Stanford Abandons Bid for NYC Applied Sciences Campus

A rendering of Stanford's design for a campus on Roosevelt Island. The university unexpectedly dropped out of the competition on Dec. 16. Image by Redsquare, Inc.

There will be no Stanford-on-the-Hudson. Stanford University has pulled its bid from Applied Sciences NYC — a surprising twist in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s competition to build an applied sciences and engineering school in New York City.

Stanford, which along with Cornell University was considered a front-runner in the tech campus competition, made the unexpected announcement in a press release on Friday afternoon.The school’s board of trustees and administration had been negotiating with New York City over the campus for several weeks, according to Stanford’s news service.

“I applaud the mayor’s bold vision for this transformative project and wish the city well in turning that vision into a reality,” Stanford President John Hennessy said in the press release. “Stanford was very excited to participate in the competition, and we were honored to be selected as a finalist. We were looking forward to an innovative partnership with the city of New York, and we are sorry that together we could not find a way to realize our mutual goals.”

According to people with inside knowledge about the campus application process — who chose to remain anonymous — Stanford officials became frustrated when the city attempted to negotiate new terms for the campus plan, reported the New York Times.

Stanford’s plan, which was submitted in October, called for an estimated $2.5 billion, 1.9-million-square-foot energy efficient campus on Roosevelt Island. The school planned to focus on electrical engineering, information technology and entrepreneurship education, with research focused on New York’s media and finance industries.

“This competition is about changing the future of the City’s economy, and we are thrilled that we have a number of proposals that we believe will do exactly that. We are in serious negotiations with several of the other applicants, each of whom has a game-changing project queued up. We look forward to announcing a winner soon. We thank Stanford for participating in our process and wish them good luck,” a spokesperson for the mayor’s office said in a statement.

Bloomberg announced the competition to build an applied science school in July, offering $100 million and free city-owned land to the best design. The city is expected to announce the winner in January.


Rafael Pi Roman interviews New York Academy of Sciences Director of Innovation Karin Ezbiansky Pavese about the significance of Applied Sciences NYC.

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