June 26, 2013

Industry, academia to share Cornell Tech building

NEW YORK — Cornell NYC Tech has announced it will develop its first “corporate co-location” building, a major advancement in its effort to bring industry and academia together on its Roosevelt Island campus.

The planned building is part of Phase I of Cornell Tech, which is scheduled to break ground early next year. It will house a mix of companies at the heart of the campus, facilitating the interaction between academia and industry that is central to Cornell Tech’s mission.

On June 20, the Cornell Board of Trustees approved the plan to move forward with Forest City Ratner Companies as the developer of this building, subject to finalizing plans and terms. Forest City Ratner would also act as master developer, overseeing development of the first academic building, the open space and related infrastructure in the first phase of construction.

“This level of private-sector investment in the campus and, upon completion of our finalizing the details, the participation of a great partner in Forest City Ratner validate the campus’s enormous economic development potential for New York and ensures that we will have a vibrant mix of activities when the campus opens in 2017,” said Cathy Dove, vice president of Cornell Tech. “We expect that leading-edge companies large and small will be drawn to the innovation and energy of Cornell Tech, helping to accelerate the already rapid growth of New York’s tech sector.”

“Cornell Tech is radically rethinking how industry can collaborate with faculty, students and researchers, and corporate co-location is vital to making that a success,” said Cornell Tech Dean Dan Huttenlocher. “It was so exciting to launch our academic program this year, and it’s equally exciting to see the physical campus coming together in a way that will advance our mission.”

The award-winning architecture and landscape firm WEISS/MANFREDI will design the co-location building, which will join Cornell Tech’s flagship academic building, designed by Pritzker Prize-winning architect Thom Mayne of Morphosis, on the Cornell Tech campus.

The corporate co-location building will include up to 200,000 square feet of flexible office space, with a mix of tenants including startups and established companies. There will be incubator space, corporate innovation centers for bigger companies, and rotating space for regional companies to spend time in New York City. The building will include flexible, open floor plans with common spaces to facilitate interactions between students and companies. Cornell Tech will lease 50,000 square feet in the building.

The announcement of the co-location building is another milestone for the campus. Cornell Tech’s “beta” class of computer science master’s students completed its first semester in May in space donated by Google in Chelsea. Cornell Tech is rapidly rolling out new academic programs, recruiting faculty and developing a distinctive new model of tech entrepreneurship.

In April, Irwin Mark Jacobs ’54, founding chairman and CEO emeritus of Qualcomm, and his wife, Joan Klein Jacobs ’54, made a $133 million gift to create the Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Innovation Institute, a key component of Cornell Tech. The funds will support curriculum initiatives, faculty and graduate students, and industry interactions in a two-year graduate program.

When completed, the Roosevelt Island campus, part of New York City’s Applied Sciences NYC initiative, will serve approximately 2,000 full-time graduate students.