Bloomberg Pledges Even More Money and Land for New Engineering Campus


Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that New York City will offer even more subsidies in the form of land and as much as $100 million for universities to develop an engineering campus in the city.

Last year, the city called on schools to indicate their level of interest in building a new campus. The city hopes to use the proposed engineering campus to spur growth in its tech industry. They hope the new school will create as much as $6 billion in economic growth by creating 30,000 jobs and fostering tech innovations.

This is awesome news. I have a lot of respect for engineers, and to hear that there will be another engineering school with such great city support is exciting. Hopefully, it will be a very mutually beneficial relationship. The campus gets a jump-start, and New York becomes more like Silicon Valley. What city doesn’t look at California’s private sector jewel in the crown and swoon? It’s about time New York caught on and stepped up its game.

After the great level of interest expressed by various schools, the city proposed four potential sites:

  • south end of Roosevelt Island in the East River
  • part of the Brooklyn Navy Yard
  • parts of Governors Island
  • Staten Island’s Farm Colony

Apparently the Staten Island site has been taken off the table because schools thought it sucked. 27 higher education institutions submitted 18 proposals. These 27 include:

  • Abo Akademi University, Finland
  • Amity University, India
  • Carnegie Mellon University with Steiner Studio
  • Cornell University
  • Columbia University and the City University of New York
  • The Cooper Union
  • École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India
  • Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Korea
  • The New York Genome Center, with Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Columbia University Medical Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York University, Rockefeller University, and the Jackson Laboratory
  • New York University, Carnegie Mellon, the City University of New York, the University of Toronto, and IBM
  • Purdue University
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
  • Stanford University
  • The Stevens Institute of Technology
  • Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Israel
  • The University of Chicago
  • The University of Warwick, United Kingdom

I wonder when Bloomberg first floated this idea. Was it before or after Columbia University (my alma mater) sought to expand its own campus into Manhattanville? If it was after, I bet the Columbia administration is kicking themselves over missing out on this. They probably can’t submit as competitive a bid as Stanford, the current favorite, because they’re all tied up in Manhattanville. They’ve put so much time and investment into that already. I think they’ve broken ground already. And it was a hard fight and still not over. Plenty of vocal opposition, although the true numbers of detractors is unclear.