start, Stanford announced last week it will "immediately begin to create an East Coast demonstration site" on the campus of City College of New York.

If its Roosevelt Island bid is accepted, Stanford would offer its New York academic programs at CCNY until the Roosevelt Island space is ready for occupancy in 2016.

Meanwhile, Cornell announced Tuesday it has joined forces in its application with Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, an engineering and computer science-oriented university in Haifa.

Carnegie Mellon, Columbia and New York University are also among the competitors for the New York campus.

Related story:

Stanford proposes campus in New York City

Chris Kenrick

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